21 September, 2011 21:46

"While interest in the Constitution is growing, few Americans actually know much about what it says. And that has serious downsides. It means that many Americans don’t really understand the rights the Constitution protects or the powers it grants. For example, in 2009, Oklahoma tested its high school students on their knowledge of civics — including basic ideas about the U.S. Constitution. They failed miserably. Only 28% knew that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and just 26% identified the Bill of Rights correctly. American adults — including those serving in politics — fare no better when it comes to their knowledge of the Constitution. In early 2011, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute surveyed adults and college students to assess their civic knowledge. They discovered that ordinary Americans actually scored higher on their knowledge of the Constitution than the elected officials surveyed. Citizens who do not understand their rights — or the limitations of government — can neither defend those rights nor participate meaningfully in the political process." columnist Rebecca Hagelin

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