“A Prologue to a Tragedy”: History and Civics Scores Drop to Record Lows

This week, history and civics scores across the nation plummeted to record lows among eighth graders. Just 13% of students performed at or above the “proficient” level in U.S. history. It is the latest appalling report on our declining educational system — a matter that should be treated as a national crisis of literally historic proportions.  As discussed in prior columns, we are graduating students from high school who cannot proficiently read or do math.  School districts have responded by solving the problem by simply lowering standards and eliminating gifted programs.  Now we are producing citizens who know little about our history or our values.

The decline has been blamed on the pandemic, though these declines have long plagued our public schools. Nevertheless, the lockdowns had a profound impact on the psychological and intellectual development of our students. While other countries refused to shutdown their schools or go to virtual classrooms, the school districts and teacher unions pushed for closures. In Europe, countries cited ample scientific evidence refuting the need to close schools. However, experts in this country were banned from social media and attacked in the press for raising these studies. The National Education Association and teacher union leaders supported censorship during this period.

What is even more maddening is to hear those who opposed reopening schools, like Randi Weingarten, now insisting that they were really pushing for keeping schools open despite their public statements to the contrary. As the costs of this disastrous decision mount, suddenly no one in education or the media was opposed to in-person classes.

Putting those decisions aside, the drop in scores also reflects a deemphasis on civics and history over the last decade as other subjects have been given greater priority. I have watched with growing alarm the lessons given to my own children in public schools. History often seemed a vehicle for making political or social commentary.

I have been a huge supporter of public schools my whole life. While my parents could afford private schools, they helped form a group to keep white families in the public school system in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s. They wanted their kids to be part of a diverse school environment. I also sent my kids to public schools for the same reason. I view our public schools as important parts of our society as we shape future citizens.

Now our educational system is dropping in history and civics scores as well as math and English. We are failing our children across the board and undermining a rising generation of citizens. Yet, we are likely to see just another shrug followed by some mumbling about the pandemic.  There will also likely be demands for more money despite the unbroken record of failure in many of our public school districts.

These scores once again show how educators and unions are killing public education in this country. They continue to treat families as virtual captives rather than respond to these demands for competence and accountability. Many are voting with their feet and leaving public schools in jurisdictions allowing vouchers or other options.

The drop in civics scores may be even more alarming than the declines in math and English. We can train people for jobs in this new economy. It is far more difficult to shape citizens who have never been taught about the underlying struggle and values that define this nation.

James Madison is often quoted for his statement that “a popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both.” What is not widely known is that Madison made that statement in response to a letter from William Taylor Barry, a Kentuckian who wrote him about the effort to create primary and secondary educational programs in his state. Information remains the paramount value in public education as well as the transparency needed to secure it.

In the same way, the farce that is our current educational system is producing a generation of historically illiterate citizens. That can only be a tragedy in the making.

167 thoughts on ““A Prologue to a Tragedy”: History and Civics Scores Drop to Record Lows”

  1. The US government run, union staffed, K-12 education system operates as an education cartel – doing everything in its power to protect its failing monopoly. It is essentially stealing the futures of tens of millions of children.

    In some large cities, upwards of 70% of HS graduates are functionally illiterate. Wealthy and middle class parents can often afford to chose private schools, or are able to move to areas where the public schools are excellent. So, poor minority children suffer the most.

    Teacher unions are often left wing lobbyists, and they represent teachers, at the expense of children, parents and education. Democrat politicians will not challenge these unions, as they provide a major portion of democrat campaign contributions, and get out the vote effort. Together they fight anything that might impact their incestuous relationship.

    An answer, perhaps the only answer, is universal school choice. As a society we fund K-12 education as a social good. However, funding education should not mean the same thing as funding the government school/teacher union education complex.

    It could be said that if we don’t get this right – educating our children – nothing else matters. And I’ve heard all the arguments – we’re stealing money from the public school system, we need to pay teachers more, improvement is just around the corner, and of course, everyone advocating for universal school choice is racist. Interesting that we racists have somehow found a way to provide a carve out for Asian children and their families, who seem to do well in any school they attend.

