We spend a lot of time on News Talk KIT talking about what it means to be an American, what it should take to be an American, etc.  We reference the founding fathers, show our displeasure with lame-brain court decisions…you know the drill.  We also like to think that more people are like us than not.

But are we right?  A Xavier University survey would indicate not. “Nearly a third of Americans would get a big fat “F” on a citizenship test, according to a new study. The lack of knowledge mostly pertains to civics questions.”

Great. How are you supposed to defend and preserve what made us great if we don’t even know what that is!

The Center for the American Dream at Xavier University came up these findings via a survey that posed 10 random questions from the actual citizenship exam to 1,000 Americans who were 18 and older.

The questionnaire found that most citizens that were born here “do well” on basic questions about history and geography. On the flip side, native citizens had trouble with questions about the principles and features of government.  So we know where to vacation and what to look at when we get there…but interacting with the government, the policies of which will determine if you have the money or freedom to go on vacation, on that we’re not so good!

Gene Koo, director of iCivics, an education non-profit said, “We always assumed that those who grew up here were getting that in the school system. That stopped being true a couple decades ago, and you can see the results of that in this study.”  AHA…The public school system has let us down.  You hear conservatives rail against the breakdown of the American education system all the time and this, in part, is why.

What’s staggering, though, is the fact that while 60 percent of Americans would pass the test, immigrants applying for citizenship pass at a much higher rate of 93 percent.  That’s great and it’s another reason why we want our immigrants to come through the front door so they can understand and appreciate civics and help the rest of us hold on to what we have!  Because freedom is at stake!

Michael Ford, the director of the Center for the American Dream, pointed out something somewhat terrifying, saying, “If we are civic illiterates, the chances of losing our freedom is greater than being invaded by aliens or a foreign country.”

Here’s a look at some questions from the that are often answered wrong:

  • How many amendments does the Constitution have?
  • The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the US Constitution. Name one of the writers.
  • What is the rule of law?
  • The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
  • What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
  • Who was president during World War One?

And here’s the question that received the highest percentage of correct answers:

  • What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

Did you get them right?  Time to review?  Whatever it takes, be an informed American…do it.  Your country needs you.

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