On Wednesday the National Assessment Governing Board announced results of the Nation’s Report card, and let’s just say the result are less than thrilling. Read below for a statement from National Advisory Committee Member, Ted McConnell who runs the Campaign for Civic Mission of Schools.
Statement of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools on release of the ‘Nation’s Report Card 2014: History, Geography and Civics.’
The National Assessment Governing Board has just released the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in Civics, Geography and History for eighth grade students.
Just 23% of middle school students demonstrate a proficiency in Civics; 18% demonstrate a proficiency in History. The scores have been flat since 1998. Clearly we as a nation are failing to equip our youth with the knowledge, skills and disposition they need to be active and engaged citizens.
These results are disappointing, bad for our nation’s future and not surprising. These results are due to a narrowed curriculum and a focus on a few subjects, over all others that has gone on too long and has to stop. These results are due to policymaker actions that undermine effective instruction in these subjects.
The 2014 NAEP results show a continued achievement gap among racial and socioeconomic groups that threatens to undermine equality and to disenfranchise far too many citizens, due to a lack of opportunity to learn about Civics, History and Geography.
Barely a quarter of students being able to demonstrate a frankly easy proficiency in these subjects is dangerous to the health of our Republic.
To be sure, tens of thousands of dedicated teachers are doing their best to provide adequate instruction in these subjects every day; the problem is policies that either undermine or make impossible effective civic learning for every student.
It is a shame and real missed opportunity that Secretary Duncan and the US Department of Education ignored the pleas of members of congress and others to find the funding to do a full NAEP in these critical subjects within the Department, despite the sequester cuts to the NAGBE. For a comparably small expenditure, we would have had a much better picture of student attainment in these subjects so critical to the future of our Republic. This is additional evidence of the disregard this Department of Education has shown these subjects.
As Campaign Co-Chair, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has said “Knowledge of our system of government, our rights and responsibilities as citizens is not passed down through the gene pool. It must be taught to each generation of young people and we have work to do.” These disappointing results show we do indeed have much work to do and must start now to ensure every single student has the opportunity to learn and master these critical subjects.
*An update version of this release can be found at the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools Website.
Other related articles:
“No Change in Eighth-Graders’ Performance in U.S. History, Geography, Civics since 2010”– National Assessment Governing Board.
“Shockingly Few Students are Proficient in U.S. History.”– Huffington Post
While the results may be less than ideal, the fight is still worth fighting. If anything, the outcomes tell us how important civics education in schools is. We need to urge our leaders both in the classroom and out to advocate for more quality civics education in our schools. It is the least we can do for our voting future.
*Above Image Courtesy of Google Image Search