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Nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t identify the three branches of government

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Unread 09.21.14, 10:55 PM
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Nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t identify the three branches of government

09.21.14 09:01 PM

An important midterm election is just around the corner, so it’s fortunate that the electorate is boning up on civics this year in order to make informed choices about the nation’s future.

What? What’s that, you say? Oh. Wrong electorate. Turns out, in this country, most of us know nothing about our Constitution — or how it establishes the divisions of our national government.

A survey released last week by the Annenberg Public Policy Center*found that only 36 percent of Americans could name all three branches of government, and that 35 percent “could not name a single one.”

And it’s all downhill from there.

“Just over a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto,” the survey also found, along with the revelation that 20 percent believe there exists a legal intermixing between the branches of government. “One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration,” Annenberg reports.

Putting it gently, Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggested revisiting the way American schools teach civics.

“Although surveys reflect disapproval of the way Congress, the President and the Supreme Court are conducting their affairs, the Annenberg survey demonstrates that many know surprisingly little about these branches of government,” she wrote. “This survey offers dramatic evidence of the need for more and better civics education.”

As if on cue, Republican Arizona state Rep. Steve Montenegro last week proposed strengthening his state’s graduation requirements to include a 100-question civics test — the same one required of applicants for U.S. naturalization.

“Every single student in Arizona and across the United States of America should have basic knowledge and understanding of American government,” Montenegro explained at a press conference last Wednesday.

If you’re among those who don’t know the three branches of government, you’re off the hook on the 100-question civics test.*But it might not hurt to enter some remedial civics self-education. If you’re that far behind, maybe you should start here.

Better yet, go to the source.

The post Nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t identify the three branches of government appeared first on Personal Liberty.

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