Poll Finds Strong Majority of Massachusetts Residents Support Restoring U.S. History MCAS Graduation Requirement

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

Read media coverage in Boston 25. State House News Service, and the Boston Herald.

BOSTON – Sixty-two percent of Massachusetts residents support restoring passage of a U.S. history test as a public high school graduation requirement, according to a poll of Massachusetts residents’ attitudes toward education policy commissioned by Pioneer Institute and conducted by the Emerson College Polling Center.

In 2009, the commissioner and state Board of Elementary Education agreed to postpone implementation of the U.S. history graduation requirement, which had been mandated by the Commonwealth’s 1993 Education Reform Act.  In a 2018 poll commissioned by Pioneer, 68 percent of parents supported restoring the graduation requirement.

“State residents know that suspending the history graduation requirement has relegated history and social studies to second-class status in the Commonwealth’s public schools,” said Pioneer’s Director of School Reform Jamie Gass.  “And they’re not happy about it.”

The new poll also found that 80 percent of residents believe Massachusetts public school students should study our nation’s founding and history, compared to 7 percent who disagree.  Among registered voters, the margin increased to 91-6.

When asked to rate the quality of K-12 public schools in Massachusetts on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the lowest quality and 5 being the highest, 43 percent gave the schools a 4 or 5, while 20 percent rated them a 1 or 2.

Members of households without children 18 or younger were more likely to have a high opinion of the schools.  Forty-five percent of them gave them a 4 or 5, with only 18 percent rating them a 1 or 2.  Among households with school-age children, the margin was 37 percent to 23 percent.

Looking at the Commonwealth more generally, 42 percent of respondents said they think Massachusetts is moving in the right direction, while 32 percent think it’s on the wrong track.  The results varied dramatically by party, with 66 percent of Democrats saying the Commonwealth is moving in the right direction, compared to just 21 percent of Republicans.

The poll has a sample size of 1,000 with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.  It was conducted between November 11 and November 14.

“Americans’ ignorance of history and their institutions is a regular punch line on the late-night comedy shows,” said Jim Stergios, Pioneer’s executive director. “The current state of political and public debate in our country is a direct result of a disinvestment and lack of attention to these topics in school.”

Get Updates On Our US History Initiative

About Pioneer

Mission
Pioneer Institute develops and communicates dynamic ideas that advance prosperity and a vibrant civic life in Massachusetts and beyond.

Vision
Success for Pioneer is when the citizens of our state and nation prosper and our society thrives because we enjoy world-class options in education, healthcare, transportation and economic opportunity, and when our government is limited, accountable and transparent.

Values
Pioneer believes that America is at its best when our citizenry is well-educated, committed to liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise, and both willing and able to test their beliefs based on facts and the free exchange of ideas.

Related Content:

Pulitzer Winner Prof. David Garrow on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

/
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/chtbl.com/track/G45992/mp3.ricochet.com/2023/01/TLC_DavidGarrow.mp3 This…

Poll Finds Strong Majority of Massachusetts Residents Support Restoring U.S. History MCAS Graduation Requirement

Sixty-two percent of Massachusetts residents support restoring passage of a U.S. history test as a public high school graduation requirement, according to a poll of Massachusetts residents’ attitudes toward education policy commissioned by Pioneer Institute and conducted by the Emerson College Polling Center.

Award Winner Peter Cozzens on Tecumseh, the Indian Wars & the American West

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Peter Cozzens, the award-winning author of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West. As National Native American Heritage Month winds down, Mr. Cozzens reviews what our schoolchildren should know about Native Peoples’ innumerable contributions and heart-wrenching experiences.

Award-Winner Nathaniel Philbrick on the Mayflower and the First Thanksgiving

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Nathaniel Philbrick, historian, winner of the National Book Award, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and author of Mayflower: Voyage, Community, and War. Mr. Philbrick shares what we should know about the actual historical events of the First Thanksgiving in 1621.

Stanford’s Pulitzer-Winning Prof. Jack Rakove on James Madison, The Federalist Papers, & U.S. Constitutionalism

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Dr. Jack Rakove, Coe Professor of History and American Studies and Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Stanford University, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution. Professor Rakove reviews the biography of James Madison, often called the "Father of the Constitution," and the influence of classical and Enlightenment learning on his farsighted political thought and leadership.

NYT Best Seller Laurence Bergreen on 530th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus Discovering the New World

On this special Columbus Day edition of “The Learning Curve," guest host Pioneer Institute's Mary Z. Connaughton talks with Laurence Bergreen, a prize-winning biographer, historian, chronicler of exploration, and the author of Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504. Mr. Bergreen discusses what people should know about the life, career, and myths around Christopher Columbus, the courageous, ruthless, and complicated explorer and navigator, on the 530th anniversary of his history-changing and ever-controversial discovery of the New World.

Oxford’s Prof. Timothy Garton Ash on Poland’s Solidarity, Lech Walesa, & Cold War Lessons for Ukraine

https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/chtbl.com/track/G45992/mp3.ricochet.com/2022/09/TheLearningCurve_TimothyGartonAsh.mp3

UVA’s Two-Time Pulitzer Winner Prof. Alan Taylor on Thomas Jefferson & Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Alan Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of the book, Thomas Jefferson's Education. Professor Taylor shares some highlights of Jefferson’s career, his views on the importance of primary and higher public education in serving the political aspirations of his state and region, and Jefferson's role as the architect of the University of Virginia,

William & Mary’s Dr. Charles Hobson on Chief Justice John Marshall, SCOTUS, & Judicial Review

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Charles Hobson, a retired resident scholar at the William & Mary Law School, 26-year editor of The Papers of John Marshall, and author of The Great Chief Justice: John Marshall and the Rule of Law. Dr. Hobson shares what students should know about the longest-serving, most important chief justice in the history of the Supreme Court, and his influence on our understanding of the U.S. Constitution.

NYU Law Prof. Richard Epstein on the Founders’ Constitution & Federalism

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Richard Epstein, the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, and author of The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government. He describes the influence of 17th and 18th-century English ideas on our Founding Fathers’ views of ordered liberty and self-government.

Jean Strouse on J.P. Morgan & the Rise of American Finance

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Jean Strouse, author of the award-winning biography of J.P. Morgan, Morgan: American Financier. They discuss why the general public and students alike should know more about the life and accomplishments of the controversial, late 19th- and early 20th-century American banker.

Mt. Holyoke’s Pulitzer-Winning Prof. Joseph Ellis on John Adams & American Independence

This Fourth of July week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Joseph Ellis, Professor Emeritus of History at Mount Holyoke College and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.