Sunday, June 26, 2011

(UPDATED) Six of ten South Korean young people don't know...

... when the Korean War started, according to a survey reported by Yonhap.

And that's pretty pathetic, especially if they couched the question as, "When did the 'June 25 War' start?" Which the researchers might have, since it's the "6.25전쟁" in Korean.

I'm guessing, though, that they meant the year. Of course, the war started on June 25, 1950, and "ended" with a kinda sorta permanent ceasefire that began on July 27, 1953.

Putting it in perspective however, I submit that most middle school and high school students are kinda stupid. There's a reason why a lot of them are called sophomores (Latin for wise idiots). I'll bet you would get similar results if you asked the average American when Pearl Harbor was attacked? At least a quarter would say, "Who's Pearl Harbor?!"

Not that that excuses anything.

UPDATE:
Actually, it looks like I was right:
In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. After that, it's all a blur. More than half of fourth-graders can't explain why Abraham Lincoln is an important historical figure, two-thirds of eighth-graders can't identify a single advantage that American patriots had over the British in the Revolutionary War, and nearly 4 in 5 high school seniors can't name North Korea's main ally in the Korean War.

That's according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The NAEP report card also scores kids in math, science, reading, writing, geography and economics. But history is their worst subject.

Only 12 percent of high school seniors who took the test last year were rated "proficient" in history.
Just so we're clear, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and saw the Civil War through to preserve the Union, North Korea's Main ally in the Korean War was China, and the American patriots had as a major advantage Paul Revere riding through the countryside ringing bells and shooting off muskets to alert them and to warn the British they wouldn't take their guns. Or something like that.

To be fair, most high schools don't make it past World War II in their history classes, and the teachers just rely on them to watch M*A*S*H, Apollo 13, and Mad Men to make up for what they miss.

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