The following commentary about the state of learning and teaching of government and political science in our public schools (excerpt below) crossed the Designated Conservative‘s digital desk this week. It is another excellent posting by…
…A Conservative Teacher, and it should cause you to be afraid, be very afraid for our country…and then go and do something about it!
Last week I was asked by a testing group out west to help grade some essays that students wrote. I apologize for not being too specific- I always fear for my future employment when I write posts like this. Thousands of students from the area took this test, which was designed to evaluate how well students understood how government worked in our society. These students all took either a semester or year-long course in government prior to taking this class, and all the students who took the test were either seniors or juniors in high school (17 or 18 years of age).
I personally graded over a thousand of these essays over several days of work. In doing so, I was able to read first hand what the students in our classrooms thought and believed, and what I read chilled me.
The test asked students to discuss the advantages of being in the majority party in Congress compared to being in minority party. The correct answers included
- being able to control the agenda,
- controlling debate,
- having the presiding officer,
- setting the rules for debate, and
- having their majority also reflected in committees.
The majority party was put in place by citizens in free elections and should have these powers. In general, students were unable to identify a single advantage listed above, and the average score for these students was just above a zero. After years of school and a class on government, they knew almost nothing about government. But my point is not that the students are not being taught, because they are being taught. My point is what they are being taught.
According to most of the students (about 2/3rds), the advantage of being the majority party in Congress, like the Democrats are today, is that
- they can pass laws that favor themselves,
- they can vote to transfer money from the minority party’s districts and supports to the majority party’s districts and supporters,
- that being in the majority means they can pay themselves more money and the minority party less,
- that being in the majority means that they can tax anybody they want, and can do ‘whatever they want.’ [bullets and bold text added for emphasis]
The phrase ‘the majority party can do whatever they want’ was written on over half of the essays that were written….
The test described above is an evaluation of knowledge and comprehension regarding what is taught in a public school government class. If these are the answers from 2/3 of the students in the sample, then something is very wrong with what is being taught. Considering the ignorance among the adult public school teaching population about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, political parties, and what federalism actually means, I’m not surprised that such ignorance is passed on to students. It is unfortunate that our public schools are so completely insulated from oversight and the consequences of a dumbed-down curriculum….
A Conservative Teacher goes on to say,
“Sometimes people question where I get my ideas on government from, and ask for ‘evidence’ that students are not learning what they need to learn in schools and instead are being indoctrinated with liberal left-wing propaganda. This is evidence.”
If you would like to see an example of the kind of thinking that comes as these children move into adulthood, click here.