WW President on The Hill

Only one in three Americans (36 percent) can actually pass a multiple choice test consisting of items taken from the U.S. citizenship test, which has a passing score of 60, according to a national survey released in early October by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

In an opinion piece on The Hill, WW President Arthur Levine offers his take on the poll’s findings:

This research could be lumped in with a multitude of previous studies that lament shortcomings in Americans’ knowledge and skills in a host of fields. But that would be a serious error because this finding is not about bashing our schools, our students, or our fellow citizens. The importance of this study is that the future of our nation is at stake. Knowledge of a nation’s history by its citizens is essential to preserving all democratic societies.

While the need for an informed electorate feels especially pressing in the current climate, Dr. Levine reminds readers that a strong historical foundation is the bedrock of a healthy democracy. To ensure this foundation is laid, Dr. Levine offers a call:

…[T]his cannot and will not be accomplished through good intentions, flowery language, or shocking public poll results. The only way we can improve our collective knowledge of American history is by dramatically improving our collective teaching of American history.

This poll is only the beginning of an effort to transform the way American history is taught and learned lead by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Read the full editorial on The Hill here.


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