You just have to love it when the numbers come in. The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank, wanted to guage the civics knowledge of high school students in the state. Strategic Vision, a national research firm, then concocted a game plan to give a thousand students ten questions from the questions used for the U.S. Citizenship test. All the think tank had to do was sit back and wait for the numbers to come in.
And then, the numbers came in. There was much weeping, and gnashing of teeth.
By way of comparison, 92% of those who take the U.S. Citizenship test pass it the first time through, as opposed to the 3% of the Oklahoma high school students. No Child Left Behind, my ass. Apparently, the great state of Oklahoma cannot even educate their high schoolers well enough to be citizens in their own country.
It is pretty bad. More than three-quarters of the students could not answer who the first President of the United States was. That is supremely fucked up that I live in a day and time where more people know George W. Bush was the last President than that Washington was the first. That's even dumber than knowing who Kermit the Frog is, but not knowing what color he is.
Eighty-six percent of the students surveyed do not know who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The idea a higher percentage of people have either voted for an American Idol candidate or given an awkward post-Homecoming game hand job is about as appealing as finding a hair in your food...at home...and still wondering if it is your own.
Not only did 74% have no idea the first ten amendments to our Constitution is otherwise known as the Bill of Rights, but 72% didn't even know the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. I should be madder about this, but in all fairness, the Constitution was widely ignored for eight years of the high schoolers' educations. They have no idea what the Constitution is because the previous administration had no idea what the Constitution was.
Then again, I found it interesting this utter lack of civic knowledge is occurring in a traditionally red state. Brandon Dutcher, of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, said that Arizona had similar results. Hmmm. Another red state. I shouldn't elaborate further without having some blue state test results, but I think I can see a trend here. Don't even get me started on the 57% that didn't even know the names of the two major political parties in this country.
Dutcher says the results in Oklahoma and Arizona leave him concerned for the country. Can't say I disagree with him. The dumbening is getting worse, and the birther movement, the town hall nonsense, and other notable by-products from the right and far right now surprise and puzzle me less than ever.
Dutcher also invoked Thomas Jefferson when discussing the survey, mentioning Jefferson's remark that a nation can't expect to be ignorant and free. Fair enough. A country cannot expect to be ignorant and free, but on a state-to-state level, apparently you can be ignorant in Oklahoma, and freedom is apparently bliss down there. Oh, and in case you're from Oklahoma, Thomas Jefferson is the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Just in case it comes up at a party or some shit.