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OUR CIVIC IGNORANCE: A STUNNING FAILURE TO EDUCATE: It found a stunning ignorance:
ncpa.org ^ | January 18, 2007

Posted on 01/18/2007 8:05:35 AM PST by InvisibleChurch

Not only do American high schools fail to educate students about U.S. history and civics, but by the time many students finish college they know even less. That's the conclusion of the largest statistically valid survey ever conducted to determine what colleges and universities are teaching their students about America's history and institutions.

That study, conducted for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute by the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy, surveyed 14,094 college freshmen and seniors at 50 U.S. colleges and universities from Massachusetts to California. It found a stunning ignorance:

Seniors scored an average of 53.2 on the 60-question civics test. More than half of college seniors could not identify the correct century in which the Jamestown colony was founded or name the battle that ended the American Revolution. More than half also did not know that the Bill of Rights forbids the federal government from establishing a national religion. These are college seniors. Among the institutions whose students were surveyed: Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Michigan.

In a republic, civic education is a fundamental necessity. If even our elite college graduates have no idea what the First Amendment does, the country is in trouble, says the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Source: Editorial, "Our civic ignorance: A stunning failure to educate," New Hampshire Union Leader, January 16, 2007.

For text:

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Our+civic+ignorance%

For more on Government Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=33


TOPICS: News/Current Events
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1 posted on 01/18/2007 8:05:36 AM PST by InvisibleChurch
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To: InvisibleChurch

FNC reported a few days ago that while most college students knew who Martin Luther King was, they thought he ended slavery!!

No wonder the left wants to keep our failing schools intact. It wins them votes year after year.


2 posted on 01/18/2007 8:06:41 AM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they captured or killed.)
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To: InvisibleChurch
I want to take the test but did not see it at the link. Anybody know where I could find it?
3 posted on 01/18/2007 8:09:27 AM PST by msnimje (You simply cannot be Christian and Pro-Abortion.)
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To: Peach
Spend some time talking with college freshmen - the ones from public high schools. The ignorance is stunning, or maybe frightening is the better word.
4 posted on 01/18/2007 8:10:13 AM PST by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Qué?


5 posted on 01/18/2007 8:10:30 AM PST by VU4G10 (Have You Forgotten?)
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To: AD from SpringBay

The percentage of college students who thought MLK ended slavery was 80-something percent. I couldn't even speak for about 5 minutes after that report.


6 posted on 01/18/2007 8:12:51 AM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they captured or killed.)
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To: Peach
FNC reported a few days ago that while most college students knew who Martin Luther King was, they thought he ended slavery!!

Wasn't that in the chapter before Gore invented the internet?

Sadly, I hadn't learned much until I got into genealogy many years after college. It didn't click until I realized those old men in the history books had been real live people. Of course having nothing but coaches teach history didn't help either.

7 posted on 01/18/2007 8:13:08 AM PST by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: InvisibleChurch

But I was taught that the USA was a democracy!

A failed democracy, and it will take radical democratic reform to return us to the democracy promised to us in the Constitution!

My civics prof was wrong?


8 posted on 01/18/2007 8:13:53 AM PST by DBrow
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To: InvisibleChurch

Interesting but what was the test these "college?" students took?


9 posted on 01/18/2007 8:17:28 AM PST by svcw (There is no plan B.)
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To: Peach

"The percentage of college students who thought MLK ended slavery was 80-something percent."

And the remaining 20% probably guessed Lincoln.


10 posted on 01/18/2007 8:18:52 AM PST by DBrow
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To: InvisibleChurch
If even our elite college graduates have no idea what the First Amendment does, the country is in trouble, says the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Hell, most of our elite appellate court judges (at least those appointed by Carter, Ford, and Clinton) have no idea what the First Amendment does.

