N.B.–Yes, I know there is a remnant, a small population of persons in this country who are at least moderately literate, and that there are many teachers who are simply prevented–by many factors–from teaching, but nevertheless…
A confluence of factors have led to a simple fact: as a class, Americans are stupid. Sure, there are exceptions, indeed many, otherwise this country would already have been flushed down history’s toilet. But as proof of my contention that at least a majority of Americans are stupid, simply look at who we’ve elected to Congress. That alone proves the case. We need not even look at the numerous surveys, from the 1980s and 1990s NALS to the more recent NAAL which reveal in the data (if not always in the highly “spin-factored” presentation of the data) that functional literacy, let alone real literacy, is fading fast in the U.S. Or the survey often cited here that indicates that around 70% of recent college graduates can’t read. And although no moderately literate person (such as myself or readers of this blog) doubts that historical illiteracy is just as rampant as functional illiteracy (could there be a link there, somewhere? *heh*) and that geographical illiteracy, mathematical illiteracy and all the host of other things supposedly taught in public schools (AKA “Prisons for Kids”) are vast regions of darkness in the minds of the electorate. What is this “confluence of factors” that have led to such a pass, and what can possibly be done about it?
But first, an admission: I cannot in any way address all the factors leading to the demise of learning in these (dis)United States in a blogpost. I’ll mention some major factors and their antidotes; that’s about it.
Some Major Factors:
Enstupiated, slothful, “dumb as a bag of hammers” parents who have ceded all responsibility for their children’s learning to “education” professionals. And not just ceded responsibility, do everything within their enstupiated power to make the situation worse. Fail little Johnny for not learning his ABC’s? Hold little Mary back for not learning simple addition? Why, the sky will fall, the sun go dim before average American Jane and John Doe will let poor lil Mary and Johnny have their po’ widdle feewings hurt like that! Besides, didn’t they excel at soccer, gymnastics, fingerpainting, “cooperative activities” etc.?
One reason that schools run by the GSA on military bases generally have students who actually, well, learn stuff is that the parents of “military brats” can be held accountable for their children’s school accomplishments and failures. (“Can”–not always “are”)
Remote educrats and their local minions: pubschool administrators. When the “feddle gummint” judiciary began mandating remote management of local schools (and legislatures, parents and pubschools meekly submitted) and attendant remote funding, the whole thing rapidly went to hell in a handbasket.
The first move we must make is to abolish the Department of Education, root and branch; fire them all and close down their programs. The few laws that make sense, like extra funding for “impacted” areas where local schools are responsible for educating federal employees and military dependents, can be taken over by General Services.
We should then work to abolish the Supreme Court’s legislation — it was not a judicial decision — removing local taxation as the main means of funding schools. That usurpation — there is no other word — by the Court, imposing a requirement on the states and not even Congress could have imposed — delivered control of the schools to bureaucrats far away, and turned most of the schools into prisons more concerned with maintaining attendance than doing their jobs. I know there are still some good schools. There are fewer all the time.
(Preach on, Jerry… *sigh*)
Sure, there are many other factors, including schools of “education” *spit*, disinformation by Mass Media Podpeople, politicians *spit* (and who, pray tell elects these worms? Eh?), and more, but the elephant in the drawing room is that no one seems willing to admit in public–or even more, commit to policy admitting in public–that the fundamental idea of an equality of public education is stupid, destructive and plain flat wrong.
And why is it impossible to get that simple idea across? Because of the stupid, destructive and plain flat wrong politically correct idea that everyone needs and can profit from an education that points toward college attendance (I refuse to say “a college education”). Face it: we do NOT live in Lake Wobegon where all children are above average. The Bell Curve is a real phenomenon, and half of the children are on the left side of the thing.
Used to was, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, people knew this. Not only knew it but lived their lives in an unconscious expression of this fact. Now, every little dummy must be made to feel as though they are geniuses. *Pfui*
Jensen’s original studies were intended to identify children who needed “training” as opposed to “education”. He did not start off trying to identify racial IQ characteristics. The problem is that if you use IQ tests, you WILL have more blacks in the “train rather than educate” track, and since this is unacceptable, the alternative is to attempt to educate everyone. As Frederick the Great observed, he who defends everything defends nothing. We may also observe that those who try to educate everyone generally educate no one.
Tracking and IQ have been outlawed in these United States. The result is that no child can get ahead; and of course that is the real meaning of No Child Left Behind. —op cit. 🙂
The first thing that needs doing: American parents need to be faced with some cold, hard facts: You are not as smart and well-educated as the education establishment, Mass Media Podpeople and politicians *spit* disingenuously portray you. And your little Jonny or Mary ain’t as smart as you’ve been led to believe (do note: they may be smarter, but you’d never know the truth from your local pubschools). And no matter how dumb you are/are not or how “intellectually challenged” little Johnny or Mary may or may not be, they are daily being made dumber by being subjected to our modern diseducation system, because you–the parents–aren’t getting mad as hell and “storming the Bastille” of pubschools…
After you–the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and concerned citizens– do get mad as hell, get busy as beavers tearing down the unholy alliance of remote educrats, schools of education, politicians *spit* and… slothful, stupid parents that is generating an ever more enstupiated citizenry.
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A small footnote…
*heh* The “geopolitical-historical illiteracy issue cropped up just the other day at our local video store. The new clerk, a young woman with an interesting Eastern European accent, commented on my last name, eliciting an etymological response from me. She then said, I bet you’ve never heard my last name” and came out with an expected Eastern European-sounding, three-syllable tongue twister… which I repeated to her, commenting that it sounded like a Romance-based language with Slavic influences. Her response: “You said my name! Nobody has done that since I moved here! Yes, I am from Moldavia. Do you know where that is?”
Yes, I knew. South of Belarus and the Ukraine, often considered part of Romania. Astounded her. Why? Because NOONE since she’d come to America had expressed to her any awareness of where her homeland was. Apparently, she had gotten into the practice of asking otherwise approachable folks if they iknew anything about her homeland and had become accustomed to blank stares.