American Historical past Disaster: Most Excessive Schoolers Flunked US Citizenship Take a look at. They’re Now Adults.

Individuals’ lack of historic information is crippling the nation, says Timothy Goeglein, a senior official with the Christian group Concentrate on the Household. 

In his new guide “Towards a Extra Good Union: The Ethical and Cultural Case for Educating the Nice American Story,” Goeglein discusses a survey carried out amongst public highschool college students that exposed that solely 3% may move a U.S. citizenship take a look at. These college students surveyed are adults right this moment, Goeglein explains, including, this implies many Individuals right this moment “are woefully blind to not solely our historical past and tradition, however our system of presidency.”

Goeglein, who previously served as a particular assistant to President George W. Bush, tracks the lack of know-how of American historical past again to the late radical historian Howard Zinn’s affect on American historical past curriculums. Zinn’s “aim was to not train details, however opinions,” he says. 

Goeglein joins “The Every day Sign Podcast” to debate why educating American historical past is so intently linked to the formation of a flourishing society, and what may be achieved to revive accuracy and integrity to historical past lecture rooms throughout the nation. 

Hearken to the podcast under or learn the flippantly edited transcript:

Virginia Allen: It’s my pleasure right this moment to welcome to the present Vice President of Exterior and Authorities Relations for Concentrate on the Household and writer Timothy Goeglein to debate his newest guide “Towards a Extra Good Union.” Mr. Goeglein additionally previously served as a particular assistant to Vice President George W. Bush. Thanks a lot for being right here right this moment.

Tim Goeglein: Virginia, it’s an actual pleasure to be with you. Thanks.

Allen: Now, your newest guide is “Towards a Extra Good Union: The Ethical and Cultural Case for Educating the Nice American Story.” And my goodness, what an acceptable time to be speaking about this. Schooling is a hot-button difficulty proper now and it’s one which must be addressed. Why did you personally determine that you just wished to enter the dialog on this topic and write a guide particularly speaking about our American story and the necessity to train that within the classroom?

Goeglein: Nicely, I really like that query, and right here’s a really temporary reply. There are two causes. The primary is, as one of many vice presidents at Concentrate on the Household, I journey a few third of the time. And over the course of the final two years, actually all over the place I’ve gone, east to west, north to south, I meet a whole bunch of people that say, “I’ve by no means been extra involved about my nation than I’m now.”

Secondly, if they’ve kids or grandchildren, they’ll say, “I’m notably involved in regards to the state and destiny of our nation and tradition.” And the third factor they are saying is, “What can I do? What’s the downside, however what can I do?”

So I made a decision to leap into an countless quantity of analysis and to seek out out, what’s the seedbed of our historic illiteracy? The place is the seedbed of the cultural downside in America?

And I shared within the guide a narrative that I first realized from the historian David McCullough quite a few years in the past once I was working within the White Home. And he shared with me that he had insomnia, real insomnia, as a result of he was so involved in regards to the rising technology of younger Individuals who overwhelmingly have been excellent folks however they knew nothing about our founding and our historical past. And he didn’t need to indict anyone, however he mentioned, “What are we going to do?”

So, “Towards a Extra Good Union,” which is that this new guide, my third guide, is my approach of including to the dialog and providing a instrument within the toolbox for individuals who need to handle not solely our historic insomnia, however to truly do one thing about it. And that’s the aim of “Towards a Extra Good Union.”

Allen: Nicely, I used to be so fascinated within the guide that you just do handle how we received to this place and the truth that this isn’t actually a brand new downside, that faculties have been failing to show historical past effectively for a very long time. And we’ve truly been seeing revisionist historical past in academia for a really very long time. Right?

Goeglein: We’ve certainly. And actually, Virginia, I doc in “Towards a Extra Good Union” this breakdown in historical past and civic training. And I tie it on to lots of the ills that we face as a nation, incivility, unhealthy leaders, cultural decay, cancel tradition.

I truly quote former President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower. He mentioned, “A those that values its privileges above its ideas quickly loses each.” And I assumed, “Wow, that has by no means been extra well timed or topical or related.”

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And so to your level, Virginia, it’s my sense, and I write about this within the guide, that now we have forgotten our ideas whereas exalting our privileges. But it surely appears to me that with out ideas to function a basis, that we’ll finally lose our privileges. And that’s what we’re seeing taking part in out in our tradition each single day and it’s why I wrote “Towards a Extra Good Union.”

It’s not a guide that claims, “Listed below are all the issues.” It’s a guide, as you understand from studying it, that gives lots of the issues, however it addresses these with options or methods to truly handle the challenges that we live via and seeing.

Allen: Which we so want. I believe it’s very straightforward to concentrate on the issue and simply get very discouraged and cease there. However I really like that you’re presenting options, which we’re going to speak about in only a second. However I’d be curious to listen to from you, from the analysis that you’ve achieved for the guide, from your individual private expertise, what’s the view that almost all excessive schoolers, most faculty college students have of America and have of our historical past proper now?