11 posted on 01/18/2007 8:20:02 AM PST by VRWCmember (Everyone is entitled to my opinion.)
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To: AD from SpringBay
There is no excuse for it. After WWII we developed the finest educational system in the world. The liberals saw that as a danger to them and quickly tore it down. Moral teachings were thrown out because that was the cornerstone of the success. Now students don't have enough sense of right and wrong, to know their being cheated out of what they deserve, a proper education. Meanwhile the system finds new ways to squirt Novocaine into learning center of their brains.
12 posted on 01/18/2007 8:20:50 AM PST by oyez (T)
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To: Peach

>FNC reported a few days ago that while most college students knew who Martin Luther King was, they thought he ended slavery!! <

If you wish to truly befuddle young skulls full of mush, ask them, "Who was Martin Luther and what did he Reform?".

I'll bet they say, he reformed civil rights (chuckle).


13 posted on 01/18/2007 8:25:28 AM PST by Darnright
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: VRWCmember
Hell, most of our elite appellate court judges (at least those appointed by Carter, Ford, and Clinton) have no idea what the First Amendment does.

And George Bush Senior, has no idea at all what the 5th Amendment was about, when he subjected the cops in the Rodney King case to DOUBLE JEPORDEY. Unless you happen to be from the school that thinks that the framers of the Constitution intended for every crime to be defined multiple ways, to bypass the intention of the prevention, of Double Jeopardy.

15 posted on 01/18/2007 8:26:30 AM PST by Mark was here (You are guilty of something when you do it, proving your guilt is something else.)
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To: InvisibleChurch

I haven't the slightest clue about what century in which the Jamestown colony was founded nor the name of the battle that ended the American Revolution. My lack of knowledge of either fact has not seemed to influence my productivity in the last six decades. But I do know this about the American Revolution: we won. To me, the names and dates are unimportant. It is the ideals and goals that count. History classes, in my opinion, focus too much on the trivial details, and not enough on the concepts and fundamentals of success.


16 posted on 01/18/2007 8:28:05 AM PST by norwaypinesavage
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To: InvisibleChurch

53.2 out of 60 is almost 87%... how is that a "stunning failure"? If it were 35.2, I'd understand the article's tone. Heck, I was stunned that the scores were so high.


17 posted on 01/18/2007 8:28:22 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: oyez

No excuses, plenty of reasons. It's not just Civics. I teach at a community college. In my Composition II course (for many of them the final writing course they'll ever take in their lives) I give them a document called 'Need to Knows..." This document outlines twenty basics of writing (sentence fragments, apostrophes, run spell checker, etc...). I tell them that teachers have been trying to teach them these things since third grade and if they don't know it's their fault and that they need to go out, on their own, and fill in the gaps in their knowledge. There are always students who literally wail and gnash their teeth at the thought that something is their fault. Then there are students (college Sophomores) who whine and tell me things like grammar are stupid and and will never be used in 'real' life. I'd say fifty percent of the students are ok with it (not that they know the information, but they don't buck at the notions) - the others are adamantly against it and many drop the course.


18 posted on 01/18/2007 8:29:54 AM PST by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: Teacher317

Or did they mean 53.2% of the 60 questions, meaning the average student got just under 32 correct?

(Maybe the writers should check on the communication skills of Journalism School majors.)


19 posted on 01/18/2007 8:30:19 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: InvisibleChurch

We have strayed so far from what our Forefathers gave us that I think they would condemn most of what we've done in the past 100 years (and especially they'd condemn our sham of a court system where dishonest DAs and judges will chuck people into prison they ought to leave alone and let real criminals get off light). I also think if any of the Forefathers were around and one ran for president that nobody would vote for them. Not even republicans, not after hearing what they had to say (I think republicans would vote for them more than dems would, but the turn out in favor would be pretty dismal in both camps).


