November 24, 2008

Civic Literacy

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) is an educational organization founded in 1953 "to further in successive generations of American college youth a better understanding of the economic, political, and ethical values that sustain a free and humane society." The ISI is ostensibly non-partisan, although it approaches education, history and economics with a conservative bent.

Last week, the ISI released its third annual report on what it terms "civic literacy" - the economic, historical and political knowledge of U.S. citizens. The results were disturbing, if not surprising, given the presidency of George W. Bush (emphasis mine):
More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took ISI’s basic 33-question test on civic literacy and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score 49 percent, or an “F.” Elected officials scored even lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent and only 0.8 percent (or 21) of all surveyed earned an “A.”
If you'd like to see how you'd do on the ISI Civic Literacy test, it can be found here. In my opinion, it is fair, grounded in fact, and unbiased.


Michael said...

Democracy equals people divided by government. Hmmm.

PBI said...

I think it's intended to read "people OVER government". : )

lokywoky said...

Well, I passed with 88%. I guess that means I pay attention. For all the good it does me.
Too bad more people didn't pass - I'm not surprised that the politicians did so badly - that is evident by the misconceptions and misinformation the are constantly spewing about stuff. Of course the most egregious example would be Sarah Palin with her statements about the job description of the Vice President. And Dick Cheney himself claiming that the office of the VP comprises a fourth branch of government.