I usually take news stories about what US high school students know or don’t know with a grain of salt. But the following AP story is a bit disturbing. (And just a bit ironic given that we’re spending billions of dollars and thousands of lives in Iraq to “teach” citizens of that country the meaning of democracy.)

Is there a good way to balance the teaching of historical fact (memorizing dates, the Bill of Rights, important people, etc) with the teaching of the process of actually doing history?

Were we just like this? Or are we not doing enough to instill democractic values in our students?

First Amendment No Big Deal, Students Say

“WASHINGTON (AP) – The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech.

It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released Monday.

The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly.

Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.”