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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This will make you feel smart

Today sociologist Walter Williams published an article, The Education Establishment's Success, about how high schools and colleges have successfully dumbed down America's educational standards.

By way of example, Williams cites the following astounding statistics:

But it's not just K-12 students who are ignorant of our history. In a 1990 survey -- and there's been no improvement since -- almost half of college seniors couldn't locate the Civil War within the correct half-century. More recently, 60 percent of American adults couldn't name the president who ordered the dropping of the first atomic bomb, and over 20 percent didn't know where -- or even whether -- the atomic bomb had been used. The same people didn't know who America's enemies were during World War II (Germany, Japan and Italy). In a civics survey, more American teenagers were able to name The Three Stooges (Larry, Moe and Curly) than the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislative and judicial). A third of the people who were asked the origin of the statement "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" responded by saying it's from our Bill of Rights, when it's actually from "The Communist Manifesto."

It's always fun to hear facts like those. First, because there's something intrinsically funny about astonishing stupidity. And secondly, of course, because it gives us an opportunity to feel smug, secure in our own intellectual superiority. 

That was my reaction, anyway.


jova said...

for some reason it is not fun for me to hear these reports. It is depressing that the level of education in our country is so low.

I suspect many of the people who don't know our history are not very bright, but the fact that they can identify the 3 stooges indicates that the main problem is with our schools and culture. The marxists who now run the colleges where we educate teachers have helped destroy the teaching of American history. It is not an accident that Americans know little of our history, it is by design by the marxists in charge

John Craig said...

Jova --
I agree with you about the leftists in charge having perverted the teaching of American history; but I wouldn't blame all of this ignorance on them. I think it has partly to do with just the generally self-indulgent tilt of our society, which has gotten softer over the years because of all the prosperity we enjoyed for so long. I also think it probably has something to do with our shifting demographics.

jova said...

true , it is not all the fault of the leftists professors.
and not all the college professors are leftists. My minor was in education and while most of the education profs were "liberals", one of my education classes was taught by a former liberal. He opened my eyes to the conservative viewpoint and was very critical of the leftists ideology. This was in 1991 , I graduated in 1992. although I was certified to teach I ended up working on Wall street because I could not find a decent teaching position. Funny, but it was easier to get a job on Wall Street than to find a job teaching High School.

John Craig said...

Jova --
You poor thing. You had to settle for a paltry Wall Street salary when you were hoping to be raking in those big teacher bucks? Oh well.

Actually, teaching jobs are extremely hard to get nowadays, especially now that it's become obvious to many that private pensions do not compare with public pensions.

Are you still working on Wall Street?

jova said...

no, I was let go last year from Goldman Sachs. Worked their for 15 years, started out at a small firm in 1993. ended up working at Goldman when my firm was bought by them in 1999 after they went public.

thinking about going back to teaching, as the hours are good and would love having the summers off. But it is not easy finding a job at a decent school. I would not want to work in an inner-city school. did it as a substitute teacher in my first year after college. don't want to be a babysitter for kids who have no interest in learning. would like to teach at a private school, but the pay is too low

John Craig said...

Jova --
Fifteen years is actually a long time to survive at a place like GS. Hope you saved your money.

My parents were both teachers, and they appreciated the summers. I don't blame you for not wanting to work at an inner city school. My niece (from the Asian side of the family) did that for a few years, had a horrible experience. Said the black kids all hated her (I guess because the Japanese owned so many slaves).

I know private school teachers don't have all the UFT-mandated benefits, but it's a living, and public school teaching jobs are near impossible to get these days.