New Survey Claims Oklahoma High School Students Can Name the First President

Tuesday, November 10th 2009, 10:25 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A survey given to Oklahoma high school students revealed only one in four could name America's first president. However, one lawmaker said those results were so unbelievable he wanted to do a "retake."

Back in September, 1,000 students were surveyed by telephone and given 10 questions drawn from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services item bank. Candidates for U.S. citizenship must answer six questions correctly in order to become citizens.

According to the survey conducted by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs only 28 percent correctly answered "The Constitution" as being the supreme law of the land. Four percent said it was the Gettysburg Address, and 3 percent said it was the Emancipation Proclamation.

State Representative Ed Cannaday, a former social studies teacher, highly doubted the accuracy of the test results.

To prove students in Oklahoma know the basic fundamentals of state government, Cannaday gave the exact same survey to every high school senior in his district. The results, he said, were just as he expected.

"There was a 50 percent discrepancy between their findings and my findings of my 325 seniors in my District 15," Cannaday said.

In Cannaday's test, 98 percent of students knew George Washington was the first president, while only 23 percent of the students taking the OCPA test knew that.

"I know I've read the OCPA's literature and it's been very negative towards public education," Cannaday said.

The group denied it, but Representative Cannaday thinks the OCPA has a hidden agenda, and he said his test proves their test is full of flaws.

The executive director of OCPA said the group would love to work with Representative Cannaday and come up with a third test if the two sides agree to split the costs. Cannaday said he's willing to do it, but he's not willing to pay.

Question   % of Students
Who Answered Correctly: OCPA Results
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 parities 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?



See the answers to the test

More: Read the Full Report from OCPA | 75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S.