Eighth-Graders Have Never Scored so Low in American History and Civics

Richard Drew

Education Department data released on Wednesday showed that test scores in U.S. history and civics for eighth graders fell to the lowest levels on record last year. This is following data released last October that showed the lowest math test scores in history and a drop in reading skills that wiped out three decades of progress.


Way to go Randi Weingarten.

Last week, Weingarten testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and showed no remorse for keeping schools closed despite mountains of evidence proving that, with a few common sense precautions, the kids were safe. Indeed, Florida reopened schools in August 2020 and despite some glitches, Gov. Ron DeSantis was proved right. Schools were safe.

Weingarten made the hysterical prediction that “millions” would die after DeSantis reopened the schools.

Not only did Weingarten show no remorse, but she also tried to rewrite the entire history of her union’s response to the pandemic by claiming it was always her union’s first priority to reopen schools. Leaked emails from the American Federation of Teachers to the CDC tell a different story.

The fruits of her labors can be seen with the standardized test scores showing an entire generation of school kids having their education short-circuited.

Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. history scores showed the lowest proportion of eighth-grade students reaching proficiency levels out of any subject assessed by the NAEP program, with civics being the second-lowest. Federal tests show scores in U.S. history and civics have consistently lagged behind those of reading and math.

Peggy Carr, National Center for Education Statistics commissioner, said in a briefing with reporters Tuesday that she was shocked by eighth-graders’ U.S. history and civics scores, which she called “woefully low in comparison to other subjects.”

Dr. Carr added: “These data are a national concern. The health of our democracy depends on informed and engaged citizens.”


Some of these children will catch up. But how many will simply give up and go through the motions of learning? We’ve seen the lowering of standards so that kids are moved on, up, and out while remaining functionally illiterate. Whatever that number was before the pandemic, how much larger do you think it is now?

Test scores are categorized as either below basic, basic, proficient or advanced. The percentages of students in 2022 who performed below basic levels worsened in both U.S. history and civics, with four in 10 eighth-graders scoring below basic levels in U.S. history, according to federal data. Those students were unable to correctly identify basic concepts such as the difference between indentured servants and slaves.

According to the data, 31% of eighth-graders performed below basic level in civics in 2022, indicating those students were unable to correctly answer questions asking them to identify basics such as common characteristics shared by all constitutional governments.

I’m sure part of the decline is that teachers are stressing their own themes and narratives in U.S. history and civics which don’t necessarily match what the Education Department wants them to highlight. The kids may be woke, but when it comes to the basic knowledge of how America came into being, that part of their education appears to have been neglected.



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