Scary Stuff

November 14, 2007

Yesterday, during homeroom, students were asked to fill out a survey to test their knowledge of world topics. The results from my class (ages 17 and 18) were disturbing, to say the least.

After looking over the survey, three students declined to participate because, “I don’t know that stuff.”

This is how the other twelve responded.

True or false: Hawaii was the 51st state. Six out of twelve said that statement is true.

True or false: Latin Americans speak Latin. Ten out of twelve said that statement is true.

What is the national religion of Israel? Four students left it blank. One said Israel is the national religion of Israel. Four said Muslim. One said Islam. Two said Christianity. Not one student got it right.

What language is spoken in the United Kingdom? One student left it blank. Another answered “Enishlish.”

Name two countries that border the United States. Two students left it blank. One answered “North and South.”

What is Darfur? Where is it located? Three students answered “I don’t know.” Three left it blank. One answered, “a country in the Middle East.” Another answered, “U.S.” Another said Darfur is “a midget.” I swear he was not trying to be funny. He read the word Darfur as “dwarf.” Yet another read the word as “draft,” and answered, “When the army pick you name to go to the army.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m scared.

Song of the Day: Scary Monsters by David Bowie

19 Responses to “Scary Stuff”

  1. LA said

    Oh. My. God. ~LA

  2. It’s so sad that even with the emphasis on education these days, so many of our children have no idea about anything. They don’t read newspapers or watch the news. I see it with my own kids. My oldest daughter graduated at the top of her class, and even then she wasn’t always aware of many things. Now she reads the paper and watches the news. I know she is now more aware of things in the world than she was as a teen. For many (I’d venture to say most)if it doesn’t affect them directly in their daily life, they have little use for it. The sad thing is, I really have no idea what can be done about it…many schools already have citizenship or world affairs courses, but they are usually elctives and not mandatory…meaning most students don’t take them unless it is something they need to graduate. Maybe they need to make sure that all students take at least a semester or two in order to graduate?

    And it isn’t even just the teens, I am betting that if you asked a group of adults those same questions, you would be surprised at the answers you got!

  3. Jim said

    Look on the bright side — left to their own resources and initiative, they are unlikely to vote. (We already have more than enough ignorant voters.)

  4. alvin said

    You mean Darfur is not a midget? Then who was that with in that film with Jack Black?

  5. alvin said

    Typo alert!! (with)

  6. Sasha said

    Texas Peach said something I was thinking and that is that a lot of the adults are just as ignorant of many of the same things. Your entry was frightening, Stephanie! I’m about to share it with Travis but maybe I should wait until we’ve had some caffeine!

  7. Pam L said

    That is scary and sad. It reminds me of those Jay Leno clips where he’s out on the street asking people who their Vice President is and they haven’t a clue and I’m embarrassed for them, and for us as Americans. My son’s 9th grade Govt class this year learned what the questions were on the test for US Citizenship and he was stunned how much people from other countries learn in their quest to become citizens that he and his classmates never learned in 14 years or more living here. I don’t blame educators, there has been so much emphasis on just the reading and math lately and half the time they are forced to teach to the tests (ours are called CSAPS). Parents need to be part of it too, family discussions at the dinner table (what a concept!) need to occur so that kids can see their place in the world as their parents discuss world & national events. But sadly, when was the last time we did that? We had to schedule a family meeting as part of one of my son’s requirements in his quest for the Eagle Scout award and I couldn’t believe how difficult that was, to find the time. My husband has dinner with us may 3 night a week some weeks which is pretty common for families anymore I think. Like they say on HGTV- Start at Home!

  8. goatbarnwitch said


  9. I never enjoyed geography but I knew the answers to those questions…..that is frightening…and as others have said…there are so many Americans who don’t know these basics….

  10. Sunshyn said

    They had the questions for the citizenship test in the newspaper recently, and I could only answer about half of them. I know I would flunk freshman high school math. I couldn’t find Darfur on the globe, but I at least know ABOUT what’s going on there (I’d also flunk geography). I wonder what-all my daughter knows. She is literate and 23. She didn’t used to know jack when she was a teen. My sons sure don’t. And I’m glad they don’t vote. I have voted since I was 18. But we had a nasty little thing called ‘Nam goin’ on then, and I gave a damn, because those were my classmates dying. Pathetic AND apathetic. Oh, well, the Aztec calendar says we all die in 2012, right? Or is it the Mayan calendar? I get so confused these days…

  11. Holly said

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds this generations so scary. honestly How can anyone live in this country and be THAT ignorant. YIKES.. I think our country may be in bigger trouble than we realize. though I know not all high schoolers are that stupid, I hope.

  12. Bev said

    Oh my. The even sadder thing is that this doesn’t surprise me. It’s one reason why “Are you Smarter than a 5th grader” has become such a hit.

  13. Sunday said

    [Flava Flav] Wooooooooooooooowwww…… [/Flava Flav] I’m sorry, I laughed my ass off at these answers, simply because I work in (at?) a college (and no, it does NOT get any better) and the day secretary’s daughter noticed that I was reading a book about Hitler. Her father and I discussed Stalin’s role in WWII, and then we started speaking about Lenin. The daughter, an HONOR student, thought we were talking about JOHN LENNON! You better believe we laughed our asses off at her. Here she was, an honor student, and she didn’t even know the events that led to WWII, the Russian Show Trials of the 1930s, etc. Now, I’m not an honor student, but yet, I can speak relatively intelligently upon a vast number of subjects. No, I’m not bragging–it’s what you do when you want to get ahead. Even if I knew nothing about WWII, I’d have enough sense not to let ANYONE KNOW IT!!!!

    As for these homeroom students, I can’t say that they’re any different (I think) than my class was in 1992-93. There are those who know a hell of a lot, and there are those who know jack shit, but somehow pass through the system. This is why I’m soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo disgruntled about the educational system, from PARENTS on up.

  14. Sheeesh! I’m a retired teacher. Pensions being what they are, I’m teaching English in South Korea. I have a short rant about John Dewey, the Teachers College of Columbia University and the destruction of the American education system. I’ll spare you. However I will say that my best teacher was so old that she called those “origami” things kids make and throw “paper arrows,” not “paper airplanes.”

    The phonics studies here in Korea have been screwed up by “English teachers” who don’t know anything about phonics. They talk “sulowly” to “sutooduhents” (yes, putting all those extra syllables into the words!). The funny thing is that Koreans have a phonics-based writing system; it’s no wonder that the American college graduates have them scratching their heads. They transcribe these “words” into Hangeul and then try to look them up in a bi-lingual dictionary!

  15. Sunday said

    RYC: I am definitely not a “good” Republican, nor a bad one. In fact, there should be an ironic emoticon! While I am rather pissed at the Democratic party right now…stupid sniping at one another…I suppose the lesser of 2 evils is better than what we’ve got in there now. (And I don’t want to get into the whole “I don’t believe that America’s ready for an African-American president or a female president, particularly a Democrat” rant.)

  16. Sunday said

    Oh, and I guess the point didn’t get across….I am not a Republican. Perish the thought!

  17. RYC: I speak “survival Korean” quite fluently, can buy groceries, order food in a restaurant and tell a taxi driver where to go. 😉 I carry a phrasebook and my cellphone. (There’s a telephone translation service here, a hot line staffed with volunteers.) And I’m trading English lessons for Korean lessons with some ladies in my neighborhood. We meet every Wednesday. (Nearly everyone can read English, it’s the pronunciation that they need to work on.) I can read Korean script well enough to drive, but I’m not a fast reader.

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