Goeglein: Nicely, let me simply begin out by saying that if there are two overused phrases in our nice nation, it may be stunning and surprised, these two phrases. However the extra that I received into the empirical information, I used to be shocked and surprised, and I may use a number of examples. I do cite lots of them in “Towards a Extra Good Union,” however only for our fantastic dialog, let me share some startling statistics.

There was a survey achieved of public highschool college students, which was drawn from the U.S. citizenship take a look at that each one immigrants should take earlier than they grow to be authorized residents. And keep in mind, that is public highschool college students in the USA. Are you prepared for this?

Allen: I’m prepared.

Goeglein: OK. Just one in 4 may title George Washington as the primary president of the USA. Barely 10% knew that there are 9 justices on the USA Supreme Courtroom. Lower than 30% knew that the president heads the chief department of our authorities. And solely 3%, Virginia, have been capable of reply 6 out of the ten questions, which is the passing rating for the U.S. citizenship take a look at.

So I believe in summation, it’s truthful to say that these college students would now be of their early to mid-30s casting votes, rallying, operating and holding political workplaces. And I say this whilst a limitless optimist, however they’re woefully blind to not solely our historical past and tradition, however our system of presidency.

And I’d wish to say that there are explicit massive, empirical information units the place you say, “My gosh, that’s a dramatic enchancment,” or, “That’s a incremental enchancment,” however it’s not. And if you summarize these essential nationwide research, you discover in the principle that solely about half are capable of earn what you and I’d say is a passing grade in U.S. historical past and civics on probably the most fundamental questions.

Allen: So what’s the results of that, then, in society and in tradition when you could have people which are graduating that may’t move a U.S. citizenship take a look at?

Goeglein: I believe that now we have to say that cancel tradition, erasure tradition, wokeism has had a devastating impression on our nation. And now we have to agree, in the end, with our Founders who consider very strongly that if you wish to have a constitutional republic that’s strong in freedom and liberty, that it’s a must to pay a number of consideration to advantage, it’s a must to pay a number of consideration to character, and it’s a must to type residents who can bear the load of a free society.

And I believe that the results of cancel tradition is now measurable. And I believe now we have to understand that among the most essential, objectively a very powerful, figures in American historical past have been canceled. And what’s the web consequence of a big portion of the following technology of residents and leaders who’re residing in areas the place George Washington has been erased, Thomas Jefferson’s been erased, Abraham Lincoln’s been erased?

And it’s not simply American figures, by the way in which. “Towards a Extra Good Union,” which, by the way in which, the title of my guide is taken from the preamble to the Structure. Figures like Winston Churchill have actually been frontally assaulted on this regard. So I believe these are a really regarding dataset, and so they have actual implications for the way forward for our nation.

Allen: We’re speaking with Timothy Goeglein, writer of “Towards a Extra Good Union.” And I used to be that you just write within the guide about Howard Zinn and the way we will actually look again and level again to him as among the root of actually how we’ve gotten to the place we’re right this moment and why American historical past is being, in some ways, rewritten, this arisal of wokeism and cancel tradition. Why is Howard Zinn’s affect over America so lasting?

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Goeglein: Virginia, I dedicate in “Towards a Extra Good Union” a whole chapter to Howard Zinn. He’s basically the architect of a lot of this data, and he wrote and revealed—and it was very extensively used.

His textbook on American historical past has gone via dozens of printings. And the malevolence of his so-called historical past has had a withering and horrible impact on generations of Individuals, by the way in which, not solely in public faculties, however in personal and parochial faculties. And I assumed it was crucial that individuals turned far more conscious of Howard Zinn, his books, and the horrible impression that he has had.

And I doc this within the guide. His aim was to not train details however opinions. And he wished, he mentioned, “to remodel American historical past.” And his aim, after all, was to denounce Western civilization and to persuade college students to reject it. And by the way in which, he mentioned and wrote that it was marred by the faith of popes, the federal government of kings, the frenzy of cash.

This passes as historical past, and it’s straightforward for all of us simply to low cost somebody like this and to say, “Nicely, after all that’s not one thing or somebody that we’d embrace.” However the truth is, Howard Zinn is probably the most extensively embraced historian of American historical past being taught in our faculties. And I assumed it was crucial, amongst different issues, that we turned significantly better and far more acquainted with him and along with his historical past.

He states that, “America turned concerned in World Warfare II,” for example, and by the way in which, I’m quoting him, “to guard the imperial pursuits of the USA.” Virginia, his model of historical past is now the dominant one being taught in our training system. And I believe it’s crucial that we’re manifestly conscious of the malevolence of his so-called historical past of America.

Allen: You write in “Towards a Extra Good Union” that with the intention to resolve this downside, it’s going to require a proactive strategy somewhat than a reactive one. What precisely do you imply by that?

Goeglein: Nicely, I believe, if I’ll say, Virginia, that that is a very powerful instrument in our toolbox in the case of the way in which ahead. We should stand as much as this lack of educating and propaganda if we’re going to protect America. I truly consider the stakes are that prime.

