WASHINGTON—A study released Monday by the Department of Education found that the majority of U.S. high school students struggle to retain obsolete course material over summer break, with students remembering as little as 30 percent of their out-of-date curricula by the time classes resume in the fall. “Despite thorough reinforcement with old-fashioned rote memorization techniques, we found that few students are able to recall more than a third of the irrelevant syllabi their teachers attempted to drill into them during the previous academic year,” said one of the study’s authors, Lydia Prestwich, who noted that barely one in four high school freshmen could identify all nine planets or name the capital of Zaire. “According to our survey, two-thirds of students could not state which country Hugo Chavez leads, while more than 70 percent were unable to give the name of even a single shuttle that NASA uses in its space program, despite learning this material as recently as this past spring.” To ameliorate the alarming statistics, researchers stressed that school administrators nationwide must ensure that every one of their pupils has access to outdated classroom resources and receives instruction from an unqualified, out-of-touch teacher.

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