This is America’s poorest performance on the basic civics and history test since the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Newsweek conducted a citizenship test recently, and their results show that 38 percent of those asked didn’t know the name of the vice president (some days I’d rather forget it too), what happened at the Constitutional Convention or who is third in line to the presidency (until last November I tried like hell to forget that one too). I’ll bet if Newsweek would have thrown in the old “who’s buried at Grant’s Tomb” question they’d have found a similar fail rate.

What’s to blame for this miserable lack of rudimentary civics knowledge? Bring on the experts, because this is partly the fault of capitalism, state’s rights and too little investment in public broadcasting:

It doesn’t help that the United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world, with the top 400 households raking in more money than the bottom 60 percent combined. As Dalton Conley, an NYU sociologist, explains, “it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Unlike Denmark, we have a lot of very poor people without access to good education, and a huge immigrant population that doesn’t even speak English.” When surveys focus on well-off, native-born respondents, the U.S. actually holds its own against Europe.
Other factors exacerbate the situation. A big one, [Yale political scientist Jacob] Hacker argues, is the decentralized U.S. education system, which is run mostly by individual states: “When you have more centrally managed curricula, you have more common knowledge and a stronger civic culture.” Another hitch is our reliance on market-driven programming rather than public broadcasting, which, according to the EJC study, “devotes more attention to public affairs and international news, and fosters greater knowledge in these areas.”

So if Republicans carry through with their vendetta against Elmo and NPR people will get even dumber? That should actually come as pretty good news for certain politicians heading into the 2012 elections.

Somehow if Roger Ailes loses everything he has, people will magically know what happened at the Constitutional Convention. The science is settled.

As for getting rid of states’ rights, give ‘em time — they’re working on it.


11 Responses to “Newsweek: 38% Fail Basic Citizenship Test; Naturally, Capitalism, States’ Rights and Too Little Investment in Public Broadcasting to Blame”

  1. sizemorew on March 21st, 2011 11:43 am

    Actually, I don't blame people for not remembering the VP's name. It seems like the Obama administration is doing everything it can to keep Biden from opening his mouth in public.

  2. Joe Redfield on March 21st, 2011 1:11 pm

    How did the Newsweek staff score on the test?

  3. Clu Seatoe on March 21st, 2011 2:09 pm

    I’m guessing it wasn’t Newsweek’s intent, but once again something in the news proves the failure of public schools.

    Such a test should be given to public school teachers.

  4. Clu Seatoe on March 21st, 2011 2:19 pm

    I know what their leading up too.

    Since no one can pass the test (if there really ever was such a public test given that resulted in only 38%), why not just give away our citizenship to all the illegals.

    Since its campaigning season Mao will be bringing back the illegal issue very soon and of course the illegals will be voting the Chicago way and once again, of course, no one will have the stones to call it.

    Sissy Republicans!
    Vote Tea Party.

  5. Bill on March 21st, 2011 7:56 pm

    Pfffftt. It's Sarah Palin's fault! Obviously!

    And the Germans didn't bomb pearl harbor, it was the Libyans – the Germans were patsies.

  6. Nanny on March 21st, 2011 8:11 pm

    Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn should be so proud!!! Pretty soon all students, legal and illegal alike, will be able to see Chicago thru their haze of the Alinsky doctrine.

    I would like to see the test results from our current congress – wouldn't surprise me if the percentage was even higher!

  7. Steve on March 21st, 2011 10:17 pm

    Anyone else notice, in the Newsweek story, the author bemoans that "we’re saddled with a nonproportional Senate?" Read the Constitution much?

    The author seems to have no love for a representative republic and is bothered because we have to vote for this and that and every other office. He's just dreaming of a centralized government like his beloved countries of Europe.

    Here's a thought. Maybe the problem with all this government nonsense is… there's too much government!

  8. swede on March 22nd, 2011 12:21 am

    "I don't blame people for not remembering the VP's name."

    Geez. I'm trying like he!! to forget it.

  9. Jim T. on March 22nd, 2011 1:07 pm

    Agreed…"we were never at war with Germany, we have always been at war with Libya." (Big Brother)

  10. Cold Fury » We’re doomed, folks on March 24th, 2011 2:42 pm

    [...] wait til you see what the good liberals at Newspeak blame for this incredible ignorance. As Powers says: “capitalism, state’s rights and too little investment in public broadcasting.” No, [...]

  11. ethan on April 5th, 2011 2:21 pm

    gee republicans when we see how dumb bachman and palin are how can we take you seriously ?

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