Oklahoma Public School Students Fail Basic Citizenship Test

altAlmost every Oklahoma public high school student failed a basic citizenship test based on a recent telephone survey. Only one in four could name the country’s first president.

In fact, only 2.8 percent of the students correctly answered six of 10 questions. Candidates for U.S. citizenship are required to answer six of 10 questions correctly to become citizens. The success rate for immigrants taking the latest citizenship test was 92.4 percent.

Those results are from a survey commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) to coincide with Constitution Day, which is today. A national research firm, Strategic Vision, conducted the survey. The margin of error was plus/minus 3 percent.

"It’s depressing," said Brandon Dutcher, OCPA vice president, about the findings. "Thomas Jefferson warned that no nation can remain ignorant and free. It’s pretty obvious we’re ignorant. This is really basic stuff.

"Our Founding Fathers knew that only a well-informed citizenry could remain free. If these survey results are any indication, we are very much a nation at risk," he added.

Students were given 10 questions randomly drawn from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) item bank, which includes about 100 questions. The sample involved 1,000 Oklahoma public school students in grades ninth through 12th.
An analysis of the report is is in the September issue of Perspective, OCPA’s monthly magazine. You can review that here.

That analysis said in part: "In short, Oklahoma’s public high-school students have displayed a profound level of ignorance regarding American history, government, and geography.

"The results of this survey are deeply troubling. Despite billions of taxpayer dollars and a set of academic standards that cover all of the material, Oklahoma high-schools students display an overwhelming ignorance of the institutions that undergird political freedom."

OCPA is a think tank which formulates and promotes public policies based on the principles of free enterprise and limited government.

Sample questions:

1. What is the supreme law of the land?
2. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
3. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
4. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
5. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
6. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?
7. What are the two major political parties in the U.S.?
8. We elect a U.S. senator for how many years?
9. Who was the first president of the United States?
10. Who is in charge of the executive branch?

1. The Constitution
2. The Bill of Rights
3. Senate and House
4. Nine
5. Thomas Jefferson
6. Atlantic Ocean
7. Republicans and Democrats
8. Six
9. George Washington
10. The president