      1. In free America, why do corrupt local politicians have a monopoly on “education” and grift from “public” schools?

        Answer: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” Karl Marx.

        All education must be private, the way education started, logically and naturally, in a free and competitive environment.

        Public schools are merely a redistribution of wealth plan for farcical, imitation “teachers.”

        Education requires fundamental discipline; the discipline of private school begins at home where and when the checks are written.

        Public school is an oxymoronic contradiction in terms.

      2. Local school board are part of the US govenrment. They are not part of the Federal government – though they do receive federal funding and must comply with federal laws and regulations.

        We do have the ability to elect local school boards – but those school boards are still obligated to follow federal regulation – and sometimes even mere guidance, that was not enacted by any elected officials – such as congress.

        One of the fundimental differences between the left and those who wish to follow the constitution is that
        the left once it has gained power over any signle aspect of government will use that power to infringe on peoples rights for nearly always unproveable claims of ”
        the greater good”. If they control the supreme court – of the US, or of a State – they will “legislate” from the bench ignoring state federal constitutions, and legislatures. If they gain control of a single federal court, or a single US district court – they will attempt the same.
        If they control the presidency – they will do what they please through the president – irrespective of the congress or courts.
        If they gain control of a single state or legislature or governor, they will again do what the please – ignoring the federal government, the state legislatures …

        The constitutional design of this country is ANTI-Democratic – the US is not a democracy. It is an ANTI-democracy. The majority of the people are not constitutionally able to do anything. They certainly are not able to infringe on individuals rights.

        Rights are NOT absolute. But merely noting they are not absolute – does NOT mean they are subject tot he whim of the majority. If that were true there would be no such thing as a right.

        To infringe on a right – a majority of members of the house must agree, a super majority in the senate, as well as a majority of the supreme court.
        Further in most cases – the state legislature, state governor, and state supreme court must ALL agree, Not by a majority – not by consensus, But without any dissension from any unit.

        Next, while the right has an eroneous and limited understanding of indivual rights – the left has a limitless and self contradictory view.

        Contra SCOTUS our founders made CLEAR in multiple ways – including the 9th and 10th amendments as well as the priviledges and immunities clause and later the 14th amendment that they intended individual rights to be near limitless – that is negative rights – The liberty of people to act, as opposed to the necesities to succeed in some act. The right limits rights to those in the bill of rights – ignoring entirely all the broader elements I listed. The left wants broad rights – but in most instances wants government to infringe on those rights trivailly – except when the left is outraged, Furhter the left adopts the unsustainable concept of positive rights. Acting under the delusion that government can provide everything to everyone.

        The truth is that rights are broad – limitless, That they can be infringed on – but doing so was constitutionally made very difficult. And that anything that creates a positive duty to act – is NOT a right.

        Neither the right or left truly accept that – but the left is far more chaotic and dangerous.

        How does that relate to your claim ?

        Simple, the majority of a school board is NOT sufficient to overrule the rights of parents regarding the education of their children.
        Nor is the majority of Scotus, nor some unelected federal buereaucrat, nor the president nor congress.

        To infringe on the rights of parents ALL of government must be in agreement.

        And that requires supermajorities of the people.

  2. Jonathan: There are other aspects of your column that bother me. You take pride in the fact your parents sent you to public schools and you have done the same with your children. And what did you learn from that experience? Apparently not much because you spend a lot of column space attacking public education without offering any solutions? What about raising the starting salaries for teachers that are some of the lowest in other Western democracies. In my GOP controlled state the starting salary for a teacher is between $30 and $35,000 per year. Hardly a living wage. Teachers in my state are leaving the profession because they can make more working at Costco!

    And what has the GOP proposed to improve public education? In the House, the GOP bill to increase the federal debt limit proposes $4.8 trillion in spending cuts–slashing funding for critical programming that would affect low-income students and students with disabilities. It would shrink the Pell Grant program, which helps low-income students attend college. It would also block Biden’s student debt relief plan. And all these cuts come when students are still recovering from Covid-19 induced learning setbacks–the very thing you are concerned about!

