Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

29 September 2009

Oklahoma High School Students Cannot Pass Citizenship Test

One of the principal reasons for acquiring an education is to be informed about history and to have sufficient civics knowledge to be able to function as a citizen in your society. We Americans have always further thought that every American child should be well informed about American history in general, the assertion of our individual rights in our rebellion against the tyranny of King George III and the British Parliament, the struggles we went through in the Revolutionary War and then again in the War of 1812 to achieve and hold onto our independence, the growth of a sense of the American nation from a collection of states and the development of the U.S. Constitution, the problems of lingering slavery and the sectional interests in agriculture versus manufacturing and trading interests, the advance of the industrial revolution with improving standards of living due to unleashing the talents of individuals as no other nation ever has, World War I and the great growth of the federal government, the Great Depression and the further growth of government, WW II and fascism, the Cold War and Communism, the great advances of science and technology, and the ever-continued growth of governments. Every child should understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They should understand the structure of our federal government and the limited, enumerated powers of Congress, the limited role of the President as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, and the role of all three of the major branches of the government in preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States of America.

Many Americans argued that these functions were so important that the schooling of America's children had to be undertaken by government. Unfortunately, this viewpoint always failed to comprehend that government never wants to be limited and, most especially, never wants to be forced to base its legitimacy upon its protection of the rights of the sovereign individual. Yet this was the task the Constitution set out to hold government to. To accomplish this, government had to be kept away from the education of our children, not invited to steer their education as government wished it to be. The system of government-run schools we settled upon was largely copied from socialistic Prussia and was well-suited to the purpose of advancing socialism rather than the rights of the individual!

This process was also made easier by the required separation of Church and state, which meant that moral issues were to become almost undebatable in our schools. This kept serious discussions of morality in general out of our schools. This conflict of interest between morality and government is sufficient justification for the incompatibility of education and government-run schools. Thus stripped of morality, children were more and more susceptible to the propaganda of socialism.

Another key requirement to advance socialism was to not teach much of U.S. history and to over-emphasize every mistake ever made in America to try to take away any sense of American exceptionalism. The meaning of our Constitution and its role in protecting the sovereign rights of the individual were subverted. The understanding that rights could only take the form of individual freedom to develop your own ideas and to act to improve your own life in accordance with your own chosen values with only voluntary relationships with others was subverted. Instead the schools taught that each of us is everyone else's keeper, especially if that someone else has fewer material goods than we do. The schools taught a crass materialistic system of values in which little mattered except material goods, so these material goods had to be redistributed equally. The schools always assumed that the material goods were of that quantity available at that particular point in time, no matter that the number of goods grew much more for each new generation. The schools never concerned themselves with how this came to be. After all, this is not of interest to the public sector. Empty minds are what the public sector wants!

We have very solid evidence that the government-run schools have succeeded marvelously in dumbing down American children and making them susceptible fodder for the propaganda of socialism. An especially dramatic demonstration of this is the complete civic incompetence of Oklahoma high school students. In the spirit of disclosure, I graduated from an Oklahoma high school in 1965. The teaching of history then in my school was disgraceful, but it is clearly much worse now.

In an oral examination, 1000 Oklahoma high school students were asked 10 questions randomly selected from the questions used to test immigrants for citizenship in the United States. These immigrants pass the test if they answer 6 of the 10 questions right, which 92.4% of them do on the first try. The test is not a multiple choice test. The respondents actually have to know the answer and cannot get say 25% of them right by randomly choosing one of four multiple choice answers. Oklahoma students are "taught" history and civics every year through elementary school and high school. Let us see how the Oklahoma high school students did. The question asked is followed by the percentage of students answering the question correctly.

1) What is the supreme law of the land? Answered correctly by 28%.

2) What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26%

3) What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27%

4) How many justices are on the Supreme Court? 10%

5) Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14%

6) What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61%

7) What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43%

8) We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years? 11%

9) Who was the first president of the United States? 23% [George Washington, not John Hanson was expected.]

10) Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29%

Of the 1000 high school students, the breakdown in terms of correct answers was as follows:

None, 4.6%
1, 15.8%
2, 24.6%
3, 26.5%
4, 17.7%
5, 8.0%
6, 2.2%
7, 0.6%
8, 0.0%
9, 0.0%
10, 0.0%

Not one student answered 8 or more questions correctly. Only 2.8% of the students would have qualified to become citizens, had they not been born citizens! There were more students who could not answer a single question than there were students who could qualify for citizenship. 45% of the students could not answer more than 2 questions correctly. 71.5% could not answer more than 3 questions. 12th grade students performed barely better than 9th grade students.

So, it is clear that the socialist government-run schools in Oklahoma have done a fantastic job of rendering Oklahoma students perfectly incapable of defending their sovereign individual rights against the onslaught of socialist, nanny-state government. But is this unique to Oklahoma? No. A similar test was administered in Arizona and only 3.5% of Arizona high school students could pass the citizenship test. Jay Leno's Streetwalking tests across America, even on college campuses, indicate that this is a problem across the entire country.

I would have the federal government pass a law that no one can vote until they have passed a citizenship test. Every American who wants to vote should have to take such a test before they are given a lifetime award of the privilege to vote. What is more, students should not even be allowed to enter high school until they can pass the citizenship test.

There should be at least 200 questions chosen on basic U.S. history, government, and geography which every citizen should be expected to know. At least 50 of these questions should be chosen to be administered to each American who wishes to be allowed to vote. That person should have to answer 80% correctly to be allowed to vote. 60% is too low a measure of knowledge to give anyone the vote for government issues, since the government holds the awesome power of a monopoly on the use of force. Ignorant, child-like people should not have the power to direct that awesome force. Only people aware of the limitations the Constitution puts on the federal government and on the high cost our forefathers paid to protect our liberties, should be entrusted to maintain the government whose only purpose is to protect, preserve, and defend the sovereign rights of the individual.


immigration said...

Thanks for providing a great resource.I will definitely link to your site from my home page.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

I appreciate your link and comment.

When the health care issues and the global warming/energy restriction issues become less pressing, I will try to write more about what I think we should do about immigration. The very short summary is that we should make it easier for many more immigrants to enter the U.S. legally and to become citizens. We should expect them to learn English and pass a rather rigorous civics test for citizenship. I would be delighted if we could make it a condition for voting that native-born Americans also have to pass the same citizenship civics test before being allowed to vote.

On the issue of illegal immigrants I am not yet sure how we should handle that. I am inclined to require that the laws on immigration be respected, but to also make it quite reasonable for temporary guest workers and actual immigrants to achieve legal status.