In a recent survey, 78 percent of University of Illinois students surveyed did not know the author of the phrase “of the people, by the people, for the people.” America is losing its memory. We are denying [children] the type of education that imparts love of learning and prepares graduates to become effective workers and informed citizens.
Only one in four American students of higher education can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.*
In 237 years life of America, we have done very little to protect and preserve and nurture the gift of America, the gift that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and other patriots gave us. We submit that every American child by the fifth grade ought to memorize George Washington’s Farewell Address, The U.S. Constitution and John Adams’ Inaugural Address.
The author might mistakenly believe that all American 5th graders already have memorized Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address, and that's why he left them off the list. But most kids move on from elementary school in this country without having memorized the multiplication table.
There's a lot of talk these days about higher education reform, with special emphasis on how little students learn while they are at college. Well, by the time kids have been through 12 years of public education, most of them are pretty well ruined for learning. If we are to have higher education reform, it will have to start with high school reform, and that can't happen without elementary school reform.
*The five freedoms are freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition for redress of grievances.