Who is the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives? Who is the current president of France? What is the National Unemployment Rate? What are the chances that you aren’t even reading this article? Probably very high.
These are questions from a simple 10 question quiz (besides the last) given by the Pew Research Center in order to gauge the knowledge on current events of individuals sampled to take it. The results are rather disheartening.
Only 10% of those who took the quiz got all 10 questions right, 10% got 0-1 questions right, 40% got 2-5 questions right, and 40% got 6-9 questions right. The fact is simple: the cause of this lack of knowledge is due both to the lack of interest in current events and the continual decline of those who keep up with the news.
Current events are a very important aspect of an individual’s knowledge. Although awareness improves with age, the number of people who keep up with news is on the decline. There’s no noticeable difference between political parties, gender, or ethnicity. As a whole, the spread of ignorance is relatively well-balanced within America.
The lack of knowledge about current events raises some concerning implications. Should we allow Americans to vote on all issues, even if they have a lack a sufficient background on a particular topic? Is there a core problem with our education system in raising current event awareness in our country? How important are current events in relation to fundamental topics such as the sciences, mathematics, or history? Even in our school, we only learn about American government in the 12th grade. Although news across all forms (paper, television, radio, and online) is rapidly expanding, it seemingly still isn’t reaching enough audiences.
Current events are without a doubt important. At all stages of education, knowledge of current events is important to applying classroom learning into the world around us. Not to mention, apt knowledge of current events is almost a mandatory qualification when trying to enter the job market, especially jobs in the public sphere. Regardless, it’s definitely time for some reform in how we educate our students. Hopefully then, will we all be able to ace Pew’s quiz.
Photo from bgfons.com