There is a rising population of immigrants in the U.S.A. To become legal they have to take a test on America’s history and government. We went around Benicia High School and asked fifty students questions that may be found on that test.
- Which document is also called “The Supreme Law of the Land”?
Seventeen of the students asked got the answer right. The correct answer is the constitution. The other thirty-three people gave us answers like “the expiration date on your milk” or “the Declaration of Independence”.
- How many senators does each state have?
After the first question, most of our faith in the student body had dissipated into thin air, but 42 of our peers redeemed themselves. 42 out of 50 people knew that there are 2 senators for each state. Congratulations to those 42 people, you have succeeded at life. To those 8 who didn’t know it… I’ve heard Canada is a wonderful place to live.
- What year did the U.S. officially declare itself its own country?
This question was what we thought to be one of the easier questions proved to be harder than anticipated. The correct answer for that question was 1776. Out of all the students, 34 out of 50 got this question right. Even though that’s a little more than half of the test subjects this is one fact that should just be known.
- Who was the first American to go into space?
Houston we have a problem. This problem is the fact that only 19 students got this question right. The other 31 students who got this question wrong blamed their failure on what they claimed to be “a badly worded question”. But what they neglected to understand was that there is a difference between going to the moon and got no into space. All 31 of these oh so special people said Neil Armstrong but the correct answer was Alan B. Shepard.
- Who was the first secretary of the treasury?
After the last question bringing us such reassuring results, we thought that this question was a little above the average high school students historical knowledge. So instead of asking your peers we asked your tormentors. That’s right we asked your teachers.
Out of 10 teachers exactly half of them got this question right. 4 of the 5 were history teachers. The correct answer was Alexander Hamilton. Though this experiment was full of disappointments, this one was the most demoralizing moments. One of our very own history teachers got this question wrong. Then blaming his failure on the fact that he “doesn’t teach that kind of history.” For the sake of what is left of his pride, his name will not be given at this time.
This study gave us hope for our fellow students, then ripped it away from us just as quickly as it was given to us. This experiment clearly proved that Americans don’t know the simple facts needed to be inducted as a citizen. As a society we are unaware of the facts that make our country our country.
Written by: Lily Hayward