Man On The Street

What are they teaching in school these days? Or, more precisely, what are they not teaching in school these days?

If you're a regular listener to Sean Hannity's radio show, you're aware of his irregular, weekly Man on the Street interviews. One of his staff goes down to the lobby or sidewalk around his radio studio building and corrals unsuspecting people and asks them questions about things that are in the news.

Over the time I've heard these pop quizzes, I've been astonished, and often dejected, with the lack of awareness and knowledge of what should be basic subjects by a citizen who has graduated from high school and stays in tune with the news.

Granted, I've not heard every one of these shows, but have never heard any questions concerning arcane or little known events or facts. There's nothing like what does Article Two of the Constitution address. We're talking about basic things about government and history and current events.

Once, shortly after the annual National Geographic Geography Bee the street interviewer had a map of the United States, absent the names. The quiz was to ask the man (woman, guy, girl) on the street to point out the state that was given. The results were disappointing. Most could point out major states such as California and Texas. A couple of them, who were standing right in New York, were not able to point it out on a map on the first try. In fairness, they didn't actually live in New York. However, one of them lived in New Jersey and couldn't pick out New York on the map. I mean, c'mon, New Jersey is practically part of New York. Apologies to Garden State residents, I know you all are sensitive about that.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007, the subject of the Man on the Street pop quiz concerned The Fourth of July, Independence Day. Flirty Flipper put in a guest appearance to conduct the street interviews. During the prelude, Hannity asked her some of the questions they would ask that day. Flipper didn't fare so well. I guess that proves you don't have to know a whole lot to write a kids book.

The Independence Day Man on the Street result's were mixed. The quizee's ranged in age from about 21 to 33. All high school graduates, a couple in or graduated from college. The best was the first victim, Fresh, who probably did the best of all of them. However, when asked who he liked for the presidential race, he answered Hillary. When Hannity asked him what she had done that he liked, he had nothing, and said he would vote for her because she's a woman and it's time we had a female president. Sean asked if she was a Republican would he vote for her for the same reason, he said no. I guess we're only ready for a female president if she's a democrat.

As discouraging as the early results were, the last victim sent my optimism plummeting. She was a kindergarten teacher from Miami. I'm guessing she has to have at least a four year college degree in something, and maybe even a fifth year for a teaching certificate. She stumbled and stammered over the answers, finally coming up with England as being the country we fought to gain our independence. When asked what the name of that war was, she came up with WW1.


Some will say none of this stuff matters in everyday life, it's basically irrelevant. I disagree. A nation that doesn't have a grasp of it's history is a nation that will lose it's fervor to exist. There are just some basic things that have to be taught, and learned, in school. American History is one of those subjects. We are obviously failing.