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ERIC Number: ED563817
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Crisis in Civic Education
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
There is a crisis in American civic education. Survey after survey shows that recent college graduates are alarmingly ignorant of America's history and heritage. They cannot identify the term lengths of members of Congress, the substance of the First Amendment, or the origin of the separation of powers. They do not know the Father of the Constitution, and nearly 10% say that Judith Sheindlin--"Judge Judy"--is on the Supreme Court. Studies show that our colleges and universities are doing little or nothing to address the knowledge gap. A recent survey by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) of over 1,100 liberal arts colleges and universities found that only a handful--18%--require students to take even one survey course in American history or government before they graduate. In a country that depends upon an educated populace, ignorance of its history and founding documents will be disastrous. An annual survey by the Newseum Institute gives point to the alarm: When asked to identify the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, one-third of Americans could not name a single right; 43% could not even name freedom of speech as one of those rights. How did America get to such a state? And what is to be done? This report outlines the problem, and, more importantly, what must must be done to restore rich civic education for all students and especially the college graduates who will be the next generation of leaders. The following are appended: (1) Sample Questions from the NAEP Test of Civic Knowledge; and (2) Constitution Day Survey.
American Council of Trustees and Alumni. 1726 M Street NW Suite 802, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 888-258-6648; Tel: 202-467-6787; Fax: 202-467-6784; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Council of Trustees and Alumni