75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S


OKLAHOMA CITY – Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today.

The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday.

The Oklahoma City-based group enlisted national research firm, Strategic Vision, to access students’ basic civic knowledge.

Brandon Dutcher is with the conservative think tank and said the organization wanted to find out how much civic knowledge Oklahoma high school students know.

“They’re questions taken from the actual exam that you have to take to become a U.S. citizen,” Dutcher said…"


Public schools, I’m finding out, are in much greater disarray than they were when I was there. One of my granddaughters, a freshman in high school, presently has, as an assignment, the directive to make a paper mobile on the subject of “revenge”. The students were directed to use the colors black, purple or red, only. This is in English class. Freshman year in high school.A previous assignment was to interview a fellow-student to find out “how that person feels”. This assignment follows closely on an assignment to write an essay entitled “All about me”. She gets straight "A"s of course (who wouldn’t if they tried at all?) but how moronic this has all become.

I am not surprised at all. Public Schools are really public funded babysitters.

The fallacy here is that folks think its a school failure when teens are so unknowing. How many books are in their homes? What do the parents talks about? Haven’t the kids ever been shown a $1 bill?

As with the weekend religious classes, parents can’t leave it all up to the teachers.

Thats scary.

In fairness, though, how much did Peyton Randolph really do for the U.S.? John Hancock, now, that was a U.S. President!


I don’t consider the fact of who the first POTUS was “leaving it all up to the teachers”. If kids can’t even learn something as simple as this in school, we have huge problems.


As a born and raised Okie, I’d be real curious to know how this poll was conducted. I know when I was in school, graduate 93 of the OK public school system, it was hammered into our little heads in elementary.

As a sub in said school system I know for a FACT that the kids do get shown $1 dollar bills, along with the other US currency. This starts in Pre-K, btw and continues on though the elementary years. At least I know this for a fact in our school.

Honestly, the students should know who the first President of the United States was before they set foot in school…that was something I knew in kindergarten. Even if they went to the worst school in the history of the world, ever, they should still know who the first president of the United States was.

As the son of a teacher in a public school, and as someone who went to a public school up until fifth grade, and had brothers in public school up until 8th grade, I can tell you that this is certainly not true. At least, its not even close to true in any of the public schools that I’ve ever been in.

I agree that the poll was probably skewed but at the same time, education on the whole-- not isolated schools but in general-- has dropped its standers greatly. My Aunt was able to graduate with a deploma unable to even read a road sign, unable to do simple mathmatics, unable to write a simple paper or letter. Yes mostly it is my Aunt’s fault for not learning, but at the same time it is the School’s fault for graduating her from 12th grade unable to pass a fourth grade reading or writing skills exam. Even more, she passed with a’s. I might add before continuing that my aunt is only 5 years older than myself and we would have been in the same schools together.

As a gifted young child who entered the kindergarten able to read on my own, knowing numbers, how to add and subtract, all your basic elementary school skills, my Kindergarten teacher labeled me retarded and boarderline autistic. My brother was labeled acceptionally gifted and my younger sister labeled emotionally disfunctional and they recommended institutionalizing her. It was at this point my parents pulled us all out of public education and enrolled us into Private schools. There is not one thing wrong with any of us. My sister is beyond brilliant, she has a photographic idetic memory and can recall facts at the drop of a pin. My brother (while I* don’t think he’s brilliant :wink: ) is just about to open his own video gaming company, while I am working on my Masters with the goal to teach at the collegate level. I tremble to think twhere we might have wound up had my parents not had the foresight to pull us out.

I, for one, refuse to allow my daughter into the public education system.*

I should add, again, I’m not saying all public schools or all public school educators are bad. In fact one of the most influential women in my life happened to be a public school English Teacher. She’s the one who inspired me to go into my field. However we met outside of school. So again, I mean no offense towards any and all teachers whom others know or have met that go above and beyond their call.

Competition among schools would help greatly. If government must fund education, let it earmark the funds to the student, not the school. Let the parents and children choose the school at which they will spend their education dollars.

The news link does not work, but I’m curious to know how many schools were included in the survey and where they were located. I graduated from HS and college in OK although most of my secondary education was done elsewhere. My entire school district was outstanding and it remains so to this day. I find this story fishy.

The U. of Oklahoma has led public universities in the number National Merit Scholars enrolled for many years. Oklahoma has a ridiculous number of 2 and 4 year colleges relative to the overall state population and they are filled every year with people who definitely know who was the 1st President and quite bit more. All of those bright young minds are not coming from out of state.

And the devil take the hindmost? That seems like ensuring there will be no neighborhood schools in poorer areas. Perhaps funds could be earmarked according to increases in education in various areas.

As Beau has pointed out, what happens to the inner-city when all the inner-city schools shut down and the gap between them and suburbs starts to open up even more than it already is? It will benefit people like me, who live in middle-class suburban neighborhoods, but it will hang the cities out to dry even worse than they already are.

My reaction exactly. If kids have not learned such basic facts in the books on their shelves at home or on the History channel, then parents have to point the finger at themselves first and foremost. Schools have an important role, but the parent is the first and best teacher. Age-appropriate stories/discussion of presidents lives’, the revolutionary war, early American life, slavery, the civil war, the world wars, the civil rights struggle…all fall squarely into the category of type of general knowledge that should begin at home.

If inner city children and parents had the ability to select any school to attend, I think the competition would induce better schools to open in the inner cities. I would even advocate that inner city children be allocated a larger voucher amount to help this happen. But they need to have the freedom to select their own schools.

In my own school district, inner schools have been essentially destroyed. For several decades, the emphasis was on busing these kids to suburban schools for racial balance, with the result that new schools were built in the suburbs but none in the inner city. Now, the emphasis is returning to having neighborhood schools, but because of past policies, there are no neighborhood schools available in those areas.

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