    If, as you say, “public schools” serve “as important parts of our society as we shape future citizens” why is it that public schools and teachers are under attack by Gov, DeSantis in Florida–book banning and censorship of teachers? A subject you studiously avoid discussing. You falsely claim “educators and unions are killing public education”. Nope. It is people like GOP Gov. DeSantis who are “killing public education”!

    If you want a primer of how this is playing out in other GOP controlled states look no farther than Austin, Texas. Sophie Marie is a queer third-grade teacher in Austin. She says she was called into a meeting by her administrator and shown a list of “concerns”. One of the concerns caught Sophie’s attention. It read: “We’ve noticed an intentional attempt at teaching your students about their legal and constitutional rights”. The administration apparently did not explain what “legal and constitutional rights” were of “concern”. But Sophie thinks she knows the answer. Sophie is an outspoken on-line supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and opposed to the states’ anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

    Now you are alarmed at the drop in “civics scores”. Well, isn’t that what Sophie is trying to do in her classes? Trying to help her students understand their “legal and constitutional rights”? Sophie’s story was in the news last week but you apparently chose to ignore it. Teachers in Texas are leaving in droves, partly, because of Sophie’s experience. Why aren’t you concerned about Sophie and other teachers similarly situated?

    1. Teachers need more money? Have you seen the quality of teachers lately? Some of the lowest of the dumb that get through college — and then even the decent ones are burdened with administrivia and “mainstreaming”, so classes trend toward supporting the lowest common denominators. How about we start letting schools discipline and expel students for misbehavior; end the arguably unconstitutional public employees’ unions; ditch the DEI nonsense; ditch the “emotional learning” surveillance crap (see AG Garland’s son-in-law’s multi-million-dollar grift of Panorama Education); end the “special needs” cash cow; stop with the unnecessary teacher credentialing and continuing trainings that accomplish nothing; give parents more say over the curricula; and start hiring and paying teachers based on their own academic qualifications and demonstrated merit. Some public schools these days have more administrative personnel than teachers.

      The public schools’ failures have nothing to do with money, and it’s not about “covid” either. Individual schools’ success ratings really are about (1) the quality of the students who attend that school (yes, IQ and pro-education culture) and their parents, i.e. the “curriculum of the home”, and (2) the quality of the teachers and teaching. Flood any school with undisciplined hoodlums and non-English-speaking immigrants and see what happens to it.

      Our public schools have been a mess for decades. Most private schools are not much better. 20 years ago I yanked my kids out of elementary school and homeschooled them. They rang the bell on their SATs a decade later. Oh. Wait. No more SATs… It’s unfair to make any student document achievement, so standardized tests are being eliminated so that colleges can admit and churn out more ignoramus teachers whose priorities are their “identities”.

    2. $35,000 not a living wage? I think you may be ignoring the valuable fringe benefits.

      1. Dennis lives in an alternate universe and engages in mindless selection to make a point that doesn’t exist. He seldom looks around and is like a horse wearing blinders.

        “Colorado’s typical teacher salary is around $60,000, and most teacher salaries are on the rise. From 2019 to 2020, CO’s typical teacher salaries rose by 5.03%. (1) That’s one of the fastest-growing salaries in the nation! “

        “CO teacher salaries are comparable to or even higher than many other fields that require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Plus, teachers usually work about 180-190 days each year—compared to 260 work days a year in most other fields. “


  3. I am shocked at the 13% proficiency figure. I would have thought it to be much lower. We will look back at it (13%) in a few years and set that as a goal to strive for.


    James Watson tells the inconvenient truth: faces the consequences
    Jason Malloy


