Start A Petition

30 Surprising Things That U.S. High Schoolers Don't Know

World  (tags: US, High Schoolers, education, history, literature, learning )

- 3053 days ago -
A couple of years ago, Common Core -- a high school advocacy organization that hopes to improve education in America -- conducted a study that rated how much high school students really knew about civics, history and literature. The findings were bleak.....


We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


linda b (186)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 4:40 am
Noted thanks Anna

Angela Dubie (306)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 8:07 am
If the schools taught accurate history, that it could not repeat it's self!
Schools are teaching our children to be gladiators and good consumers!

Past Member (0)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 8:14 am
Noted. Thank you, Anna.

Brittany D (28)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 10:00 am
Well, most history taught in high school is wrong anyway.

Ben Oscarsito (131)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 10:07 am
"... If the U.S. government got rid of the Bill of Rights, a third of high schoolers wouldn’t even know what rights — freedom of speech and religion — would be abolished..."
-Unbelievable! What do they know about geography? I think it's important to know at least something about the other more than 200 countries. As for myself, I am 90% autodidact, and I've learned a lot by visiting other countries (45 so far). The most rewarding is of course meeting people with a different view of life!

Dawn M (9)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 10:12 am
You get out of school what you put into it.

John Goodspeed (79)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 10:40 am
That is really astonishing. And it also explains why too many people don't understand simple scientific principles and, therefore, can be told to believe that (for example) global climate change isn't real.

There is a real tendency on the part of the far right to encourage the "dumbing down" of America. To scoff at "ivory tower" (which only means educated) liberals. To insist that real science share time with ancient myths to explain how the earth was formed and populated. To argue the absurdity that the efficiency of scale that allows government to do more for people than they could do for themselves for the same money does not work to the benefit of the individual.

Mary L (132)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 11:23 am
Really depressing. It also speaks to how children and parents spend their time. A teaching opportunity should never be wasted and definitely disguised as fun conversation.

Terry B (649)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 11:45 am
Does not suprise me at all. Last summer an American tourist in one of our coffee houses was looking at a map, saying to his friend, "Something's wrong here. I know we crossed the bridge into Ontario, but I can't figure out how we get from here to Canada."

Liz Recko-Morrison (0)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 12:16 pm
It seems to me that for many students in many districts, the curiculuum has been limited to what's on the state graduation test. I'm not a foe of assessment, but no one test should be seen as the golden standard to which students should be taught.

Nancy sands (448)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 12:19 pm
I know that the schools sure don't emphasize spelling any more in their curriculum. Back in the day, we used to have a spelling bee at least once a week!

Beth Tatum (95)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 12:25 pm
A sad commentary on our youth.

Darrell & Carol Vale (1)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 12:53 pm
IMHO, as the base of common knowledge erodes with each generation, our ability to communicate clearly with one another also erodes.

Phillip r (67)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 12:54 pm
I suddenly feel somewhat old.

I find that I'm quite ok with being old.....

Ben Oscarsito (131)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 1:39 pm
May I add: -Never underestimate the power of ignorant people in large groups!

Mary Donnelly (47)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 1:51 pm
Thanks Anna.

Ben we have just had an example of what you said.


Laura E (0)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 2:06 pm
Ben is right. A democracy cannot function without educated citizens. An ignorant populace can much more easily be steered and manipulated by people in power, so it is to their benefit that the people stay as ignorant as possible. I don't think that it's any accident that "intellectual elite" has become a phrase of derision.

Ann Breeden (65)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 2:29 pm
I truly think this shows the dumbing down of America. I know there's students out there that truly excel. Is it because they want to learn knew things, have a great teacher that truly cares and maybe have parents that really care as well? I have a slice of all those with my grandchildren. The ones that are excelling in school make sure the homework is done on time, have interesting discussions at the dinner table and generally look out for the well being of that child. The other side of the coin has been very frustrating for me to watch.
I keep remembering an article that came out of a British study which told of art in schools, and showed that there was an increase with those students in math and science as well. Two of my grandchildren went to a waldorf school where there was lots of hands on programs going on. Both have done extremely well in their lives. I think we need to take a serious look at what really goes on in today's classrooms as parents as well as grandparents. I guess we still have a voice if you can get by the locked doors, that is.

Charlene Rush (2)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 3:34 pm
Quite frankly, our citizens, collectively, not individually, don't really care about this situation.

Talking about caring, is not caring. Taking action to improve our educational system, shows you care, and we have not done that. While the Republicans and the Democrats argue over how to fix the system, nothing gets done.

We are swiftly falling behind other industrialized nations. At our present rate, we will be required to bring in more highly educated people, from other countries, to keep our country economically healthy.

If the present state of affairs continues, we will be No. 1, AT NOTHING.

Mike S (86)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 4:26 pm
Noted and thanks Anna.

