There is no political divide in the results from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s latest civics literacy test. Everyone earned a failing grade.
While the organization has focused on a lack of civics knowledge among college students in past years, it expanded its reach this time around. Randomly selected Americans earned an average score of 49 on the 33-question test. Amazingly, elected officials came in even lower at 44%. Breakout totals included: Republicans (52%), Democrats (45%), liberals (49%) and conservatives (48%).
So what didn’t these people know. How about:
- Fewer than half could name all three branches of government
- Only 54% could identify a basic description of the free enterprise system
- 40% of those with a bachelor’s degree did not know that business profit equals revenues minus expenses
- 30% of elected officials did not know that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are the unalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence
What’s the solution? I don’t know. But these results and the prospects for what they mean down the road sure are depressing.