Jan 142007

On Friday, I was at the “Department of Safety” in town to get my driver’s license renewed. Behind me is a teenage boy and his dad, there to get his very first driver’s license. The kid is filling out the application, reading the questions aloud and asking his dad questions about them.

There were two questions he had that floored me, leaving me wanting to shake this kid and whoever has been responsible for his education.

The first question was this: “Dad, what’s an A-P-T number?”

Oh my God. How do you get to be fifteen or sixteen years old and not know common abbreviations? When I was a kid (and I don’t really think that was all that long ago) we actually studied abbreviations in school. It was part of our English curriculum. Had to learn the common abbreviations you see in everyday life, and the abbreviation for the word “apartment” was surely one of them.

The second question was: “What does it mean when it asks if I’m a U.S. citizen? I don’t know what that word means.”

Holy cow. This kid shouldn’t even be allowed to have a driver’s license. How can you possibly be a high school age American and not know the word “citizen?” Was this kid raised in a barn?

Well… maybe.

Regardless, how is it even remotely possible not to have learned the word “citizen” by the time you’re applying for a driver’s license? Has he not had to study government, civics, or even history in the presumably ten years or so he’s been in school? Ever? Really?

Pardon me while I go beat my head against the wall for a while.

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 Posted by at 5:56 PM

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