Editorial: American Colleges, Counteract Civic Ignorance

This story was written by EDITORIAL BOARD, Minnesota Daily
A recent report by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute found that Americans lack a basic understanding in civic literacy. According to the report, 71 percent of the 2,500 randomly selected people, including college graduates, failed the test. College level students whose highest level of attainment was a bachelors degree answered 57 percent of the questions correctly, which was below the 60 percent passing grade. More startling is that although college graduates have four more years of schooling, they only scored 13 percent higher than students who have attained only a high school diploma. This problem does not only reflect poorly on the nations educational system its a national issue.

Members of the Institute indicated the need for institutions of higher education to enhance their education on civil literacy, saying that colleges and universities must take charge in upping the current requirements, and offer students a broad range of classes that deal with this pressing subject.

College and university officials should see this lack of knowledge on such an important subject, and use these warnings to correct their path in the foreseeable future. Although Americans do not need to know every minute detail about the functions of government, the basic knowledge and understanding of the principals the country was founded upon should be barroom chatter.

Most large liberal arts colleges require rigorous foreign language requirements, but when it comes to the American government, classes are given less weight. Its no wonder, then, that just more than 60 percent of Americans show up at the polls. This problem doesnt start with colleges and universities. But it doesnt follow that they should ignore it.
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