Monday, September 24, 2007

Go off to college and forget what you knew (And pay money to do this)

Suzanne Fields has a sad column in Not Much Ado About History. She writes that a recent study by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), found civic literacy "to be declining at some of our finest (and most expensive) colleges and universities. Many graduates leave college with less knowledge of American history, government, foreign affairs and economics than when they entered as freshmen. Knowledge apparently just evaporates."

It would be funny, if it weren't so sad. Parents are paying tens of thousands of dollars for a college education. In the cases of elite universities the parents often pay a couple hundred thousand. For all that money their children come out knowing less about important matters than the children knew when they went off to college.

Suzanne Fields concludes with:

"Thomas Jefferson knew that education was essential for the republic to remain strong. He wrote that the purpose of education was to "enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom." That was crucial in his 18th century, and it's crucial in our own 21st. We forget at our peril."

As homeschoolers we've made sure our daughters know much of the history of The United States. We've taken them to important sites. They have walked through The White House and through the Capital Building. We've worked through The Richest Man in Babylon and they have a basic understanding of economics.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Ashley said...

What I find frustrating is the emphasis on ONLY American history. I think an understanding of all history is fundamentally more important (so says the medieval history major).

Henry Cate said...

I agree a better understanding of all history is important. I received a BS in Physics from San Jose State, but I almost had enough history credits for a second major in history.

I passed the AP tests for US History and European history in high school. My memory is I took a history class every semester. One semester I took two.

I think it is reasonable to start some place. There is so much history we can't learn it all. To function as a citizen in the United States I think it is reasonable to start with US history.