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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Civics Lesson?

I found this over at GM's Corner, posted by Woody, and just followed the bread crumbs and... I started wondering about civics knowledge of the typical American citizen. Googling provides a superficial infoset about the topic that nevertheless supports a day-to-day impression formed by exposure to my fellow citizens, especially whenever political topics are being discussed.
"In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the wave of patriotism that has followed, there has been renewed concern about the state of civics education, citizen formation, and national character in the United States. Yet according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress test in civics, only 24 percent of high school seniors were "proficient" in their knowledge of American government and civics.[1] Study after study since then continues to suggest that historical literacy is at a similarly abysmal level." [Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility: A Lesson in Civics Education]
In fact, as I drilled down deeper into the information at the source of the statement above, I found... a lot of mush and obfuscation hiding the core data. And a lot of euphemistic interpretation of the data. Not a good sign. When educrats bloviate (when do they not?), it's a sure sign they're trying to hide or twist bad news. Well, I decided to take the "citizenship quizes" that Woody linked to in a post he mentioned in the one that started this lil wander through the web. (Convoluted enough for you, yet?) Here's what resulted from the first lil quiz:
You Passed the US Citizenship Test
Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

Sadly, I know high school-and college!-grads who would definitely miss some of those very easy quiz questions, but I wasn't satisfied, so I took the other two quizes mentioned. The results of those quizes are below the fold (if it works right this time-heh). But here's another lil quiz that's perhaps a better indicator of whether or not a person should be allowed to vote (yeh, I said that, and I meant it). It's an online practice quiz offered to help immigrants prep for a citizenship test. I'm thinking that if a person born a citizen in these United States can't pass this test, they should be given a Green Card and be treated as a resident non-citizen. *sheesh* Seriously, if I weren't able to pass a 100Q quiz as easy as this one by seventh grade, I would have flunked my seventh grade civics class. And NO ONE lacking such basic knowledge of civics American style ought to be allowed in a voting booth. They're too stupid and ignorant to exercise the franchise. (Linked at GM's Corner's Open Trackback Wednesday. Read more... Here are the results of two other simple "citizenship quizes" Woody linked that I took (simply copied and pasted the text of the results. And note that I do know Rhenquist is no longer Chief Justice of the SCOTUS :-):
*****************************************************
You might be surprised to learn that immigrants usually know more about our nation than most born-and-bred Americans! Want more? Try the sample citizenship questions posed by the Immigration & Naturalization Service. Your Score: 10 out of 10 — Congratulations! You're a model citizen. 1. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary war? a) Great Britain b) France c) Germany d) Italy You chose: a The correct answer is: a 2. Why did the Pilgrims come to America? a) to flee colonization b) for religious freedom c) for the right to vote d) for a better life You chose: b The correct answer is: b 3. Who helped the Pilgrims in America? a) the slaves b) the Native Americans c) the British d) the Dutch You chose: b The correct answer is: b 4. Which list contains three rights or freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights? a) Right to life, Right to liberty, Right to the pursuit of happiness b) Freedom of speech, Freedom of press, Freedom of religion c) Right to protest, Right to protection under the law, Freedom of religion d) Freedom of religion, Right to elect representatives, Human rights You chose: b The correct answer is: b 5. Who is the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court? a) George W. Bush b) Janet Reno c) Colin Powell d) William Rehnquist You chose: d The correct answer is: d 6. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution? a) 10 b) 13 c) 27 d) 9 You chose: c The correct answer is: c 7. How many voting members are in the House of Representatives? a) 50 b) 100 c) 435 d) 535 You chose: c The correct answer is: c 8. Who becomes President of the United States if the President and the Vice President should die? a) the Speaker of the House of Representatives b) the Senate Majority Leader c) the Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff d) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court You chose: a The correct answer is: a 9. Who has the power to declare war? a) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff b) the Supreme Court c) President d) the Congress You chose: d The correct answer is: d 10. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called? a) Articles of Confederation b) Manifest Destiny c) Bill of Rights d) Declaration of Independence You chose: c The correct answer is: c Quiz U.S. Citizenship Test: Could You Pass? Way to Go! (Note: In the actual test, answers are given in sentence format; here we've changed the format by offering multiple-choice answers.) You got 11/11 correct. 1 Correct! The correct answer: A They represent the 13 original colonies Your answer: A They represent the 13 original colonies The stripes on the American flag represent the 13 original colonies; the 50 stars represent the current states in the nation. 2 Correct! The correct answer: C 27 Your answer: C 27 Over the years, there have been 27 amendments to the Constitution--the most recent one was ratified on May 2, 1992. 3 Correct! The correct answer: A Legislative, executive, and judicial Your answer: A Legislative, executive, and judicial The three branches of the United States government are the legislative, executive, and judicial. 4 Correct! The correct answer: B It ordered that slaves in rebel territory be freed Your answer: B It ordered that slaves in rebel territory be freed The Emancipation Proclamation ordered that all slaves in rebel territory be freed. It was issued on January 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln. 5 Correct! The correct answer: C The Speaker of the House of Representatives Your answer: C The Speaker of the House of Representatives The Speaker of the House of Representatives becomes president of the United States if both the president and vice president die. During the country's history, the line of succession has changed several times. 6 Correct! The correct answer: C United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and China Your answer: C United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and China The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and China were principal allies of the United States during World War II. 7 Correct! The correct answer: A Alaska Your answer: A Alaska Alaska was admitted as the 49th state of the Union on January 3, 1959. 8 Correct! The correct answer: A 9 Your answer: A 9 Nine justices sit on the Supreme Court of the United States: eight associate justices and one chief justice. The president of the United States appoints them to the Court for life terms, but the U.S. Senate must approve each appointment with a majority vote. 9 Correct! The correct answer: C "The Star-Spangled Banner" Your answer: C "The Star-Spangled Banner" "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. Francis Scott Key wrote the text in 1814, and it later became popular as a song, sung to the tune of a British drinking song. Congress approved it as our national anthem on March 3, 1931. 10 Correct! The correct answer: C 1787 Your answer: C 1787 The Constitution was written in 1787 and ratified in 1788. 11 Correct! The correct answer: B Mayflower Your answer: B Mayflower The Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower. A good way to remember this one is the old joke: If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring? The Pilgrims. Originally, the Pilgrims intended to take two vessels, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, but the latter proved unseaworthy.
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