The Intercollegiate Studies Institute released the findings of its 2008 Civics Literacy Report, and it just makes you so gosh darn proud to be an American. Maybe we are too dumb to vote. 2500 people were surveyed at random, and the average score on the test was 49% Boomer generation folks scored a little better at 54%, and people with advanced degrees scored at 65%. But that’s still only a D. The really scary part was that people who had or currently did hold an elected office scored below the national average at 44%.
Now one point to consider is this is not a cake-walk of a test. You can take it here, but be forewarned that you’ll need your thinking caps. Still, I scored a 91%, and it’s not like I’m a history major. I certainly would expect people elected to government office should be able to score an A on this easy. Yet only 49% of politicians were able to correctly identify the three branches of government. Really? That should be the “gimme” question.
On what may be a related note, the Texas State Board of Education is finally having its debate over Creationism in their science curriculum. I won’t repeat my rant on why the mere existence of this as a debate topic is ample evidence of the incompetence of the Board. My regular readers know that old saw well by now. And it would be simple to argue that Texas is a long way from here, and if necessary could be returned to the Mexicans if they get too out of hand. The trouble is that Texas is so damn big that if they decide to include “teaching the controversy” (the latest code for Creationism) in their curriculum, it will cause book publishers to include it in textbooks. Texas is a big enough book market all by itself to determine content. And many other states will wind up using the books that are produced for Texas. The net is that if Texas folds to the pressure to teach some semblance of Bible science, it may permeate into non-Texas classrooms as well. So what happens in Texas does matter. This is a case where their stupidity won’t be contained to their own borders… kind of like when they let G.W. loose on the nation. Look how well that turned out.