Hey Princeton, think you’re learning useful things in those history classes? Think again, says the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). The institute administered civic engagement quizzes in 2007 and 2008 to individuals across the country (click here to try your hand at the quiz). Reaching a grand total of 16,508 adults and students at 50 colleges, the ISI returned some startling statistics.
Take, for example, this one: the average score of a senior on the civics knowledge test was a 54.2%. Or maybe this one: 30% of office holders didn’t know that “life, liberty, and happiness” are the inalienable rights to which the Declaration of Independence refers. Or how about this one: 51% of Americans were unable to name the three branches of government. Kind of scary, isn’t it?
But to those of you who suspect that Princeton might be the exception to the rule, here’s the kicker: college seniors across the U.S. showed an average 4-point improvement since freshman year. But Princeton? Not so much. Freshmen at Cornell, Yale, Princeton, and Duke scored better than seniors on the exam.
Hold on, what fine print told us that we were actually going to be unlearning while at Princeton? Because I certainly didn’t see it. Interesting, though, that the ISI website makes it a tad difficult to locate the average scores that yielded this discrepancy…
From these results, the ISI has determined the following:
Universities are becoming round the clock factories churning out poorly instructed liberals with little civic knowledge and even less faith and less devotion to principles of liberty than those Americans who didn’t go to college…what a formal education at one of America’s university [sic] does so effectively, however, is engender doubt in the American way of life, incubate irreverence for the pillars of liberty upon which the nation was built, and perhaps most disturbingly, sap the faith in God and the institutions of religious worship.
(Insert fist pumping here).
I guess this doesn’t bode well for the Woodrow Wilson School.
(image source: www.flickr.com)