    Recent comments by the eminent biologist James Watson concerning intelligence test data from sub-Saharan Africa resulted in professional sanctions as well as numerous public condemnations from the media and the scientific community. They justified these sanctions to the public through an abuse of trust, by suggesting that intelligence testing is a meaningless and discredited science, that there is no data to support Dr. Watson’s comments, that genetic causes of group differences in intelligence are falsified logically and empirically, and that such differences are already accounted for by known environment factors. None of these arguments are correct, much less beyond legitimate scientific debate. Dr. Watson was correct on all accounts: (1) Intelligence tests do reveal large differences between European and sub-Saharan African nations, (2) the evidence does link these differences to universally valued outcomes, both within and between nations, and (3) there is data to suggest these differences are influenced by genetic factors. The media and the larger scientific community punished Dr. Watson for violating a social and political taboo, but fashioned their case to the public in terms of scientific ethics. This necessitated lying to the public about numerous scientific issues to make Watson appear negligent in his statements; a gross abuse of valuable and fragile public trust in scientific authority. Lies and a threatening, coercive atmosphere to free inquiry and exchange are damaging to science as an institution and to scientists as individuals, while voicing unfashionable hypotheses is not damaging to science. The ability to openly voice and argue ideas in good faith that are strange and frightening to some is, in fact, integral to science. Those that have participated in undermining this openness and fairness have therefore damaged science, even while claiming to protect it with the same behavior.

    – PUBMED, NIH, National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18440722/

    1. Evolution in a woke culture (e.g. Hutu vs Tutsi, Mandela’s Xhosa vs Zulu, Obama’s Kenyan elite vs deplorables) is selected by diversity (e.g. racism, sexism, elitism), Choice (i.e. reproductive… human rites) and [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] immigration reform.


    “World-Renowned Geneticist Draws Fire For Claims That Africans Are Intellectually Inferior”

    “World-renowned geneticist James Watson, 79, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his role in helping break the DNA code, is being widely criticized after telling The Sunday Times of London that he’s

    “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa”


    “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours–whereas all the testing says not really.”

    He went on, reports the newspaper, to say that “people who have to deal with black employees find…it is not true” that all humans are equal.

    – Scientific American, 2007

  6. Jonathan: Finally, a subject we can all agree upon-the sorry state of education in this country. But I think we come at the problem from different perspectives.

    Yes, the Covid-19 pandemic school closures did have an adverse impact on student performance–especially on kids in early elementary school where face-to-face interaction with a teacher is important. But recent studies show different outcomes for older students. A Frontiers study (2021) found there were actually positive outcomes for students in math and language learning: “The positive effects of COVID-19 related school closures on performance in such online-learning programs may have occurred due to the increased use of software during school closures and the fact that students from these studies were familiar working with on-line programs…”. I know this from personal experience. My three granddaughters were in middle school and during their school closure they were each provided with a tablet. They already had their own tablets so on-line learning was no problem for them and had no affect on their performance when their school re-opened.

    Blaming Rand Weingarten and the teacher unions is a convenient scapegoat. I suspect you wrote this column to provide an echo chamber for House Republicans who called Weingarten to testify last week. It was ‘blame” game time. The flamethrower MTG was into a lot of “blaming”. She hurled personal attacks on Weingarten telling her: “The problem is people like you to admit that you’re just a political activist, not a mother and not a medical doctor”. MTG believes a lesbian can’t be a real “mother”–despite the fact Weingarten has children and is just as much a mother as MTG.

    The GOP is not interested in finding solutions for the next pandemic. It is trying to find scapegoats for the failures of the Trump administration. If the GOP was really interested in creating a safe learning environment for kids they would address the epidemic of school gun violence. But they oppose any restrictions on guns. At least when the kids were safe at home during school closures they didn’t have to memorize the location of emergency exits, practice active-shooter drills or wear Kevlar backpacks!.

    1. Whether scalpel or other bladed instrument, an epidemic of violence forced by diversity (e.g. racism, sexism), socially permissive culture, and psychiatric-induced dysphoria.

