Friday, September 18, 2009

Where the Ignorance Comes Sweeping Down the Plain

Update: The item below is the product of glibertarian dishonesty. It's bullshit, and I've posted a correction. Oh well, we had a good run ...

This approaches exceeding the limits of parody:
Last month OCPA commissioned a national research firm, Strategic Vision, to determine Oklahoma public high-school students' level of basic civic knowledge ... Ten questions, chosen at random, were drawn from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) item bank, which consists of 100 questions given to candidates for United States citizenship. The longstanding practice has been for candidates for citizenship to take a test on 10 of these items. A minimum of six correct answers is required to pass ... Oklahoma high-school students scored alarmingly low on the test, passing at a rate of only 2.8 percent. [emphasis mine]
Click to enlarge if you dare -- of 1,000 test-takers on the multiple-choice exam, not one student scored eight or more correct answers. Only twenty-eight received a passing score of at least six correct answers.

Twenty-eight. Yes, the twenty-eight -- the one that an elite few of us remember from such multiplication problems as 7 x 4, the same one that's slightly more than twenty-seven and slightly less than twenty-nine.

I'm conflicted. Even as I await a correction, I also recall growing up in Oklahoma, where low everyday standards, academic and otherwise, create a hostile environment for parody.

The complete list of quiz questions is here.


DP said...

The teachers who are tasked with educating Oklahoma youth in matters of civics are often too busy working on their first priority: football. If I remember correctly, I was taking US Government at PCHS during (or at least around the time of) such events as Oliver North's testimony to Congress and Robert Bork's confirmation hearing. I don't think the teacher, Coach __, was aware of these events because questions from students about these topics were always deferred. After a while (as the psychological concept of "learned helplessness" might have predicted) the students quit asking questions. Instead, we spent each class period listneing to Coach ____, read the textbook to us. Needless to say, this was insanely boring and seemed intended to show the students that information and thought about civics and government were wholly unimportant topics. They were obviously unimportant to Coach __.

Dale said...

Wow, DP, having been exposed to some of Coach ___'s football acumen, both as a back-bench player and a spectator, I always assumed he must be so useless as a coach because all his efforts went into his civics classes.

So maybe all his effort went into the third thing I remember him for -- being a complete asshole. Maybe?

I'm not sure how I got out of PCHS without any of Coach ___'s sterling civics instruction, but I did. I'm glad to be confirmed in my opinion that I missed out on something less than nothing.

With all that said, had I flunked this test as a teen-ager, I hope I would have had the self-respect to throw myself off Wentz tower at the next opportunity.