My husband has to cover "energy and power" in his 7th grade science class. He thought he would start by talking about the scientist the term "Joule" is named after. He tried to, but the class had trouble following his story. There were holes in their knowledge base.
Did they know about Faraday? No.
The 19th Century? No.
Alexander the Great? No.
The Romans? Sorta.
The students were very uncomfortable by the end of the period. One boy came up to apologize and explain after it was over. He said he was sorry, but "they" (the elementary school) didn't teach either science or social studies any more (to make more time for the state tests). "They" had promised the children that the children would be taught science and social studies when they got to the junior high in the seventh grade. The boy assured my husband that he was doing a good job of teaching science, but the social studies teacher was falling down on his job. "All he does is have us read the textbook. He doesn't teach us anything." Apparently the child had no concept of the difference between "history" and "social studies". How could he? He didn't know enough of either.
Yeah, and all this state test prep is supposed to result in better educated people.