Foreigners always accuse Americans, with justice, of not knowing much about the rest of the world, but a new survey shows that they don’t know much about their own history, either. According to a new government survey, only 20% of American fourth-graders (these are about ten years old) and 12% of high-school seniors (18 years old) are deemed “proficient” in American History. Fewer than a third of eighth graders could identify any big advantage Americans had over the British in the Revolutionary War (do they know where it was fought?).
But the most appalling statistic, which I just heard on the evening news, is this: only 9% of fourth-graders could identify the man in a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Why that’s doubly appalling is that they apparently haven’t looked at their money:
And yes, American ten-year-olds certainly have seen five-dollar bills.