Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is what happens when the liberals run education

I don't often speak of local issues. It's not that I don't know about them, but to be honest, Arizona is pretty boring. Well, at least to us it is. A recent study conducted here shows that kids know next-to-nothing about civics. We know there's been an emphasis on increasing math, reading, and science scores for high school kids, but when you specialize the focus on such areas you tend to sacrifice other things. And yes, I lay this at the feet of liberals because they have, for decades, demanded less emphasis on civics and history. From the Arizona Daily Star:

You know those groan-inducing spots on late-night television when the typical person-on-the-street can't identify the vice president?

That's akin to what happened to the state's education system Tuesday, with the issuance of a new report that found only 3.5 percent of traditional public high school students would be able to pass a U.S. citizenship test— bombing out on questions such as who was America's first president, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and what do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

There's little room to be smug from the charter school or private school arenas. While they both did better, they still did poorly, with only 7 percent and 14 percent of those students passing the test, respectively, according to a survey by the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank.

"I was dismayed and shocked at just how poorly the kids did," said Matthew Ladner, vice president of research. "When 74 percent can't tell you that George Washington was the first president of the U.S., that's really disturbing."

The question the students did best on was really more of a geography question: 58 percent were able to name the Atlantic Ocean as the body of water on the East Coast.

The study, conducted in November 2008, asked 1,350 public high school students 10 questions pulled at random from a list of 100 on the U.S. citizenship test. A similar number of private school students were polled in a separate sample in the same period.

The standard on the citizenship test is that the applicant must be able to answer at least six of 10 questions correctly on the test, which is not multiple choice.

The results come as teachers focus less on the memorization of discrete facts, given that information is so readily available at the stroke of a key, and more on the application of knowledge.

Ladner said that philosophy "is entirely wrongheaded. It's very much like learning to compose music. You have to learn your scales before you compose a symphony — and you need some foundation of facts before you can do higher-level thinking."

But John Wright, the head of the state teachers union, the Arizona Education Association, dismissed the report as a "gotcha piece of writing."

"I think there's already an ongoing discussion of standards and assessment, but it is not informed by this kind of survey," he said, adding that for all of its shock value, he didn't find it very analytical.

Ronald Marx, the dean of the University of Arizona's College of Education, said he wasn't pleased to hear the findings but said he was more concerned than alarmed.
"You don't develop a deep understanding of how government works by knowing the name of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution," he said.

There's a reason why I get a tad upset when I read stories like this. For most of my life I've studied, predominantly, history, law, and government. Why? Because we need to know the history of this nation to be able to defend our freedoms. If you don't know what you have, you'll never know what you've lost if they disappear, nor are you educated enough to defend against the the usurpations of the federal government. And make no mistake, the federal government has slowly eroded away many of our rights.

Take the Tenth Amendment as an example. The Tenth Amendment specifically states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Anyone remember Griswold v. Connecticut or Roe v. Wade? Those two cases concerned state laws that the federal government, via the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) basically trumped and struck down. How about Kelo v. New London? Our Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were stripped away in this case when the SCOTUS agreed that city of New London, CT could seize property from citizens.

But liberals don't want people to be educated on such things. Our history means nothing to them unless they can paint the nation in a bad light. To this day we're still taking crap from the Left over slavery despite the FACT that they were the ones who wanted to keep that institution in practice. They despise people like Marcie or myself because we both have an inherent love for history, especially American history. And when we see stories like this, it really pi$$es us off. Mr. Wright can call this a "gotcha piece of writing" all he wants, but the facts don't lie. Want to see some of the questions these kids failed at?

What is the supreme law of the land? (70.5% of students missed this.)

What do we call the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution? (75% of students didn't know this.)

What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? (77% missed this.)

How many justices are on the Supreme Court? (90.6% missed this question.)

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? (74.7% missed this.)

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? (85.5% missed this.)

These questions are so bloody dirt simple it's not funny, folks. Why don't they know this stuff? Because not enough attention is paid to subjects like history or civics. That's the way the Left wants it, and we're not surprised that the head of the teacher's union here in Arizona dismisses this study as nothing to worry about. I've long maintained that it's time to get the federal government out of education, and put it back in the hands of the states. It's also time to get rid of the teacher's unions. This story in particular is just one example of why it's time to break the teacher's unions. That story is about teachers waiting for disciplinary action against them for X, Y, or Z offenses. They're still collecting their full salaries to sit on their backsides doing nothing. In the story it's even admitted that thanks to union rules it's nearly impossible to fire tenured teachers. As long as they have a stranglehold on the education system, things simply won't change.

Publius II


Blogger Mintaka said...

Your right that the students should have a better handle on civics, but while the education system deserves some of the blame. I don't think it deserves all the blame.

First, I am a high school physics teacher. So I see things from a slightly different perspective. I am appalled by my students lack of logic and math skills, but I have noticed a correlation that explains most of it. Physics is a tough subject sometimes and kids struggle. As you would expect I interact with a lot of parents. I have noticed a correlation between kids who seem to have no skills and apathetic parents. To me it is obvious that apathetic parents=poor students. There are exceptions to this, but very few. Where the educational system fails is that we pass these kids along without them gaining the skills.

July 3, 2009 at 9:32 AM  

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