Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Responds to NAEP Findings

April 29, 2015

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the 2014 eighth grade U.S. history, geography and civics tests information today.  The report uncovered very minimal improvement in scores assessed four years ago in 2010.  In light of these developments, Justice O'Connor responded: 

"Our education system is focused on math and science because we understand that if we fail to prepare kids now for the jobs of the future, we will likely exclude them forever from the workforce and economic prosperity. The numbers released today by the Nation's Report Card on civics and history are truly frightening, and demonstrate that we must put the same emphasis on these subjects that we are putting on math and science. 

Less than a quarter of our eighth graders know what they need to know to be contributing, active members of our democracy. If we do not teach them now, we risk excluding them forever from our democratic process, and we risk leaving them completely ignorant of how our judicial process works unless they meet it face to face.

We cannot ignore this problem. The numbers we just read in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report tell us that there is virtually no chance that young people understand and know the historical context for the current state of our democracy. Without knowing our history, how their country works and how they can take ownership of their civic position, young people face an even greater challenge for changing the course of their collective future."


More information on the test results can be found at the Nation's Report Card