I was perusing the Christian Science Monitor this morning and saw this test.
I had to get 58 questions correct (out of 96) in order to pass.
Last year, when I worked at a writing center at a community college in Arizona, a student who came regularly for writing help was gearing up to become a US citizen. She's from the Czech Republic, is married to a fellow non-US citizen and has a child who is American. She was pretty nervous and excited, and I remember the day she came into the writing center and told me, "I passed. I passed!"
She nearly shouted it.
When I saw this test on CSM, I thought: I wonder if I can pass?!?
I just took the test, and I'm not even exaggerating when I say my hands were shaking toward the end. I was so scared of not passing. I started to hurry and rush a little because the feelings of anxiety were getting intense. What would it say about me as an American if I couldn't pass this text?
My little heart beat faster.
In the end, I got 80 out of 96 questions correct.
I didn't know, for example, how many amendments the Constitution has. I also thought Susan B. Anthony made the flag. I mean, I debated. I knew she fought for women's rights as well, but then I thought maybe it was the flag and it was super obvious and I'd miss it. Betsy Ross was hiding out in some other part of my brain apparently; she didn't get the memo I needed her.
Head's up: Susan fought for women's rights.
I sat there taking the test thinking of all the people who take this every year in hopes of becoming citizens. When I saw those 16 missed questions I felt guilty, like maybe I haven't fully appreciated not just my rights as a citizen of this country but, equally important, my responsibilities.
So....could you pass? Do you care?