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Are you smarter than an American teenager?

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Q: Who was Adolf Hitler?

  • A German kaiser
  • A munitions maker
  • The chancellor of Germany during WWII
  • An Austrian premier

If you answered "C," congratulations! You are now as smart as one quarter of 17-year-olds in the United States.

A new survey released by the non-profit group Common Core found that teenagers in the United States live in "stunning ignorance" about history and literature. That's something we could have told you awhile ago. In "Lost in America," a feature story in the May/June 2006 issue of FP, Douglas McGray wrote:

[S]urrounded by foreign languages, cultures, and goods, [young Americans] remain hopelessly uninformed, and misinformed, about the world beyond U.S. borders."

In his piece, he writes that we hear all the time about how America's youth lags behind in science and math tests. But they lag equally, if not more, in the liberal arts and social sciences. And it's just as dangerous. As the world becomes more and more globalized, it's crucial that our citizens today and tomorrow have a deeper understanding of history and culture.

Thankfully, Common Core has taken on this cause. The organization is composed of both Democrats and Republicans, who may not agree with each other about education reform policy. But they do agree on one thing: America's schools need to teach more about the liberal arts. Right on.

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Turkey withdraws from Iraq

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Turkey has withdrawn its troops from Iraq today according to a statement from the army's General Staff:

"It was determined that the aims set at the start of the operation had been achieved," the General Staff said in a statement. "Our units returned to their bases (in Turkey) on the morning of February 29."

Turkey claims it killed 240 P.K.K. rebels during the eight day operation and suffered 27 casualties of its own. The P.K.K, meanwhile, says that it has killed 130 Turkish troops and is also claiming victory:

"Because of the fierce battles between the PKK and the Turkish forces, the Turkish forces have withdrawn," said Ahmed Danees, the PKK's foreign relations spokesman in northern Iraq.

It's fairly clear that neither side scored a decisive blow and this conflict isn't anywhere near to a resolution. Still, Turkey's ground invasion didn't lead to the region-wide catastrophe that many had feared. That, at least, is cause for relief.