Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day Poll Shows a Shocking Collapse of America's Educational System

According to a new Marist Poll one in four Americans don't even know what country America declared its independence from. And only 58 percent of residents know that the U.S. broke off in 1776.

The survey of 1,003 adults was taken earlier this month and found that younger Americans were the least likely to know when America broke away from Great Britain. Only 31 percent of adults younger than 30 said 1776 when asked while 59 percent of residents between 30 and 44 got the question right. Americans 45 to 59 were most likely to know the year, with 75 percent getting it right. 65 percent of men got the answer right while only 52 percent of women did.
Did you catch that? It's bad enough that 42% of all Americans do not know what year we declared our independence, but the percentage of those under 30 who do not know is LESS THAN HALF of those in middle age. Even worse, those under 30 would have been in school much more recently and less likely to have forgotten. This is a stunning indictment of America's educational system.

That 1776 was the year of the Declaration of Independence is a fact that was burned into my memory at such a young age that I can't ever remember NOT knowing it. The idea that seven out of every ten members of the youngest generation of American adults are ignorant of it is not only depressing, but downright scary. If these are the people voting in elections, no wonder our system of government is so thoroughly broken.


  1. Here is a link to the actual poll and how it was conducted.,%202011%20USA%20Marist%20Poll%20Release%20and%20Tables.pdf

    Certainly makes for an interesting read...... oh and out of curiosity i asked my lads what was the year America Declared it's independence from Britain.... and they both got it right.

    But i guess we don't count being not American. LOL! (I was honestly curious).

  2. At first glance, I find this truly depressing. My initial reaction is that your explanation is probably correct, that the educational system has completely abandoned anything that isn't on a standardized math/english test.

    However, as I thought about it, another possible way to look at it came to mind. Perhaps this reflects a younger generation that has basically recognized that America, in its current political form, is a failed experiment. As such, they've chosen not to spend their time learning about things that didn't work.

    Like I said, I suspect the former is a more likely explanation, but I thought the latter was an interesting thought.

  3. @bmerson - that is certainly the optimistic way of looking at it, and I really wish you were right. Unfortunately, my observations of many of the young adults who live around here in the DC area (and we have lots of them), makes it hard for me to believe it.

  4. You would think young people would get this. I mean, they named a basketball team after the year, that should make it easy!

    Maybe the people under 30 are just confusing the year we declared our independence with the year England acknowledged our independence. Of course, considering 1 in 4 Americans don't know England is the country we separated from, that's probably hoping too much.

  5. @ChrisV82 - I forgot about the 76'ers. Great point!