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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Test Your Civics

"Unschooling" is the new homeschooling. I see value in homeschooling, but I'm not sure about this. Interest is not just a feeling; it is cultivated despite, and yes, sometime through boredom. It takes effort and discipline to remain interested. For example, my cataloging class is five hours long on a Saturday, and it's a real ordeal, but through effort I can remain interested despite being bored. Got it? ;-)

Are we letting students down or are they letting themselves down? A majority of college undergrad lack basic knowledge in civics and history.

Take the quiz.


Blogger Dan said...

I saw the results of the "wall of separation" question over at MFB yesterday — I can't really criticize, because my 18-year-old self probably would have gotten that one wrong, too — but I was shocked to see just how low the percentage of correct respondents was on some of the other questions.

I can't imagine not knowing the difference between Yorktown and Gettysburg, to say nothing of being unaware that they're separated by almost a century. In this political climate, it's simply irresponsible to be completely unaware of who's associated with the Baath Party. And I found it sad that the two answers with the highest percentage of correct responses had to do with military juntas and progressive taxation. Money and guns, guns and money, as if everything else is supposed to be beneath our concern.

I knew the preambles of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution by heart when I was in fourth grade. We were required to memorize them, then recite them in front of the whole class. Every last one of us in a joint class of ~60 kids. I hated it, but I learned it anyway.

It's been almost 20 years since then, now, and I can still hash them both out from memory if I think about it hard enough.

October 02, 2006 10:29 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Now that I think about it, it's been exactly 20 years since I was in fourth grade.

I feel old.

October 02, 2006 10:34 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

You're not old! I can't even remember fourth grade.

I was shocked, too, at the results. This is basic information. I wouldn't hold it against people for getting tripped up by what program gets the most government funding, or for getting one or two answers wrong, but that is not what is happening. Yes, it's irresponsible to be unaware of what Saddam Hussein's political party was (is)!

Some old bat once accosted me at the bus stop, pointing at my GRE workbook and demanding why I though I needed to know "that" (math). I made the mistake of answering her and she proceded to fight with me about how her son "didn't need to know that to make money." And that's what it's all about, Dan--so many Americans don't learn about the world because we don't have to in order to join the daily grind. That, and the fact that a lot of TV watching makes one incurious (I have a bee in my bonnet about how much television my relatives watch).

October 03, 2006 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got 75% correct, and I'm British. Although I do have an interest in history and economics and stuff.
Certainly, here in the UK we could do with a written constitution and a bit saying that religion should not be sponsored in schools.

October 03, 2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I wouldn't hold it against people for getting tripped up by what program gets the most government funding

That's the only one I got wrong.

That, and the fact that a lot of TV watching makes one incurious

Hey, I watch tons of TV, and no one has ever accused me of being incurious.

October 03, 2006 1:14 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Hey, I watch tons of TV, and no one has ever accused me of being incurious.

Then I salute you! You are indeed curious and well informed. Unfortunately, the people I know who watch a lot of TV don't do much else.

I'll bet you don't watch chick television (ugh!). I admit to being a news junkie, but I am so sick of hearing about how wonderful Dr. Phil is from certain people. Dr. Phil, Monk, Montel, they can all go hang for all I care. For my birthday, I made my family turn off the damn TV. I turned the thing off for Christmas, too.

Guthrie, that was a quiz biased toward Americans, but you did better than most Americans. Pat yourself on the back. Newsweek isn't that deep, but my hectic life precludes making up a quiz that I'd love to give people. ;-)

October 03, 2006 2:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'll readily admit to being a TV junkie, but no, I don't watch any of that insipid daytime schlock. During the day, I'm usually watching ESPN, Fox Soccer Channel or the Food Network, and sometimes Discovery or History or National Geograpic, depending on what they're showing.

I do watch a lot of prime-time stuff, though. Procedural dramas, mostly, with a few of the less mind-numbing sitcoms thrown in. And I'm pretty enthralled by Heroes, so far. The Daily Show and Colbert Report, of course. I'm completely addicted to Adult Swim, too.

And on Saturdays, football. Lots and lots of football.

I still try to read as much as possible, though. I'm working on a biograpy of Janis Joplin, at the moment.

October 03, 2006 5:59 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I admit to being addicted to Adult Swim, particularly Robot Chicken. I don't get to see the Daily Show enough. But I will literally forget to watch television--even if there's something on that I want to see.

Two things I, being a woman, encounter from people: assumptions that I love to shop (I do, for books), and assumptions that I love Dr. Phil. Even at grad orientation: "And we all love Dr. Phil, don't we?" I was the only one who said, "No." Are you kidding me? What a moron he is!

October 03, 2006 9:51 PM  

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