In a 2008 study conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 71 percent of Americans failed a civic literacy test, with an overall average score of 49 percent. Fewer than half of all Americans could name all three branches of government. Even more disturbing is the fact that elected officials scored lower than the general public, with an average score of 44 percent.
This lack of civic literacy may be the result of a lax educational system. Most states do not require middle school students to take classes in civics and government. It may also be that civics, like history, is one of those classes filled with dry facts and figures that evaporate soon after the course is over.