20 posted on 01/18/2007 8:30:35 AM PST by JamesP81 (If you have to ask permission from Uncle Sam, then it's not a right)
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To: norwaypinesavage

1. Seventeenth (1607 - this year is the four hundredth anniversary).
2. Yorktown.

Yes, names and dates are not the end all and be all, and it's too bad that history is taught that way. When done right, there's nothing more interesting. But the details come in handy, and now you have two that you were missing.


21 posted on 01/18/2007 8:30:47 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: mtbopfuyn
old men in the history books had been real live people.

They were quite radical for their time. What a legacy for our times. The new system finds it too hard to relate to them. First of all most were men and the other is they didn't have the inspiration of Karl Marx.

22 posted on 01/18/2007 8:31:13 AM PST by oyez (T)
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To: Teacher317

That's 53.2 PERCENT out of a 60-question test...more like 31-32 questions correct on average.


23 posted on 01/18/2007 8:31:15 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: AD from SpringBay

That's very useful! Now, could you teach that topic here on FR? Many posters could use it.


24 posted on 01/18/2007 8:32:08 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: msnimje; svcw; stainlessbanner
You might find this interesting:

Antebellum America Historical Literacy Test


1. Just before the Revolutionary War began, the city of Charleston, SC had the greatest population of slaves in the colonies. The city that had the next largest population of slaves was:

a. Mobile

b. New Orleans

c. New York


2. The first building at this University was built with slave labor:

a. College of Charleston

b. Brown University

c. William and Mary


3. South Carolina voted to end the importation of slaves into the state in:

a. 1787

b. 1861

c. 1866


4. In 1858 this was said, “There is a physical difference between whites and blacks that prohibits social and political equality.” Who said it?

a. Jefferson Davis

b. Robert E. Lee

c. Abraham Lincoln


5. Prior to the war, the state whose shippers transported more slaves than any other state was

a. South Carolina

b. Maryland

c. Rhode Island


6. The flag of the Confederacy flew over slaves ships:

a. In the Caribbean

b. Throughout the Eastern seaboard

c. Nowhere


7. In January of 1861, upon hearing the news that several Southern states had seceded from the Union, the Mayor of this town suggested that they also secede;

a. New York

b. Dallas

c. Nashville


8. In April of 1861, just hours before Confederate artillery began to fire on Fort Sumter, the Confederate Government, and the citizens of Charleston knew that United States Naval Warships were:

a. Waiting in New York harbor

b. Steaming for Charleston harbor

c. Lying outside and firing on a ship entering Charleston Harbor.


9. Before Lincoln had ordered the United States Navy to Charleston, he had been advised by most in his cabinet and key politicians from Virginia to not send warships. When pressed why he was doing so, he said to one:

a. “What would happen to the Negroes?”

b. “The Europeans will invade us”.

c. “What would become of my tariff?”


10. At the time that Abraham Lincoln first took office in 1861, he stated in his first inaugural speech that he supported an Amendment to the United States Constitution that

a. Would make slavery illegal in all the states

b. Would make slavery legal in all the states

c. Would free all slaves


11. In 1861, the United States Congress stated that the War Between the States

a. Was being waged to end slavery

b. Was not being waged to end slavery

c. Was being waged to ensure equality


12. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in

a. The South

b. The North

c. All the states
25 posted on 01/18/2007 8:34:24 AM PST by PeaRidge
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To: DBrow
A failed democracy, and it will take radical democratic reform to return us to the democracy republic promised to us in the Constitution!

I don't know about this democracy stuff, but I'd like to see us return to the principles of a republic.
26 posted on 01/18/2007 8:34:31 AM PST by JamesP81 (If you have to ask permission from Uncle Sam, then it's not a right)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Thanks for Cal & Hob... our paper dropped it,(figures)
Hey,I say to young folk, join the Marines and stay away from the eggheads. Most folks in "higher" learning are over-educated dopes that don't have the brains to unplug a toilet.
And, after a stint in the Amercan Armed Service go back to school and go after the eggheads...(been there done that)


27 posted on 01/18/2007 8:35:33 AM PST by rusureitflies? (OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD! There, I said it. Prove me wrong.)
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To: Teacher317
53.2 out of 60 is almost 87%.

