I like money, I like Thomas Jefferson, and I readily stipulate that the minting of currency is a legitimate role of government.

The new Jefferson Dollar will be happily received by this blogger – even if, like every other dollar coin, it will be rejected by the American people until paper greenbacks are finally removed from circulation.

But here’s my problem:

WASHINGTON – Most folks can correctly name George Washington as the nation’s first president. After that, things get tricky.

The U.S. Mint is hoping its new dollar coin series will help refresh some hazy memories of Adams, Jefferson and all the rest.

That could be a tall order, however, given the results of a poll the Mint commissioned to find out just how much knowledge Americans have about their presidents.

According to the telephone poll, conducted by the Gallup Organization last month, nearly all those questioned knew that Washington was the first president. However, only 30 percent could name Thomas Jefferson as the nation’s third president, and memories of the other presidents and where they fit in was even more limited.

Where to begin…

I have a problem with the whole currency as learning aid approach but, let’s face it, it won’t work anyway. The idea that some idiot who can’t name the first three presidents will pick up a new coin and say, “Hey, teach me about this dude” is just, well, ridiculous.

The bigger issue here is that the American education system (a wholly owned subsidiary of the teachers’ unions) would give a high school diploma to someone who can’t name the first ten presidents.

The US government tells us:

The United States leads the industrial nations in the proportion of its young people who receive higher education.

It doesn’t tell us that most of those of those degrees were awarded by diploma mills and they aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on if fully 7 in 10 college graduates are unable to identify THOMAS JEFFERSON as the third president! We’re not talking about James K. Polk here, folks, we’re talking about the intellectual light behind the revolution – the author of the Declaration of Independence – THOMAS JEFFERSON!

A nation of morons…


UPDATE: I know that at least one reader of this blog is an educator so I’d like to try a little experiment.

If you’re a teacher, consider giving your students a very brief pop quiz on American history at the beginning of the upcoming semester. Try these questions:

  1. List the first five presidents
  2. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
  3. What was the name of the Colonial Assembly during the Revolution?
  4. In which city did that assembly meet?
  5. What year did the American Revolution end?
  6. What was the name of the opposing General who surrendered to George Washington after the final battle of the Revolution?
  7. Where was that final battle fought?
  8. Who said, “Give me liberty or give me death!”?
  9. How many colonies were there at the end of the Revolution?
  10. Against which nation was the Revolution fought?

I wonder how many high school teachers, let alone students, could answer these very basic questions.

If you want to take a crack at this yourself, I’ve created a multiple choice online version here