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What can be worse than the Oklahoma public school results?

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Recent news tells the world how little the average kid in a US high school actually knows about the country. The results in itself are a major disgrace. As we can see on this results page, none of the 1000 kids could answer all 10 questions, taken from the US citizen test, correctly. Something is wrong there. Looking further, none of the 1000 kids could even answer 8 questions correctly. That is bad, really bad. By adding up a little, we quickly see that only 108 of the 1000 students had five or more (7 being the max) questions correct. That is a disgrace; especially for a country that emphasizes that it is the best country in the world. Even I, non-American, European, had eight of the questions correct (I failed the number of judges, and thought George Washington wrote the Declaration of Independence). However, if this was not bad enough, it actually gets worse!

The story as described above was also featured on ‘News9′. This TV station, which should be educated and smart enough to be worth listening to, and be trustable when it comes to news, quickly tops the Oklahoma results. Kelly Ogle rounds up the story with the line “now in all fairness to the local students: they were not allowed to study these questions, we just hit them with ’em, unlike those taking the US citizen test”. I do not blame Kelly Ogle for this, as he very likely read this from the auto-cue; this is on the account of the TV network.

Something is so wrong in that line. It should read “in all fairness, we do allow people taking the US citizen test to study these questions”. If you are a US citizen by birth, and grew up in the United States, you have absolutely no excuse to not know this stuff. Not knowing these basic things is like not being able to read or write, or to not be able to speak English. People immigrating to the US, and thus born and raised in another country, get the benefit of studying the questions. They did not take history lessons in a US class. They did not watch the USA TV networks for the past 10+ years. The kids in Oklahoma did. In addition, if it was just one kid, or a couple of kids, who could not answer all the questions correct, hey, that is allowed. Not everybody is good in remembering stuff, or taking tests (pressure), or maybe they just had other stuff on their mind. But 992 not being able to answer up to five of the questions correctly? Honestly, I would expect results like these from a high school in a foreign, for example European, country. Then they would be acceptable. Not for a US country. Moreover, if a US news channel is honestly convinced it is not mandatory knowledge for any born & raised US citizen, they should get their license revoked.

It has always been somewhat of a dream of me to at least visit the US. Maybe I need to reconsider. I might get rejected for knowing a lot of stuff about the US that the average American does not know.


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Released: on Sep 19, 2009 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC-BY-ND) licenseCC-BY-ND

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I could answer maybe one or two of the questions, but then again I’m not a US citizen =)

    Still, it’s pretty bad. If they asked me that stuff about my country I do hope I would score better.

  2. Ivo says:

    I think you’re being to harsh; when it comes to politics I doubt even half of the dutch kids know how many ministries we have or who wrote our constitution.

    In the past 30 years, the world has moved from fact-based education to skill-based education. Somebody who was educated 30 years ago had an ENORMOUS amount of facts about an enormous amount of subjects learned all by heart. Nowadays, kids are taught how to inquire, and where to find the information if they need it. Is that a good or bad thing? I think it should be a mix.

  3. Jessy Uniqa says:

    Hmmm… Though the number of students who did not get the answers correct is rather alarming, I’m not sure whether being quite so harsh is fair? I think these facts are not essentail to the American race to know, sure, it would be great if they did, but whether it is up to us to decide whether they ‘should’ is another matter. Perhaps it is something schools could consider emphasising in their curriculum, and parents/ guardians (if they so chose) can talk about more at home. And I really don’t think you’d be rejected for knowing more than the average citizen if you went to the US, I wouldn’t let this deter your dream of going there!

  4. Julia Rencontre says:

    Ok, I studied a little bit American history in France for my bachelor, but still, there are questions that everybody know, at least 5! So when you actually live there and have history courses at school? What the hell! This is scandalous! But, well, not very surprising, knowing I met American people that thought that Europe was a country, that English people didn”t speak english or that France was in East Europa ( for those who knew that europa was no country but a continent/geopolitica association!) FREAKY!!!!

  5. Jeffrey says:

    This all happen because the economy situation on most countries these days is getting worse. In order to survive in this kind of situation, most kids these days are not really care about how many ministries that they have in their country or the name of their founding fathers that wrote the constitution. They think these kind of knowledge won’t help them to get a job or to improve their below average economic situation. What they care about is how to get skill-based education, surviving skills so they can apply it right after they finish their education.

  6. ljb972 says:

    When researching where to relocate my family to in the US. We ran across the saddest thing I have ever seen. There is a program called no child left behind which is supposed to force schools to get their students up to par before passing them to next grade. Well after reviewing the marks for most schools in New Mexico, apparently we need a new one called No State Left Behind. Seriously the marks are that bad, and it is very sad for the people living there and for the future of that state. Anyone curious to see what I am talking about go to greatschools DOT net and pull up random schools in NEw mexico and compare them with a school from any other state…..