The author Bari Weiss I quote as a result of I believe what she says is so essential. She says, “Maintaining the spirit of liberty alive in an age of creeping illiberalism is nothing lower than our ethical obligation.” And she or he says, “All the pieces depends upon it.” And I couldn’t agree extra.

I believe now we have to ask ourselves, what do we wish? And I hope that “Towards a Extra Good Union,” this guide, I hope that now we have helped to plant a seed. I believe what we wish is we wish an knowledgeable citizenry that’s geared up with the fitting details. If I needed to summarize the aim of the guide, I believe that’s what it’s.

I’m a Reaganite. I actually admire and cherished Ronald Reagan, and he sounded the alarm when all of this was actually starting to happen when he wrote that an knowledgeable patriotism is what we wish. I believe that’s proper, that we’ve received to do a greater job of getting throughout that the USA of America, this extraordinary nation, is freedom. It’s freedom of speech. It’s freedom of faith. It’s freedom of enterprise.

Our nice Structure, the centerpiece of our nation, has been, as now we have proven within the guide and as we’ve proven on this dialog, actually put within the backseat. Freedom may be very particular, and it’s very uncommon. And as Reagan mentioned, it’s fragile. It truly wants safety.

And I believe the president was proper, that if we overlook what we did, we gained’t know who we’re. And he was warning us of what he known as an eradication of the American reminiscence that would consequence within the erosion of the American spirit. And it appears to me that’s exactly what the stakes are on this complete nationwide debate and dialog that we’re having.

And so, Virginia, it appears to me that we must do the old school factor. We ought to start out with the details. Our second president, John Adams, mentioned, “Information are cussed issues.” I really like that. I believe that that’s the place we’re at.

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Allen: Nicely, I really like that you just talked about Bari Weiss as a result of she is without doubt one of the many voices that you just talked about within the guide that’s actually talking out on this difficulty. And we’ve seen such a wide selection of people in very completely different spheres, from the educational to the journalists to authors, who’re all actually placing out warning alerts and saying, “We have to get up, see what is going on in our training system.” Do you suppose that we’re approaching a tipping level the place lastly Individuals will get up and we’ll see a swing, a stable swing, again to educating American ideas, the Structure, and American founding appropriately?

Goeglein: I’m an inveterate optimist, and it appears to me that the very best days for our nice nation are forward of us. And I believe that we’re definitively at a hinge level of American historical past as a result of the final word aim of cancel tradition and the objects such because the 1619 Undertaking, which I write about at size within the guide, their aim is to destroy America’s foundations via ignorance and disinformation and to basically create a wholly completely different nation that now not embodies the ideas of the Declaration of Independence or the Structure. And so I absolutely and completely agree that we’re at a hinge level.

And nice nations, nice nations, need to determine. And I believe we at the moment are engaged in that call course of. Lots of the establishments that served us so effectively and that have been so dependable for thus lengthy have grow to be as confetti. And I believe that now we have to confess that we’d like sturdy establishments, that the establishments matter, that the Structure is central, foundational, that the phrases are fastened, have a hard and fast which means. And so I believe now we have to go inform a brand new technology the good American story.

And as I say within the subtitle of this guide, it’s not only a cultural query. That’s completely the case, however additionally it is an ethical query. Freedom is price defending. And so, sure, I believe we’re definitively at a chapter of American historical past that’s calling upon our higher selves, and now we have a number of work to do.

Allen: Briefly earlier than we allow you to go, what could be your recommendation to academics listening or mother and father listening who’re pondering, “I need to be part of the answer, I need to train my children—whether or not they’re my very own kids or the kids that I’m educating—American historical past fact, however it sounds slightly overwhelming,” the place do they begin?

Goeglein: Thanks. And that could be a excellent codicil to this glorious dialog. Right here’s what I’d say. I’d say that the battle for the soul of our nation begins in our properties, which can then, hopefully, remodel our faculties and I suppose restore the right educating of American historical past and civics.

And I consider that if now we have a notion that that is going to be successfully addressed by beginning in Silicon Valley or in Wall Road or in a few of our most well-known locations of upper studying, it appears to me that we’re severely mistaken in that evaluation. I believe it has to start on the native degree. I believe it has to start the place we reside. It has to start in our properties, in our communities, in our locations of worship, after which now we have to construct from there. And it appears to me that that’s the place the place restoration and regeneration and renewal can occur.

And as I say and write in “Towards a Extra Good Union,” I’m assured that there are tens of millions of people who find themselves passionate and agree that these first ideas are the factor, and I believe it’s time to buckle up and transfer onward.

Allen: Timothy Goeglein, the writer of “Towards a Extra Good Union: The Ethical and Cultural Case for Educating the Nice American Story.” You possibly can choose up your copy right this moment. You possibly can order it on Amazon. Mr. Goeglein, thanks a lot to your time right this moment.

Goeglein: Virginia, thanks a lot. Be of fine cheer.

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