From the Opinion Journal comes this very encouraging news: 79% of America’s twelfth graders passed the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ (NAEP) economics literacy test.
Pop quiz. Which has been most important in reducing poverty over time: a) taxes, b) economic growth, c) international trade, or d) government regulation?
We know what our readers would say. But lest you think American young people are slouching toward serfdom, you’ll be pleased to know that 53% of U.S. high school seniors also answered “b.” The latest version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) asked this question, among others on economics, and the results will not please members of the Socialist International, or for that matter the Senate Finance Committee.
Since its founding in 1969, the NAEP has become something of an annual exercise in American educational masochism. Last year, only 54% of students met NAEP’s “basic” standard–the equivalent of a passing grade–on the science test. The previous year tested history; a mere 47% passed. But when knowledge of economics was tested this year, well, let’s just say the supply curve shifted. NAEP reported this week that 79% of twelfth graders passed this first-ever national economics test. Holy Hayek.
Impressive, indeed, especially since, and I’m guessing here, that the majority of the students assessed were public school kids. This means that the kids in public schools are absorbing free market economic principles even though they are being educated in a educational system that is socialistic in its structure.
Update: If the Democratic presidential nominees took this same test, they wouldn’t do nearly as well. Check out Jim Addison’s piece from earlier today in which he addresses the Democrats answers to questions about economics. They’ll leave you scratching your head.