In a stunning Pewter Poll, it was revealed today that a majority of American high schoolers think civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was president of the United States before his assassination in 1968.
About 3,169 high schoolers from grade 9 through 12 were polled on Jan. 16 in a survey that simply asked if Martin Luther King Jr. was ever the president of the United States. The results shocked Pewter, who reported 67 percent of high schoolers thought King has held that office.
Sarah Small, a 9th grader in Ohio, told USA Today, “Of course he was president. I follow politics. He was the first black president. That’s why we celebrate his birthday, duh.”
“He was a great man,” said Tommy Jones of Los Angeles. “Too bad they killed him for being the first black president.”
Results were equal among male and female students but the percent of incorrectness actually rose through the grade with more 12th graders getting the question wrong compared to 9th graders.
New York Times editor Wally Joyce said, “It was a remarkable poll. How could a teenager think MLK was president? The students weren’t that young when Barack Obama became president. How did they not know Obama was the first black president?”
Some statisticians say the report shows how much more accepting the younger generation is of different races and culture. “It’s as if these kids didn’t know of America’s racist past,” pollster Matt Tenison told Yahoo! News. “I’m not sure if that part of history is being glossed over by the history books but the results of the poll were amazing. We are still studying the implications of this seemingly simple poll and our conclusion will be reported in the next few months.”
To the principal’s office
Principals across the country were angry with the questionnaire.
“The wording tricked them up,” Principal Peter Sakes of Wausau West High School in Wisconsin told The Wausau Herald. “The question put too much pressure on them so they reacted like any teenager would: by making something up. I assure you all our students know that Martin Luther King was a negro civil rights leader in the ’40s, not the president of these United States.”
Other teachers disagreed with the principal’s response.
“Many students simply don’t pay attention in class. They just know they get the day off school,” said Susan Thompson of Union, N.J. “This is what happens when we teach for the standardized tests. We skip over basic knowledge these kids should be learning.”