While our technology may be getting smarter, some believe humans are getting dumber. Writing for The Huffington Post, Macrina Cooper-White reported last week that researchers say people who live in the Western World have lost 14 I.Q. points on average since the Victorian Age.
That’s very disturbing. Equally disturbing, however, is the number of Americans who have no idea what the Victorian Age was. As we’ve noted in this space before, Americans are notoriously ignorant when it comes to knowing history.
We are also bad at explaining how our government works.
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has conducted a number of studies over the years and has found most Americans really stink at civics. And it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, most cannot pass a simple civics exam ISI has developed for its studies.
You can test your knowledge of American history and civics by taking the ISI quiz online at www.americancivicliteracy.org. But be warned: The average score for all Americans taking the test was 49 percent. Even college educators scored 55 percent.
One simple reason why Americans do so poorly in civics is that it is not being taught as it should be in public schools. Meanwhile, past ISI reports have found that “reading about history and current events in books, magazines and newspapers — and talking about these subjects with family and friends — increases a respondent’s civic literacy.”
So increase your civic literacy by taking time today to read up on American history and current events. You might not be the smartest person in the room, but you can be the most informed.