Are you smarter about American history than a recent immigrant? Most of the students in Oklahoma’s public high schools aren’t. A conservative think tank asked thousands of high school kids to answer 10 questions drawn from the citizenship test given to recent immigrants. Would-be citizens have to answer six correctly, and 92% do so on their first try. By contrast, only 3% of the Oklahoma students would have.
A whopping 77% couldn’t name the first president, and 90% didn’t know how many justices are on the Supreme Court. (The question most knew—61%—involved naming the ocean on the East Coast.) The problem is not just an issue for Oklahoma; a study in Arizona yielded similar results. “It points to a real serious problem,” says one think tank member. “Jefferson said that a nation can’t expect to be ignorant and free.”