American College Students Know Little of World Events
Young people in the United States do not have a strong understanding of the world and their place in it.
Two U.S.-based groups, the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Geographic Society, commissioned an online survey earlier this year. They wanted to know what young people educated in American colleges knew about geography, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events, and economics.
In general, the results were not very good.
The bad news
The survey was given to over 1,200 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 years. All of them currently attend, or formerly attended, a 2- or 4-year college or university.
The average test score, out of 75 total possible answers, was 55 percent.
The study identifies a few important questions that American students did not know about their own country.
For example, less than 30 percent knew that a treaty requires the United States to protect Japan if it is attacked. Only 30 percent knew that the only part of the U.S. government that can declare war is Congress.
The online survey produced findings that are similar to the findings of other recent studies.
Part of the problem, say the organizers of the survey, is the Internet. They say it is becoming harder to get good information about what is happening in the world today.
Susan Goldberg is with the National Geographic Society. She says people never have to see anything that differs from their understanding of the world; many get their news from a newsfeed.
Forty-three percent of those questioned said they read about national and international news on Facebook.
Another problem is that classes do not require students to learn about international issues. That is the opinion of Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations.
"The problem is schools do not require that students take these courses to graduate," he said. "There is a fundamental difference between offering a course and requiring it."
If such information is not required, Haass said, then the United States could have leaders like Gary Johnson. Johnson is the presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party. He did not know about the Syrian city of Aleppo when a reporter asked him about it.
The good news
The survey results were not all bad. The young people who were questioned demonstrated a good understanding of climate change and renewable energy.
Even if the young people failed to understand many of the questions, the majority of them said that international issues were becoming more important to them.
Only two percent said that knowledge of foreign or non-U.S. cultures was not important. One percent said knowledge of world events was not important.
Haass says these findings suggest the need to find ways to get good information to students, both in school and online. To help, the Council on Foreign Relations is creating a new program called CFR Campus, designed to help build knowledge about global issues.
I'm John Russell.
1.world events 世界大事
More and more university students are interested in world events these days.
2.Foreign Relations 外交关系
He was on the Council of Foreign Relations.
3.foreign policy 外交政策
He has senatorial experience in defence and foreign policy.
4.test score 成绩；分数
My test score doesn't reflect how much I know about the subjects.
1.The young people who were questioned demonstrated a good understanding of climate change and renewable energy.
climate change 气候变化
Carbon emissions exacerbate the global climate change problem.
Global climate change is also on this year's agenda.
2.In general, the results were not very good.
In general 总而言之
I think we need to improve our educational system in general.
I disagree with drug laws in general.
年初，美国外交关系协会与国家地理学会受命发布了一项在线调查 。该调查旨在分析美国大学生对地理、美国外交政策、近期国际时事及经济的了解情况 。
该调查的目标是18至26岁的1200名美国大学生 。他们都是就读2年制或4年制大学的在校生和毕业生 。
了解美日安全保障条约协定（若日本遭袭击，美国提供支援）的学生不到30% 。而知道美国政府中只有国会拥有宣战权的学生只有30% 。
组织该项调查的人员称，部分原因是因为互联网的发展 。如今，人们想要掌握确凿的全球时事信息越来越难 。
苏珊·格尔伯格（Susan Goldberg）在国家地理学会任职 。她表示，人们从来不会理会与其世界观相左的观念 。很多人通过新闻摘要获取信息 。
另外，学校并没有要求学生关注国际时事 。外交关系协会的理查德·哈斯（Richard Haass）说道 。
他说：“学校并没有规定学生需参加相关课程后才可毕业的硬性要求 。”“开设课程与要求学生了解之间有本质上的区别 。”
哈斯表示，如果不要求学生掌握时事信息，美国会出现很多加利·约翰逊（Gary Johnson）这样的领导人 。约翰逊是自由党总统侯选人 。其在接受采访时竟然不知道叙利亚的阿勒颇市 。
然而，调查结果也并非太糟糕 。受访大学生对气候变化与可再生能源领域见解甚广 。
只有2%的年轻人认为外国文化或非美国文化知识不重要 。1%的人觉得国际时事不重要 。
哈斯称，调查结果表明，学生们需要一种良好的信息渠道来了解国际时事，不管是通过学校还是网络 。为了改变这一现状，外交关系协会现启动了一个名为“CFR Campus”的新项目 。意在帮助学生了解国际重大事件 。