Don't be more of an idiot than you have to be

PJMedia quoting Woodrow Wilson FoundationA majority in every state except Vermont has failed the U.S. Citizenship test, the latest sign that Americans aren’t very good history students. In the multiple choice version of the test given to immigrants seeking citizenship, 53 percent of Vermonters passed.

More than half of those in every other state failed, and in Washington, D.C., 58 percent failed, said the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, which does the survey. Only one-in-four nationally passed the 20-questions. In its latest test, the Foundation said that 15 percent of adults knew the year the Constitution was written and only 25 percent knew how many amendments there are.

Also, of 41,000 quizzed, 25 percent did not know that freedom of speech was guaranteed under the First Amendment, and 57 percent did not know that Woodrow Wilson was the commander in chief during World War I. The top states were Vermont are Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and Virginia. At the bottom were Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana.

So there are twenty questions on the quiz, and they waste one asking who was President during World War I (obviously, because the answer is their founder), and they ask it using "commander in chief" rather than President which will confuse some people. Knowing exactly who was President during the smaller of two major conflicts a hundred years ago doesn't exactly strike me as something on the top twenty list of questions I would ask prospective citizens.

Neither is the exact year the Constitution was written. Especially since it was written, ratified, and became effective in three different years. I'd be happy if they could give the answer to within 10 or 20 years, since it's easy to look up and knowing the *exact* date isn't likely to matter in any context other than a pollster from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation calling you at random while you are trying to shop for groceries, just to pick an example.

The question about freedom of speech is slightly better, though they phrase it to imply it is a poor result when 75% of the populace knowing that freedom of speech is guaranteed by the first amendment isn't bad.

The panic here is more than a little artificial.

Sure, schools don't seem to be doing a great job teaching history and civics. But this survey doesn't seem to be a good way to measure that, judging by these three questions.

This entry was published Fri Mar 08 08:47:20 CST 2019 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2019-02-15 18:13:08.0. [Tweet]

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