Study: Students don't know much about American History - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Study: Students don't know much about American History

(CNN) - A recent study called "The Nation's Report Card" said less than one quarter of all students is proficient or shows a solid academic performance in American history.  

Shockingly, while most quizzed could identify a photo of Abraham Lincoln, hardly any could say why he was an important president.  

If there's anywhere students would be able to answer a question about Lincoln, many would think it would be at the Lincoln memorial, in Washington DC.

But the study and a field trip made it clear that kids aren't learning history.

Why that's the case, and how to fix it, is up for debate.

Possibilities include apathetic students, how history is tested, and the No Child Left Behind Act squeezing history out of the classroom in favor of math and reading.  

"There is a core of kids who are outstanding. There is another small percent that our policy-makers would probably call "proficient," and there is big chunk of kids who are below that line and that has not changed much," Jack Buckley with the National Center for Education Statistics said.

In Massachusetts, Will Fitzhugh publishes a journal highlighting the work of that "core group" of gifted history students, and he thinks the history scores are troubling.

"It's an old story. It's just nobody is doing anything to fix it," he said.

"They really should try and find the fun," said one student. "When it comes down to it, history is all about people and people like us who have shaped the course of this nation's history."

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