September 29, 2006

CU Seniors Behind Nat'l Avg. In History Knowledge

No wonder being a teaching assistant in introductory level history classes was so hard in terms of grading, testing my patience on a daily basis.

CU students are morons when it comes to history:
University of Colorado seniors who were asked introductory-level questions about U.S. history, government and the economy answered correctly less than half the time, according to a new study.

Nationwide, college seniors got just 53.2 percent of the 60 multiple-choice answers correct, according to Tuesday's report from the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy. At Colorado, the school's freshmen scored only 39.7 percent and seniors just 48.6 percent.

"I wouldn't want to suggest that a 48.6 is something we ought to be excited about," CU Regent Tom Lucero said. "We all ought to be concerned. I think it's not only an indictment of the university for its teaching of American history, government and economics but it's also an indictment of K-12. You're talking about freshmen who are coming to us illiterate in these areas."

Campus administrators need to review the study before commenting, spokesman Barrie Hartman said.

More than 14,000 students took the test, which included questions about the formation of the U.S. government, the Civil War, Reconstruction, women's suffrage, World War II, the Bill of Rights, Saddam Hussein and free enterprise.
This news is not surprising, however, my own teaching experience notwithstanding.

Why? Because high school and college history courses now indoctrinate victimhood, sensitivity, diversity, and contempt for the evil and dreaded dead-white-males. Instead of learning some historical facts along with their context, students are subjected to historical revisionism from the likes of Howard Zinn, lies and misinformation from Ward Churchill, and pedagogical techniques that prioritize diversity, multiculturalism, and "concepts" or "themes" over facts and historical frameworks that help student's understand the cause and effect of history. As a result, even mastering simple chronology is beyond most students.

This revelation now explains why two years ago, in an introductory U.S. survey course (Civil War-present), one student answered a question explaining a point about WWII by citing the German invasion of the Japanese-held Philippines as a reason for the United States entering the war. My head nearly exploded with disbelief when I read that sentence. Of course, if entering freshman are entering with less than 40% in historical knowledge that only marginally improves to near 50% by the time they graduate, then perhaps a stronger history requirement is necessary. What astounds is that at CU (from personal knowledge) history is actually a pretty large major in the School of Arts and Sciences, with several hundred students.

Perhaps a return to education, away from the indoctrination that now pervades historical discourse, would elevate students' historical aptitude. A lack of foundational education could probably be cited for the increase in conspiracy theories, especially those that abound on the well-educated (in diversity and sensitivity, that is) but ill-informed left side of the political spectrum. They point to history to accuse their opponents, but fall short when their citations fail and their "theories" come apart upon closer scrutiny.

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