When the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist Poll asked who America declared its independence from 77% of Americans answered Great Britain, but 23% chose other countries including, France, Mexico, Germany, and Japan.
According to the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist Poll, “A notable proportion of Americans may need to brush up on their U.S. history. While 77% of residents nationally correctly cite Great Britain as the country from which the United States declared its independence, nearly one in four, 23%, either mention another country, 8%, or are unsure, 15%.”
It would be easy, and wrong to blame this lack of knowledge on the media or political partisanship. The answer can be found in the deeper and more sinister issues of education and income inequality.
Marist continued, “Education and income make a difference. Nearly nine in ten Americans with a college education or income above $50,000 are able to identify Great Britain as the country from which the United States won its liberty.”
Education and income matter more than age, race, political partisanship, or any other factor. The answer to a creating a better-informed electorate is to make sure that all Americans have access to the same quality of education, and that all students are supported in their educational endeavors.
Education is a pathway to economic opportunity. When the public education system is attacked, it weakens the knowledge base of an entire society, and a less educated and ill informed country is the perfect climate for income inequality to flourish.