4
| News |

The Vast Majority of Arizona High School Students Couldn't Pass a Citizenship Test

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

If they weren't born here, 96.5 percent of Arizona high school students would not qualify to be United States citizens, according to a study released last week by the Goldwater Institute.

The "Freedom From Responsibility" survey shows that only 3.5 percent of Arizona high school students would pass a basic citizenship test - in contrast to more than 92 percent of immigrants, who pass the test on the first try.

The survey took ten randomly selected questions from the United States Citizenship test and posed them to 1,350 Arizona high school students. The results make you want to hide under a flag.

Only 26.5 percent of the students polled knew George Washington was the first president. Even fewer could identify the two houses of Congress.

Fewer than 10 percent of the students surveyed knew how many justices sit on the United States Supreme Court. Just 58.8 percent knew which ocean is on the country's east coast.

Matthew Ladner, vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute, says the survey demonstrates just how distressing the education system in Arizona actually is.

"I expected the results to be bad," he says, "but I didn't think they'd do nearly this poorly."

Supposedly, Arizona's high school history curriculum is one of the strictest in the country. Clearly, it's not being taught.

"I think it confirms what I've been trying to get the Legislature to do every single year," Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Tom Horne says of the Goldwater survey. "We need to test history and social studies on the AIMS test."

Or here's a crazy idea: Figure out how to motivate students to want to learn. Do something, and quickly!

The Goldwater Institute's Ladner adds, "We also tested several second and third grade students, and for a lot of them they could answer at least three questions, which means they have tied or beat most high school students."

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.