Don't blame 'No Child'

I have no idea which parallel universe Anita Holmes exists in, but it bears no relation to ours, as evidenced by the absurd assertion in her February 24 letter ["Social studies' sinister omission"] that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 is the cause of the shockingly low level of American children's knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.

Since the late 1960s, knowledge of American history has nose-dived. The landmark 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, declared, "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."

* More than three-quarters of college seniors could not identify James Madison as the Father of the Constitution.

* More than 33 percent were deemed "clueless" about the Constitution's division of powers.

* 25 percent of American adults could not identify even one of the three branches of our government.

Concurrent with this decline was the rise in indoctrinated misperceptions and lies taught in American classrooms, the most prevalent of which is that the Constitution says citizens have a legal right to health care, housing, food, and a retirement pension.

In fact, a 2002 Columbia University Law School survey revealed that 69 percent of Americans believed the Constitution might contain Karl Marx's communist principle, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

These anti-American, anti-freedom perceptions don't become accepted by people by accident. Unless there is a fundamental change in our educational system, all of the abundance and freedoms that Americans now take for granted will be lost.

And on that day, while Thomas Jefferson and James Madison will be spinning in their graves, Karl Marx, Josef Stalin, and their ilk will be laughing their asses off, in theirs.

Jon Sutz
Albemarle County



The bullet points above come from studies conducted in the 17 years between A Nation at Risk and No Child Left Behind. Zealous Hook editing curtailed the author's assertion that massive additional education spending in the wake of A Nation at Risk did not cure American ignorance.