I'd guess they probably scored 53.2% on a 60 question test (which means they probably, on average, got 29-31 questions wrong) but I agree, that phrase was poorly written and misleading.
28 posted on 01/18/2007 8:37:08 AM PST by JamesP81 (If you have to ask permission from Uncle Sam, then it's not a right)
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To: InvisibleChurch

If ignorance were a crime, state capitol buildings would be maximum security prisons and Washington D.C. and Hollywood would be penal colonies.


29 posted on 01/18/2007 8:37:58 AM PST by The Great RJ ("Mir we bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: norwaypinesavage
History classes, in my opinion, focus too much on the trivial details, and not enough on the concepts and fundamentals of success.

This is one reason why you will remain a savage.

30 posted on 01/18/2007 8:38:48 AM PST by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: rusureitflies?

Are you sure your paper dropped Calvin and Hobbs? The strip's creator discontinued it himself, several years ago. It was one of the best ever. :)


31 posted on 01/18/2007 8:40:03 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: PeaRidge

Great test. I would expect most public educated youth today to receive a zero or at most get just one right on that test. Their educators and professors would all get zeroes


32 posted on 01/18/2007 8:40:21 AM PST by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: linda_22003

.... that's "Hobbes". My fingers are FREEZING this morning.


33 posted on 01/18/2007 8:41:30 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: billbears

I think that is why post 16 is so enlightening. A prime example of someone who thinks ignorance does not mask the truth, and fails to understand why knowledge is so important.


34 posted on 01/18/2007 8:43:14 AM PST by PeaRidge
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To: Peach

Maybe we need to add an American History test to the No Child Left Behind. Then cut off federal funds to schools that fail th achieve a passing grade. Also, the same for colleges and universities. They should lose their certification.


35 posted on 01/18/2007 8:44:08 AM PST by Eva
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To: Teacher317
53.2 out of 60 is almost 87%... how is that a "stunning failure"?

Just curious, but if you give a 60 question test to your students and you grade the test, what do you post as the "score" on the test -- the number of questions answered correctly or the percentage answered correctly? The article did not state the scored 53.2 out of 60; it stated they scored 53.2 on a 60-question test. When you score 53.2 on a 60-question test, or on a 30-question test, or on a 100-question test, a 53.2 score still amounts to a 53.2 score and a failing grade.

36 posted on 01/18/2007 8:45:09 AM PST by VRWCmember (Everyone is entitled to my opinion.)
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To: Teacher317

I would think, since the article was worded in this manner:"students scored 53.2" on a 60 question test that they meant 53.2 out of 100 points, which is a pretty piss poor showing for college students or ever high school, considering when I graduated high school we were required to pass a civics exam or we didn't graduate. This held true for the eight grade also, pass civics or don't advance to high school, of course that was back in the 1950s when we still valued the constitution and wanted the country to remain a Republic, before we let the communists gain power.


37 posted on 01/18/2007 8:45:12 AM PST by calex59
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To: InvisibleChurch
[ Not only do American high schools fail to educate students about U.S. history and civics, but by the time many students finish college they know even less. ]

BRILLIANT... the dumbing down of America is brilliant..

American students are almost as clueless as 10 to 30 million or MORE.. Legal and Illegal ALIENS (some of whom ARE) registered to VOTE democrat..

Worse almost all federal republican officials could CARE LESS..
Massive Voter fraud is a non issue in the RNC...
Wonder how many legal and illegal aliens VOTED in the 2006 elections.. Amazing that the civicly ignorant Americans(MOST americans) have no idea that you MUST be a citizen to vote..

Its a felony for a LEGAL or ILLEGAL alien to VOTE..
And most repubicans could care less..

The odds of a legal or illegal alien voting republican is extremely remote...

