Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

Published: March 16, 2016

By Jim Lichtman
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With the shameful shenanigans demonstrated by all the name-calling, four-letter words, and rally violence by certain presidential candidates, you can only imagine what grade-schoolers think. That’s just what CBS News correspondent Chip Reid wanted to know.


Reid sat down with five 5th graders, Max, Ella, Brynn, Ananya and Will, to ask them what they think about the 2016 presidential race and their responses reveal how much kids listen and understand exactly what’s happening.

“Are you tired of [the candidates] being mean to each other?” Reid asked.

“Yes,” the students responded.

“Are you tired of them talking over each other?” Reid asked.

“Yes,” they said.

“Are you tired of them making fun of each other?” Reid asked.


Reid then asked, “Where do you think all that started?”

“Donald Trump,” the students said in unison.

“Do you think a lot of people like Donald Trump because of the issues or because he’s entertaining, or both?”

“Because he’s entertaining,” Ananya said.

Even a FIFTH GRADER knows the difference between issues and entertainment.

“Does it surprise you that people support him?” Reid asked.

“Yeah,” they all said.

“He says he’s gonna make American great again,” Reid followed-up. “Do you believe him?”

All five said no.

“I think he’s gonna make it worse,” Will said.

Reid observed that the students were paying close attention to several issues: terrorism, immigration, and gun control.

Reid asked, “Donald Trump has said that one way you deal with terrorism is just keep all Muslims out of the country, from coming into the country for now.”

“That’s not the way,” Will said.

“Not all Muslims are bad,” Max said.

“Yeah, some Muslims are probably super nice,” Will said.

Clearly, this group of fifth graders is not only smarter than Trump supporters, but more importantly, they understand the meaning of respect and responsibility particularly when it comes to the qualities necessary for a president.


  1. No point in disputing the theme of the story, but one should examine the source. This charter school, which has a strict admission policy, favors brothers and sisters of existing students, is YES, free as it is part of Loundoun County public school system. This county has the highest median income of comparable counties in the the U.S. with population over 65,000. It is located 25 miles from Washington, DC, where I might guess many of the parents work for the giant government complex, and it is verified that Loundoun voted Obama both 2018 and 2012. At home these kids HEAR their parents do the Trump bashing and take it to school. I bet CBS, had it bothered to look, could have found a completely different concept at another school in another city. I could name several if asked. Not knocking Jim’s essay, just saying “Where you take your poll seems to make a bit of a difference.”

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