THUMBS DOWN to the dumbing of Americans when it comes to knowledge of how their government functions, also known as civics.
You may have heard the report of a survey in which nearly 10 percent of college graduates questioned reported that “Judge Judy” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s certainly headline-grabbing material and fodder for late-night comic monologues.
The non-profit organization that commissioned the survey, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, isn’t laughing, however. The organization’s report is called “A Crisis in Civic Education.”
“The grim reality is those college graduates continue to show a level of ignorance of America’s system of government just as high school students do,” the group wrote in the report. “Our vast national expenditure on higher education has had little or no measurable effect on giving students the skills and knowledge they need for effective citizenship.”
“Judge Judy” was perhaps the most alarming finding in the report. Here are some others:
More than half of college graduates don’t know how the U.S. Constitution is amended. Almost 40 percent didn’t know that Congress has the power to declare war. Almost half didn’t know that U.S. senators are elected to six-year terms and representatives to two-year terms.
THUMBS UP to Sierra Nevada Corp., a Sparks-based business, for securing a contract with NASA to launch cargo to the International Space Station, beginning in 2019. Sierra Nevada Corp. is developing a scaled-down shuttle called Dream Chaser for the job.
THUMBS UP to efforts in Washington, D.C., to protect Lake Tahoe. Earlier this month the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works passed the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015. The bipartisan legislation, crafted with help from Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller of Nevada, calls for investing $415 million in the Tahoe Basin for the next 10 years for projects such as preventing wildfires, improving water clarity and combating invasive species.
THUMBS UP to NV Energy for recognizing the plight of customers who have already invested in rooftop solar systems through an incentive program. The utility announced Monday that it wants those customers to keep older, more favorable rates for up to 20 years through a “grandfather” provision.
The state Public Utilities Commission approved new rates effective Jan. 1 that hit rooftop solar customers with a higher monthly fixed fee and a lower fee for excess energy they sell back to the utility.
“This grandfather proposal is being offered in recognition of NV Energy’s desire to treat all customers, including those who had previously made a decision to install rooftop solar, fairly,” said Paul Caudill, NV Energy’s president and chief operating officer.
THUMBS UP to the decline in gas prices. GasBuddy.com, which tracks prices at the pump, reports that prices in Nevada have fallen 8.2 cents in the past week, with the average price at $2.34 per gallon. Nevada, thanks in part to taxes, still has some of highest gas prices in the country. The average price nationally last week was $1.82 per gallon.