Kathlene Lentz (30)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 4:52 pm
I'm not at all surprised. The way the curriculum is set up in my city, kids aren't taught relevant or recent history until Senior year. I was amazed when I realized that my son didn't know who Neil Armstrong was. When we talk about things that happened in the 40s and 50s we commonly get a look of confusion from the child.

Susan Ayres-Lynch (126)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 4:53 pm
Yipes ahoy! This must be a good sign for the Tea Party. It's clear that intellectual elitism isn't encouraged here.

Carol H (229)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 5:12 pm
thanks Anna, noted

Amber T (1)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 5:26 pm
That's more depressing, than surprising.

Angela Dubie (306)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 5:54 pm
Charlene, excellent post!
America will always bee number 1 in:
Double standards
One sided press
Prison populstion
And the list reaches the heavens!

Kevin Lewis (1)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 7:25 pm
Such a sad state of the public school system.

Melanie Clark (13)
Thursday January 13, 2011, 8:05 pm
This is NOT surprising to me. They are too busy teaching them how to pass a stupid test instead of actually teaching our children anything that might be important. These tests are just a waste of our children's time.

Past Member (0)
Friday January 14, 2011, 1:12 am
Some of the things on the list are pretty scary, though I spotted one case where even the questioner may not have understood what was going on: The Renaissance was, arguably, the beginning of democracy in Europe,

A lot of these things U.S. high-schooll students don't know are details of classic literature, though, and there I am less concerned. Here is why:

Lika P (130)
Friday January 14, 2011, 2:20 am
Sad thing is, out of the literature, aside from the Scarlet Letter, I hadn't read any of those in High School, and God forbid we learned anything Biblical in public school. If it weren't for the fact that I was in Job's Daughters for a while, I wouldn't have learned about that either. Half of those history notes weren't taught in schools either, unless I missed it during k-3rd grade, where I didn't start American Schools til 3rd grade, and was yanked out of history & science to learn to spell... I could speak fluently, because my mother is American... yet I didn't spell well because I used phonics, not sight to spell.

Anyway, interesting article, now I'll have to do some learning of my own. Thanks!

Ben Oscarsito (131)
Friday January 14, 2011, 2:45 am
"Education is the most powerful weapon for World change"
(Nelson Mandela)

Geynell Eskite (68)
Friday January 14, 2011, 6:26 am
Not surprising. Give that same test to Conservative Senators, Representatives or Governors and see hoe little they know about American History, Government, The Constitution, Science and Math..You think that's bleak? Wait till the next crop of kids educated in Texas or Virginia graduate. We will reach a new level of stupid.

leanne Torio (244)
Friday January 14, 2011, 9:51 am
Please watch "Waiting for Superman" a documentary that depicts the public school system in the most unfavorable light and lets the taxpaying people know what is happening in our school districts and Canada is no exception! It is truly revolutionary and maybe a change will happen - here is to hope and change!

Eva O (60)
Saturday January 15, 2011, 1:20 am
I am sad to hear this. If anything, a well-educated youth would do the world a lot of good. Right along with some more compassion.

barbara n (10)
Saturday January 15, 2011, 4:47 am
well...finally I have found a country where students are, if possible, more ignorant than in mine

Victoria S (19)
Saturday January 15, 2011, 6:48 am
I always heard American students didn't tend to be the brightest but this is incredible. I did all my schooling in France and knew the answers to all those questions except 2... The worst is the article says all those things were tought to them, so I guess like students everywhere they just weren't paying attention in clase. It's really kind off sad

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 15, 2011, 2:12 pm
Hi Geynell,
A study was run, checking how much U.S. elected officials knew about their own country's history and the structure of the government in which they worked. This was of both conservatives and liberals. They did worse on the questionnaire than the average citizen (when given the same one).
Here is the questionnaire,
and here are the results:

Jason R (67)
Friday December 5, 2014, 10:40 am

It's no longer a secret -- Common Core is working.

Teachers, parents, business leaders, and yes, even politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike!) are embracing the standards all across the country.

Despite that support, misinformation has muddled the conversation. It's overrun with scare tactics, baseless accusations, and basically just a whole lot of noise -- which means the most important thing you can do right now, as a supporter of higher standards, is help us take back the dialogue.

Here's what people really think about Common Core (and there's more on our Facebook page -- check it out here).

"The higher you raise the bar, the higher our children will climb with the love and support from their school community." -- Pat Sprinkle, teacher

"A company like IBM or all the other companies that we do business with depend on a high-skilled workforce, and the Common Core is directly connected to giving our kids the skills that they need to be effective in the workplace." -- Stan Litow, President of IBM International Foundation

“We’re not doing well in the world. If we’re not careful the Googles and PayPals will be invented somewhere else. The idea that kids in Iowa, kids in California, kids in Ohio, there ought to be a higher level of achievement? I’m completely for that. It is purely local control.” -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in World

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.