John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to email@example.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.
Friday, September 18, 2009
To the books, citizens!
These ten questions — all taken from the test that an immigrant must pass to acquire U.S. citizenship — were administered to a thousand Oklahoma public high school students. About three percent of them got enough correct answers to pass the citizenship test.* I entertain deep suspicions that those thousand Oklahoma high school students are not anomalous.
But I also doubt that raising this point will bring any measure of humility or restraint to the discussion of immigration.
What is the supreme law of the land?
What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
How many justices are there on the Supreme Court?
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
What ocean is on the east coast of the United States?
What are the two major political parties in the United States?
We elect a U.S. senator for how many years?
Who was the first President of the United States?
Who is in charge of the executive branch?
No, dammit, I am not going to give you the answers.
*The article about this experiment can be found here. Thanks, @Fritinancy, for the tip.