Thursday, January 23, 2014

I keep reading stories about how America is falling way behind in the education sweepstakes. Our kids don't seem to know anything about math and science and we don't even teach them things like history, geography and civics. And then we wonder why they can't make change and don't know where Canada is.

We need to stop blaming the teachers and the schools for this. We get what we ask for. Parents basically let their kids focus on more relevant things like video games and reality shows. And that has become their level of expertise.

We lost the education battle when we, as a society, turned our children over to the Department of Education.Yes, the same people who have a lower favorability rating than used car salesmen have been directing the education of our children for several decades. And we're surprised that the education system now works about as well as Congress?

Ultimately, however, the parents allowed this to happen. They were so busy legalizing marijuana and making sure "no child was left behind," that they forgot to care whether children had the skills or energy to get ahead. I wrote a piece a few years ago that addressed this problem directly. Dumbing Down the Population(Granite Grumblings: Life in the "Live Free or Die" State, 2011) still applies today.

Glenn K. Currie
 

Dumbing Down the Population

 

I believe it is a waste of time to try to improve our educational system. The problem isn’t with the schools…it is with the parents.

How can we expect the kids to be able to excel, when most of the parents have had their brains operating in the standby mode since before the kids were born.

Ever since the 1960’s, we have been practicing a sort of “reverse Darwinism”, whereby the public, fresh from frying their brains on drugs and alcohol, and tuning in to television on a regular basis, has gradually lost the ability to think. These people then mated with others of similar experience, and we suddenly had a new breed of child arriving on the planet. These children are immune to learning. I call it the “if Keanu Reeves married Pamela Anderson, their kids would have trouble working a light switch” syndrome.

Now before you get too upset, I should clarify that I am definitely not talking about you or your children. The fact that you are reading this article clearly shows you are not in this group. No, I am referring to all those others out there who have demonstrated difficulty dealing with the simplest concepts, and have seemingly lost the ability to speak in sentences.

My theory on the rising level of stupidity of the general population is supported by the following:

1)      A substantial number of voters in Florida recently raised a major issue over the difficulty of reading and filling out the “butterfly ballot”. Since then, several tests of this ballot in grade schools have shown that fourth graders found this ballot to be easier to use than the water cooler. It has also been proven that a trained hamster, with good food incentives, could fill out this ballot successfully. What is the voter telling us?

2)      When discussing the recent tax cut, the media has found it necessary to repeatedly tell us that those who don’t pay taxes may not get much of a tax cut. This concept has apparently been so difficult to understand by the general populace, that reporters have felt the need to emphasize it ad nauseum. Let’s study it one more time. In order to really benefit from a tax cut, you may need to pay taxes. Apparently this surprises a lot of our population. I imagine they are the same ones who rush down to the auto dealers every time a $1000 rebate is announced. The disappointment must be enormous when they find out that, to be eligible, they must first buy a car.

3)      We have just witnessed the biggest speculative bubble in history by investors in “dot coms”. We used to laugh at the idiots in Europe a few hundred years ago who threw away fortunes investing in tulip bulbs. Well guess what? We have proven ourselves to be even bigger idiots. We lost more money, and lost it quicker, and all we have to show for it is some bad paper. At least the tulip bulb investors could console themselves with some pretty flowers.

4)      Even the general population itself, as represented by our class action lawyers, admits to being brain-challenged regarding cigarette smoking. We have all known for years that cigarettes were “coffin nails”, and there have been labels on every cigarette pack for decades telling us that smoking was hazardous to our health. And yet we can still win lawsuits for $3 billion because we didn't realize those warnings could actually mean that smoking was bad for us. When the juries rule in favor of the smoker, what they are really saying is that Americans are too stupid to be responsible for their own decisions, and too dumb to read and understand the labels.

5)      Finally, just turn on your TV and watch the doings of current celebrities like Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen and the inhabitants of Jersey Shore. Hollywood, which many say reflects our society, has come a long way from the days of Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Hepburn and Lucille Ball, and the trip (no pun intended) has not been a productive one.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. The general population of this country has been defined by juries, the media, and the voters themselves, as incompetent nincompoops. Is it any wonder that the offspring of this population aren’t winning the education sweepstakes?

So let’s stop blaming the teachers, the school committees, and the textbooks. The bottom line is that we are fast becoming a nation of troglodytes, and our kids will be lucky if they can work a garden rake by the time we get through with them.