    2. Dennis is attempting to rewrite history. Anyone having a question about the role of teacher unions in keeping schools closed, might check this article:
      https://fee.org/articles/teachers-unions-continue-to-block-school-reopenings-across-america/ (“The Chicago Teachers Union made headlines in December when it tweeted that the “push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny.”)
      — or this one —
      dailycaller.com/2021/01/27/teachers-unions-centers-for-disease-control-prevention-coronavirus-schools/ (“The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA) didn’t change their views on school reopenings after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study Tuesday that suggested in-person instruction is safe. The AFT repeated the message it has repeated throughout the pandemic when asked about the study by the Daily Caller News Foundation while the NEA didn’t respond to multiple calls and emails.
      “Right now there is fear and pain everywhere—and we can only calm those fears if we follow the science and secure the tools and safeguards we need to reopen,” AFT spokesperson Andrew Crook told the DCNF in response to the study. “Teachers know how important in-person instruction is, but we have to make it safe.”
      . . .
      The AFT and NEA, which both endorsed President Joe Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign, applauded the president’s executive order on school reopenings. One day after he was sworn in, Biden signed an executive order, which ordered the Department of Education to provide “evidence-based guidance” to assist school reopenings.)
      — or this one —
      “Michigan Education Association supports suspending in-person learning, youth sports”, fox17online.com (April 9, 2021)
      “Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart responded Friday in support of the state’s recommendation that schools suspend in-person learning for two weeks following spring break as COVID-19 cases surge.”
      These kind of stories can be found around the country. Note how the teacher unions resort to the usual leftist rhetoric: sexism, racism, misogyny; fear, follow the science. Note also that Joe Biden and governors like Gretchen Whitmer gave the unions exactly what they wanted.

  7. Wait a minute, now the right is upset about education, well it does make sense, they want under age students just smart enough to work night shifts.


    Ah, the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.

    Glory Hallelujah!

    “The ‘Great Emancipator’ and the Issue of Race – Abraham Lincoln’s Program of Black Resettlement”

    Early Experiences

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” [Lincoln rhetorically] asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”5

    – Robert Morgan, IHR

  9. It doesn’t help that history is now routinely politicized by Bernie Bros and Trumpers.

  10. “They continue to treat families as virtual captives rather than respond to these demands for competence and accountability.”

    Parents don’t demand anything. Hardly anyone attends school board meetings and and effectively no one says where are the books kids should be reading, where are the writing assignments, why is the curriculum is missing the Great Works and ancient and world history, and civics?

    Neither do txpayers demand a wise use of their tax dollars that would promote the effective and prudent continuation of their communities.

    What is the purpose of education?

    TPTB tell us it is to get a job, to be “future ready”. Yeah, in someone else’s future, not in one we forged ourselves. They already know where they want to go and we the people weren’t asked.

    No wonder nose rings are all the rage these days–people are being led around by the nose like a bunch of cattle.

  11. Dumb students are easier to manipulate. That’s how the crazed DEI agenda spread on college campuses. It’s not rocket science (which is probably “white supremacist” anyway).

  12. We have gone from a country where an impoverished rural lad who attended a one-room dirt-floor school for less than a year in segments could grow to a man who could write the Gettysburg Address, only to become a country where billions are spent on palaces and administrators and teachers to produce graduates who can scarcely read the Gettysburg Address much less understand what it is all about.

    We have become a country where young people have no country and no heroes.

  13. “There will also likely be demands for more money despite the unbroken record of failure in many of our public school districts.

    These scores once again show how educators and unions are killing public education in this country.”

    Professor Turley
    I fundamentally disagree with this. State and Federal Departments of Education (and the legislators and senators who supported horrid laws) have made a mess of education in many ways.

    Administrators also have their own axes to grind, passed on to them by NGOs.

    Who passed NCLB? Common Core? Race to the Top?

    What responsibility do tech companies bear for their deliberatively addictive technology? Our advertisers for promoting wasteful, ignorant leisure? NGOs for promotion of “career pathways”, narrowing education to producing economic drones?

    Parents bear a great deal of responsibility, too. Do you instill a desire to learn or the love of knowledge or the duties and responsibilities of citizenship and adulthood in your kids? Many do, but not enough. Who accepted wasteful, ignorant leisure and accepted, maybe even accepted that a career pathways education was all that was needed in “today’s world”?

    Freedom, huh. Freedom lost to the morass of ignorance and idleness.

  14. It appears that roughly half of public school graduates in the City of Detroit district are “functionally illiterate”.
    “Detroit’s population fell by 25 percent in the last decade. And of those that stuck around, nearly half of them are functionally illiterate, a new report finds.
    According to estimates by The National Institute for Literacy, roughly 47 percent of adults in Detroit, Michigan — 200,000 total — are “functionally illiterate,” meaning they have trouble with reading, speaking, writing and computational skills. Even more surprisingly, the Detroit Regional Workforce finds half of that illiterate population has obtained a high school degree.”
    Since reading comprehension is involved in almost every job — e.g., reading street signs, reading emails from customers, management and co-workers, reading instructions on equipment — what kind of an economy can exist where there are so few literate workers? What kind of work do the non-literate workers perform?

