Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Constitution, adults, and kids

Teens, adults equally ignorant on Constitution:
Kansas high school seniors know about as much about the Constitution as adults do -- which often isn't all that much, according to a new survey conducted for the Bill of Rights Institute, a Virginia group that provides civics teaching materials to teachers.
When these surveys are reported, they usually only tell us how little high school students know, without comparing that to the adult population. What this teaches us is that the average person reading Bjerga's report will be as surprised as a high school student to learn that James Madison (and not Thomas Jefferson) is called the Father of the Constitution. It isn't that modern schools are failing students, it's that no one knows simple things about the Constitution.

An astounding 40% think the Constitution bans flag burning. And while it isn't true that the Constitution states that all men are created equal (90% thought it did) the 14th amendment grants equal protection under the law, and other amendments operate on the assumption that all men are created equal. Let's call that presumption of equality a penumbra and give that 90% partial credit.