Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Classical Independence and Civic Knowledge

This week, we celebrate our country's independence.

Noah Webster wrote in 1788,
Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.
(On the Education of Youth in America)
That's a piece of wisdom I have begun to appreciate more and more as I become increasingly aware of national and world events, and how little I have stored in my brain about history and civics.

This morning, I found a study about civic literacy from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and I was curious, so I took the quiz the study had used. (Click here to take it yourself). The welcome page says this:
Are you more knowledgeable than the average citizen? The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following test was 49%; college educators scored 55%.
Here are the summary results when the study took place. It's a little frightening, especially when you read this: Elected Officials Score Lower Than the General Public. Check out the other results while you're there--they're very interesting.

The Fourth of July is an everyday kind of holiday for many, an excuse to picnic and set off fireworks. Sometimes I need to be reminded that it represents a great privilege and responsibility as well.

(I was relieved to see that my score was 30/33--90.91%. What's yours?)

...because everyday adventures can be classical opportunities too...

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