      1. I believe you are right, there is a lot of grooming (destructive) going on of young people, for purposes I believe will be detrimental to all, but mostly to our present and future generations., The vast majority of youth I encounter have no critical thinking skills- period. Survival will for most mean taking orders Sadly, I hear in this thread too many wanting to make this a political issue, blame a party. Blame is squarely on those people who run the educational system. Just listen to them speak, it can be offensive, and they are in positions of power, they our clearly not the best people to be called educators. But, this dumbing down didn’t happen overnight, and now we have educators, in power, who believe they know what’s best- based on what do tell?

  15. Professor Turley, What are your proposed solutions to the problems in education that you have set forth? Please let us know in an update to this post or in a future post or column. Thanks.

    1. I think the column from “America in Decline” topic merely served as a gap filler.

      In the near future, commissioned opinions (for example: “How does Hunter Biden finance his lawyers?) from FNN, NYP, The Gill and/or USA Today will occupy the professor to such an extent that he will not be able to comply with your request due to time constraints.

      In the meantime, please consult Biden-Sanders manifesto [1], chapter :”PROVIDING A WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION IN EVERY ZIP CODE”, pp 22-27

      [1] https://joebiden.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/UNITY-TASK-FORCE-RECOMMENDATIONS.pdf

  16. School districts were not the primary pushers of school closures. Maybe the state level teachers unions did so behind the scenes (?), but that was not the final cause, at least in PA.


    Gov. Wolf and his Dept of Health and his Dept of Education shut everything down and mandated masks, against the wishes of many school boards. People were threatened with being sued individually, if I recall. And, funding may also have been a target if boards did not comply.

  17. Measure what matters and to the people who write tests of “education”, history, civics, etc don’t matter. Heck, in PA, only Englush, Algebra, and Biology matter. Who needs Earth Science, Physics, or Chemistry. Who needs Geography, World History over the ages here and abroad. Who needs to know the Great Masters of Art and Music. As if all this testing (including all the MAPS testing) really indicates whether someone is well-educated. Geez, is all this testing really necessary to produce an educated populace? Read, discuss, communicate, practice. Learn to love knowing as much as possible about this world of ours, the very best of its many facets. Strong relationships with knowledgeable, eclectic teachers helps.

    This push for technology is, as Thoreau observed, just a more sophisticated means to an unimproved end.

    Oh, wait. My district doesn’t even teach Thoreau. 🙁

  18. “It is far more difficult to shape citizens who have never been taught about […] values that define this nation”

    On 10/30/08, a 1st time US Senator declared in Columbia, MO: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” [1]

    What is the ideology behind “fundamentally transform”? Indeed, the textbook definition of totalitarianism,is to seek to “fundamentally transform” human nature via some form of political-ideological-cultural upheaval. The irreversible shift in matters of sexual orientation, marriage and family has been unprecedented and far beyond the imagination of many. We see it in the culture of fear and intimidation by the forces of “diversity” and “tolerance” who disagrees with their brazen newfound conceptions of marriage and family, and they do so in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity”:

    1. On 6/26/15, WH was lit in “LGTBQ” rainbow because in Obergefeil v Hodges SCOTUS overruled Baker v Nelson in a 5-4 landmark decission, with Irish-Catholic Anthony Kennedy (nomiated by President Reagan) as decider.
    2. Administration’s decision to instruct public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, saying that society must protect the dignity and safety of vulnerable children.
    3.The WH released two extraordinary fact sheets detailing administration’s s vast efforts to promote “LGBT” rights at home and abroad [2-3]. MSM coverage was similar to “Biden-Sanders Manifesto” in ’20.

    The crowning images of the “fundamental transformation of USA” was WH illuminated in rainbow colors on 6/26/15, or maybe NEWSWEEKs cover for 5/21/12 issue.