38 posted on 01/18/2007 8:46:41 AM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
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To: norwaypinesavage; linda_22003
I haven't the slightest clue about what century in which the Jamestown colony was founded nor the name of the battle that ended the American Revolution.

But isn't it nice that my great...dad came over and helped settle Jamestowne or most of us wouldn't be here today.

39 posted on 01/18/2007 8:48:37 AM PST by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: PeaRidge

Great quiz. Got the answers somewhere? I'd like to see how I did.


40 posted on 01/18/2007 8:50:30 AM PST by RKV ( He who has the guns, makes the rules.)
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To: billbears

Which question would you think the posters here would answer incorrectly most often?


41 posted on 01/18/2007 8:50:43 AM PST by PeaRidge
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To: InvisibleChurch

42 posted on 01/18/2007 8:50:55 AM PST by Gritty (Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society-John Dewey)
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To: RKV

Sure. Post your choices and the answers will be marked and sent confidentially (in order to preserve the fun for others).


43 posted on 01/18/2007 8:52:07 AM PST by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge

4 or 11. I think some though deep down may know the answer but not want to admit it.


44 posted on 01/18/2007 8:59:05 AM PST by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: AD from SpringBay
Sounds like my old English II course. My professor was trying to lead a "phonetically challenged" class filled with minority jocks who either slept through class or disrupted ...by talking constantly. None were interested in the course content but had to sit through it to stay on their team.

One morning as I sat down, one of the jocks tapped me on the shoulder and "told" me to give him my prep sheets for the upcoming test. I unleashed a loud "Mama" lecture on him for 3 minutes...concerning the importance of class participation. He hunkered down in his seat saying "Yes'm, Yes'm". After class the Prof said, "Can I take you to ALL my classes?" *chuckle*

45 posted on 01/18/2007 8:59:51 AM PST by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: PeaRidge

Great questions. I wonder how many freepers can pass this test.


46 posted on 01/18/2007 9:08:07 AM PST by freedomfiter2 ( "if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." de Tocqueville)
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To: billbears

"I would expect most public educated youth today to receive a zero or at most get just one right on that test."

But grades don't matter. As long as the child tried he will have high self esteem. That's what really matters, isn't it? And diversity. High self esteem and diversity. Those things are what really matter, right? Those white people in the history books were all racists, anyway. Nothing worse than that! Oh...they hated gays, too! We shouldn't study history because those evil white men will make us feel bad about ourselves, which would give us low self esteem. How counterproductive to a modern education! We should burn all history books before someone becomes offended by one of them. /libspeak


47 posted on 01/18/2007 9:09:37 AM PST by bk1000 (A clear conscience is a sure sign of a poor memory)
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To: PeaRidge

Do you also write Zogby push polling questionaires?


48 posted on 01/18/2007 9:22:14 AM PST by LexBaird (98% satisfaction guaranteed. There's just no pleasing some people.)
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To: InvisibleChurch

It may be a "stunning failure to educate", but it's an equally stunning success at stifling intellectual curiosity and conditioning children to accept arbitrary authority, which are the primary functions of public schools.


49 posted on 01/18/2007 9:31:53 AM PST by headsonpikes (Genocide is the highest sacrament of socialism.)
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To: calex59

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1768449/posts

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070116/ap_on_el_pr/president_popular_vote
"Popular Vote Movement Makes Headway"

Now they're trying to junk the electoral college. So much
for the Republic.

From the article:

[However, Jacobs said dissatisfaction with the Electoral College system is growing, even in states that may benefit from the current setup.

A lot of Americans "don't like the Electoral College system. They find it to be out of step with expectations about democracy, expectations that our founding fathers did not necessarily share," he said.

"I think time has seen an evolution of a different way of seeing things, a different norm, in which we expect the president to be popularly elected." ]


50 posted on 01/18/2007 9:32:56 AM PST by khnyny
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