Hans Zeiger in the Washington Examiner: “Declining middle school history, civics scores should be a national wake-up call”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress for eighth graders in the subjects of civics and history . The results are a national embarrassment. Among eighth graders, just 22% were proficient in civics, and 13% were proficient in history.
Students’ civics scores, in particular, dropped for the first time since the assessment was initiated 25 years ago, while the scores for history have been falling since 2014. It is clear something has gone terribly wrong in our education system, and our students are not learning what they need to know about American civics and history
This has far-reaching implications that go well beyond the American education system. Student’s inability to demonstrate basic knowledge about the country and the way its government works raises important questions about whether this rising generation of Americans, which includes our future elected leaders, has core civic knowledge, historical perspective, and sense of responsibility required for citizenship in a self-governing society…
Hans Zeiger is the President of the Jack Miller Center, a nationwide network of scholars and teachers who are committed to advancing the core texts and ideas of the American political tradition. In preparation for the 250th anniversary of American independence in 2026, Hans is leading an ambitious campaign to expand the pipeline of scholars who are dedicated to the teaching of America’s founding principles and history, to seed and cultivate university campus centers for the study of the American political tradition, and to expand the teaching of core civic knowledge in America’s K-12 schools.
Hans previously served in state and local government in Washington State, including service as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and ranking member on the House Higher Education Committee. He gained a reputation as a bipartisan collaborator, being named by the National Institute for Civil Discourse as co-recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Award for Civility in State Governance in 2015.
Hans led the Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute from 2012 to 2020. He was an adjunct professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University, a Leadership Fellow of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, and a Rodel Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Hans was also a trustee of the Washington State Historical Society.
Hans’s writings on public policy, history, and civil society have appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, National Review Online, and Seattle Times, among others.
Hans holds a bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College and a master’s in public policy from Pepperdine University. He also studied American politics at Claremont Graduate University. He previously served as a public affairs officer in the Air National Guard. Hans and his wife Erin have two daughters.
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