President Zack Statement Re: Civics Testing Results from National Assessment of Educational Progress
The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ civics test of high school students translate to an F for our society. A government cannot survive if it is not understood and embraced by its people. When we lose an understanding of our history, basic American values are in danger.
This lack of knowledge is unacceptable, especially because it’s a solvable problem. Currently, fewer than half of all states test students on their knowledge of civics or government. Civics needs to be counted as another basic, like reading and mathematics. The C — for civics — is just as crucial to our future as a nation as are the three Rs.
At the national level, the Department of Education can help schools re-embrace civics classes by fostering a competitive grant funding program for civic education in elementary, middle and high schools that require civics classes.
The American Bar Association is so concerned about increasing civics knowledge among the next generation that it recently started the ABA Civics and Law Academy program. The academy supports civics in schools nationwide by organizing lawyer volunteers to teach civics lessons.
The NAEP test results are a wake-up call we cannot ignore. The ABA remains dedicated to reinvigorating American civics in our classrooms.