by J. Martin Rochester
The February 3 USA Today reports on a study done by Sam Wineburg of Stanford University that will be appearing in the March issue of the Journal of American History. The study validates what I had to say in my article on “The Training of Idiots” in Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong? published by the Fordham Foundation. The top ten list of “the most famous Americans in US history,” compiled based on a survey of thousands of American high school students (who were told only to exclude presidents) is a sad commentary on the grotesque triumph of the PC (and celeb) culture in our schools and the larger society.
Rosa Parks #2? Harriet Tubman #3? Amelia Earhart? Oprah? Marilyn Monroe? I suppose we should be thankful that Paris Hilton and Britney Spears did not make the list! I am surprised that the Grimke Sisters did not come in at #3 and #4. I can think of no better evidence of how our k-12 social studies educators, thanks to the NCSS and other such organizations, have failed to give kids a sound, accurate, serious KNOWLEDGE of American history as opposed to racial and gender cheerleading.