Sunday, October 6, 2019

Dumbing America Down

Others have made the point, but with less vigor. Angelo Codevilla calls out “our thoroughly rotten educational establishment” for its systematic failures. It is not educating, but indoctrinating. It does not grade children on performance, but hands out good grades to make them feel good. It has succeeded in dumbing down the American mind. 

If you were wondering why we read more about ginned up political dramas than about governance, perhaps the reason is that the average American can only understand drama. Perhaps the intricacies of governance are beyond his ken. And if you were wondering why the nation sits impatiently awaiting the latest pronouncement from a high school dropout celebrity, perhaps the reason is that the average American cannot think beyond high school level. 

How badly a job have our educators been doing? Codevilla quantifies the problem:

During Word War II, only 4 percent of some 18 million draftees were illiterate. Despite (or because?) of massive expenditures on education over the subsequent two decades, 27 percent of the Vietnam war’s draftees were judged functionally illiterate. Between 1955 and 1991, the inflation-adjusted average K-12 per-pupil expenditure in America rose 350 percent. In 1972, 2,817 students scored 750 or better on each half of the SAT. By 1994, only 1,438 made this score though the test had been made easier. Today, U.S. 15 year olds rank 24th out of 71 countries in science, and 38th in math. In 2018, college students spent less than a third of the time their grandparents did studying for their classes.

So, we have a nation filled with incompetents, people who, Codevilla notes, cannot follow directions and who certainly cannot understand arguments:

No one should be surprised at the American people’s increasing incompetence and inability to follow directions—never mind arguments.

Of course, the mania about affirmative action and diversity has contributed mightily to the problem:

Harvard University hailed Judge Allison D. Burroughs’s decision that it had not really, really, discriminated against Asian applicants. The judge did not think it discriminatory that Harvard invited applications from Asian males only if they scored above 1380 out of 1400 on the PSAT, to Asian females only if they got over 1350, to white males only if over 1310, and admitted black students who were barely above the national average of 1000.  Nearly all other American institutions of higher education do similar things. For the Supreme Court to try undoing the bitter legacy of a half century’s “affirmative action” it would have to re-establish the authority of the dictionary.

You cannot promote diversity and excellence at the same time. It is true in the military and it is true in a university. Grade inflation at universities make it that nearly everyone gets an A now. When then president of Harvard Lawrence Summers raised the issue, several professors melted down… and accused him of racism.

And now we have a children’s crusade against climate science, led by a child who knows nothing about climate science;

The last two weeks’ spectacle of students—even children—screaming that the Earth’s fiery end is upon us in a decade unless we banish fossil fuels results directly from educators encouraging, if not requiring, students to indulge in a political campaign that masquerades as science. Again, the students are following the establishment’s incentives. Never mind that virtually the same slogans have been chanted for several decades and that no consequences have ensued. Say in class that the sun is the paramount influence on our climate, and that its energy is variable, expect a bad grade. What would it take for the educational establishment to prioritize the facts of physics and chemistry over their own fancies?

No more facts, only ideologically driven dogma.

Of course, everyone is worrying about the performance gap between minority students and white and Asian students. And most people believe that the best way to reduce the gap is to eliminate courses that minority students cannot follow. That is, by dumbing down the curriculum.

Of course, as we have occasionally reported, charter schools like New York’s Success Academies have succeeded in increasing minority youth performance, but that experiment does not interest educational reformers. These latter are more interested in teaching social justice, not math or physics. We recall that Stanford now has a social justice physics program to include those students who were accepted to fill diversity quotas.

In Seattle, the public school curriculum has been dumbed down to ensure that children will never learn anything… except perhaps how to be activist community organizers and general all-around trouble makers:

The Seattle public schools published a “K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework,” yet another step in a nationwide, decades-long, Progressive effort to dumb down the teaching of math. The program aims to “identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” “create counter narratives about the origins of mathematical knowledge,” “demonstrate mathematical literacy by applying concepts to real world problems through dialogue and story telling,” “redefine mathematical learning through cooperative learning, engagement, advocacy, and action,” “redefine mathematical learning through cooperative learning, engagement, advocacy, and action,” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.” While students are learning such things, they cannot be learning how to do basic algebra, never mind to derive solutions to problems of integral calculus.

Down with math. Down with science. Both were invented by white people, and thus are part of a worldwide criminal conspiracy to oppress non-white people. As for how our children are going to compete against Asian children in the world market… don't be too optimistic.


whitney said...

All you have to do is go back and read the letters from soldiers in the trenches just regular infantryman to realize how dumb we've gotten. And their handwriting is exquisite

Anonymous said...

In California, the majority of public school teachers are graduates of the Cal State colleges. 85% of incoming Cal State freshmen students need redial math and/or English. Coincidence?

sestamibi said...

Feminist math. The whole thing is worth watching, but the real fun starts at 1:33.

Bear in mind also that this came out in 2006, when we were already well into mass indoctrination.

Sam L. said...

The "education crowd" is actually a scam to prevent actual education with dis-education.

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding Dewey, Wilson, et al, might I suggest a book by Mary Grabar, "Debunking Howard Zinn." "Exposing the Fake History that Turned a Generation against America.
I know it should not be surprising to me that many a teacher in this country substituted Zinn's fabrications for American History. The 70's generation, I suspect, needed Zinn to give meaning to their desire to justify their many actions. Destroy a country's history, and one can destroy a country, Much of what one sees or hear is predicated on this destruction.

UbuMaccabee said...

It bears repeating: Ithaca delenda est. Ithaca delenda est. Ithaca delenda est.

Anonymous said...

My Latin is at least 60 years old. Civitates Foederatae Americae delenda est.