US teens know little history and less literature, says a study out today. Only 52% of 17-year-olds could name the theme of George Orwell's 1984, and 43% knew when the Civil War was fought. Students faired far better on topics that schools cover, however, such as Pearl Harbor and Martin Luther King Jr., USA Today reports.
"What a better thing it would be if people also had the Civil War part and the civil rights part, and the Harriet Tubman part and the Uncle Tom's Cabin part," said an education think tank source. Some educators counter that high school students are taking college-level history and literature courses in record numbers. "Not all is woe in American education," said a member of the College Board.