Just read a fascinating report from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, which recently hired the national research firm Strategic Vision to survey 1,000 high school students in Oklahoma about their basic civic knowledge.
The survey consisted of asking the students 10 questions taken from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services database of questions they ask candidates for U.S. citizenship. In order to become a citizen, applicants must correctly answer six of the 10 quesitons. Ninety-three percent pass on their first attempt.
The 1,000 Oklahoma high school students? Only about three percent would have passed. Similar results were found when the same survey was done in Arizona (the home state of Sen. John McCain).
Here are the questions asked, followed by the percent of Oklahoma high school students who knew the correct answer:
What is the supreme law of the land? 28%
What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26%
What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27%
How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10%
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14%
What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61%
What are the two major political parities in the United States? 43%
We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11%
Who was the first President of the United States? 23%
Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29%
Remember: In a couple of years, most of these kids will be voting in national elections.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.