ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Nodland: Failing knowledge of history of the United States

"I know some schools (both high school and college level) are trying to teach and indoctrinate our young people to believe we are a bad country in how we treated some of our minority citizens in the past. Yes, we made mistakes in the past, but let us learn from these mistakes and not repeat them," writes George Nodland.

Nodland2
Fmr. Sen. George Nodland, R-Dickinson

I have been reading and listening to the many discussions and opinions concerning the failing grades and lack of knowledge of our younger generation of the history of the United States. I cannot understand how low the pendulum goes with our teaching of the founding and principles of the United States government and its purpose. The public has shown a declining knowledge of civics since 1998.

I researched some recent studies done in the last year: One study done by the University of Pennsylvania last September shows some alarming statistics concerning this subject. Only 44% of American adults could name all three branches of government and 20% couldn’t name any branch! Only 51% could name the Supreme Court as the final responsibility for determining if the President has went beyond his authority in an action he made on an issue. (The most recent case being the Vaccine requirement for employers with 100 or more employees). Only 24% of eight graders preformed at or above the National Assessment of Educational Progress civics exam. Another study done shows only 33% of people surveyed knew who gave the Gettysburg Address. Only 47% of the same people knew what the first ten amendments to the Constitution are called.

I remember when I finished the eighth grade in Dunn Center; I had to take a test to show what I learned about North Dakota history. We studied the book, Our State North Dakota, and learned all aspects of the state including the forming of the state, the geography, economy, history, government, citizenship, and conservation of the state. We also had a chapter on how the National government started and its purpose. I also remember we had a civics class in high school with a more in depth study of the the National government and the World governments. We were taught how important democracy was compared to a socialistic government like Russia and China is today. We learned how important freedom and patriotism is to us American citizens!

What has happened since then? Have we watered down these subjects to try to be more like a so-called one world government? I know some schools (both high school and college level) are trying to teach and indoctrinate our young people to believe we are a bad country in how we treated some of our minority citizens in the past. Yes, we made mistakes in the past, but let us learn from these mistakes and not repeat them! We cannot change the past, but we can definitely not repeat the past!

President Ronald Regan once said “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction”. I truly feel we are close to that time today. We need to step up to the plate and insist that our schools teach our history the way it was and the importance of democracy and the freedoms we have in the United States. We live in the best country in the world! Just ask the immigrants that are coming to the country today. Why are they risking their lives and everything they have to come here? Our forefathers came here for the same reason. We must never forget the beginnings of the United States and how it was formed by the first immigrants of the country!

ADVERTISEMENT

George Nodland is an former politician who served in the North Dakota Senate from the 36th district from 2008 to 2012. He is a guest columnist for The Dickinson Press.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
What To Read Next
"A lavish compensation package given to former NDSU President Dean Bresciani is a drain on the school's resources at a time when it can ill be afforded."
"How could someone who supposedly believes in property rights use an arcane legal doctrine to seize someone else's property without paying for it?"
"We always unplug our outdoor Christmas lights after Epiphany. But I really miss those lights, and I wish we could leave them on year-round," writes Jackie Hope.
Salonen writes that her father passed away just days before her first column published in The Forum. While she wishes he would have been able to read her work, she's certain he would be proud.