The Corner

Politics & Policy

Americans are Quite Ignorant about Our History — So?

Most Americans used to get a decent education in our history and civics in high school, but these days few college graduates know much. The courses where they once learned such material have been eliminated or subverted by leftist ideology. Can anything be done?

Back in 2008, Congress passed the American History for Freedom (AHF) program as a part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act — but never appropriated any funds for it. In today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins interviews Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill of the Bipartisan Policy Center about AHF and its current prospects.

Merrill says: 

The AHF program will be a real boon to funding programs and centers that will deepen college and university students’ knowledge of our country. That’s especially important since the number of students majoring in history has plunged since the Great Recession, even as college enrollment has risen. Much of the programming funded may be co-curricular activities, lecture series, and events that will attract students who are not history majors. We want students in STEM fields, in pre-professional majors, and business programs — those who may not have learned much U.S. history and civics in primary and secondary schools — to have another chance to pick up this knowledge on campus.

Congress ought to get entirely out of the field of education, but since it won’t, this program would repair a bit of the damage it has already done.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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