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“I’ve got a full-time job in Congress and then I moonlight as America’s greatest villain, or as the new hope,” she recently told The New Yorker. “I believe health care is a right and people should be paid enough to live. Those are offensive values to them.”
She is far from alone in holding those views. Indeed, stories of millennials and today’s youth having favorable views of socialism are everywhere. There is a reason why.
Americans have been paying for public schools to teach the “everyone should get a blue ribbon just for showing up” views for years. Meanwhile, personal finance and history lessons are missing from many classrooms across the country.
As a father of a twenty-something-year-old in California, I can assure you that finance and history were not at the center of my child’s public-school curriculum. Like most parents across the country, it was up to me to educate her in those areas.
According to data from a personal-finance-education non-profit, only 16.4 percent of American high school students in just 17 states are required to take a personal finance class to graduate. In California, there is no such requirement and only 1 percent of New York high school students have such a requirement.
Is it any wonder why there is $1.5 trillion in student loan debt? Or why, with the talk of student-loan relief by many Democrats, millennials would look so favorably on government as being the answer to any problem?
As for teaching history, according to a 2012 report in Perspectives on History magazine, 88 percent of elementary school teachers at the time considered teaching history a low priority. So, it should be little wonder then why only 12 percent of high school students show proficiency in history, according to a 2014 report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Education experts say teachers aren’t focused on history because students aren’t tested on it during standardized testing.
Obviously, if American public-school students do not study history, they cannot know its lessons and they will certainly repeat its most egregious errors. Socialism, including its destruction of rights and its imposed poverty, like we are seeing in Venezuela today, is one of history’s most egregious errors.
Instead of teaching that truth, my daughter and students like her were and are being taught the sentiment that we should be given things as opposed to working hard for them. History teaches us, however, that socialism “achieves” the equality of poverty, because it destroys the incentives for achievement – and worse. Again, the current unrest in Venezuela shows us that, just as much as any history lesson could.
During my daughter’s years in school, I met few parents who didn’t want their child to achieve. What should bother every parent -- and American -- is that our schools don’t teach the history of achievement and they fail to teach personal finance -- let alone the failures and horrors of socialism.
Of course, worst of all, Americans have been paying for it for decades.
Thomas G. Del Beccaro is the author of "The Divided Era."