    [1] His opponent on 10/10/08 in Lakeville, MN: “He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign’s all about.” He urged his supporters to stop hurling abuse against his rival at his rallies, saying he admired and respected him.
    [2] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/04/23/remarks-president-obama-town-hall-young-leaders-uk
    [3] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/09/fact-sheet-obama-administrations-record-and-lgbt-community

  19. “The drop in civics scores may be even more alarming than the declines in math and English.”

    I would tend to disagree with that statement. While learning math, people learn to THINK logically and in the process use reason to formulate answers while identifying and quantifying “unknowns.” Using reason to formulate answers to problems is what one learns while studying math — and it’s a skill that extends well beyond juggling numbers. I believe the broader category of the related thought process is referred to as “abstract reasoning.” If math scores or emphasis on the importance of math decline, one might logically expect test scores in virtually all other areas of study (except maybe phs ed) to decline in proportion to the lost ability to reason.

    That said, I can understand why a lawyer/law professor would think that a drop in civics scores is more alarming than a drop in math or English scores. While disagreeing, I CAN imagine what it’s like to try arguing a complicated case to a typical jury full of slack-jawed geehoos. I’d also love to see some statistics concerning how well lawyers did in math studies in high school and college. The deficiency in English skills is often evident — no test scores necessary.

    Anyway, I could do a few paragraphs on the “coincidental” rise in societal emphasis on college football that parallels the decline in math and English skills, but I won’t bother here.

    1. We can disagree.
      Civics is the foundation of our freedoms. Protection from a tyrannical government. Lots of good Chinese mathematicians, they just don’t have the freedom to advance society. Because they never learned about freedom.

      1. Students need basic literacy skills to understand civics. Without reading comprehension, for example, nonfiction becomes meaningless. Civics, at its core, is essentially a thematic nonfiction course. Unfortunately, as I have noted in another post (to which you have not responded), Professor Turley struggles with basic reading comprehension sometimes.

        1. Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to reply to all of your trash, garbage boy — especially when I reply and reply again, and you just keep repeating the same lies.

          1. Not sure what this is referencing.

            I was responding to iowan2. Iowan’s response to my post regarding Turley’s misrepresentation of Weingarten’s position was to ask suggest that Weingarten’s actions are somehow relevant. They are not relevant because the issue had nothing to do with the substance of her policies. In no way did Weingarten state that she was pushing for keeping schools open. To draw that conclusion, as Turley has (and apparently Iowan has, as well) is a failure of basic literacy.

            Unfortunately, with the polarization of politics the way it is, people have a hard time removing politics from a simple understanding of reading comprehension. I don’t like Weingarten or teachers’ unions. But, some of us can’t remove political opinion from the basic comprehension question: “What does this news article say is Weingarten’s position on in-person schooling during the pandemic?”

            My point here is this is why LITERACY is the problem. Even adults like Turley and Iowan (assuming Iowan2 is one) have trouble with basic reading comprehension.

            (not sure why you’ve attacked me at all, but one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure?)

            1. Turley only writes to those who only want to believe, what they want to believe.

      2. The ability to REASON is the foundation of our existence and evolution, and math IS reason.

          1. Yes.

            The left imagine they can create a new utopia. Classical liberals have reason, so they know there is no such thing as utopia.

            1. I ask because it seems to me that reason is not the sole foundation of our existence. Certain other animals can reason to some degree, but, do any other animals have an imagination?

                1. Thank you, David. Looks interesting. Too bad it is behind a paywall.

                  At least from the abstract, it seems pretending is rare, though exhibited in the same sorts of animals that are capable of some degree of reasoning ability.

                  I’d still say reason is not the sole foundation of our existence. Apes may reason and they may play pretend, but it appears they don’t play with ideas?

              1. “do any other animals have an imagination?”

                Prairie, I asked my dog and he said, “yes.” 🙂

    2. * I realized that people who are not accessible to logical arguments can hardly classify a given narrative.
      * Latin is very good for practicing logical thinking.
      * I consider humanistic education to be a great gift. It attaches importance to the aspects of freedom, appreciation, dignity and integrity of persons.

    3. And then there’s G.K. Chesterton:
      “Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”

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