Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Democratic citizenship isn't "student-centered instruction" 

Courtesy of Betsy's Page, Brendan Miniter notes the Fordham study we discussed a few weeks ago.
Social-studies theorists seek to create social activists. Students need not know the facts to be effective change-agents; they're taught that facts are a matter of opinion. Indeed, they need only believe that they are correct as they reject the tenets of society. The result? Elementary-school lessons that use Thanksgiving to teach that we owe redress to American Indians.

The results have been disastrous. Young Americans are ignorant of history and are increasingly poor citizens (old-fashioned term!). The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who voted fell to 32% in 1996 and 2000, from 50% in 1972. A study in 2000 found that only 28.1% of college freshman kept up to date with politics, a record low and down from 60.3% in 1966. "The current generation of young people may set a new standard for both civic disengagement and civic misinformation," writes J. Martin Rochester in his Fordham essay.