Saturday, May 18, 2002

American Stupidity Watch

Once again, we are reminded just how ignorant our students are of our history, yawn, as if anyone is surprised. The author points at the national curriculum standard for inspiration:

"Take a look at 'Expectations of Excellence,' [NCSS's] 1994 curriculum standards for social studies, widely followed by education authorities as they draft state standards and curricula around the country. 'Thomas Jefferson, among others, emphasized that the vitality of a democracy depends upon the education and participation of its citizens,' this statement begins promisingly. But what follows is a yawning list of 'performance expectations,' ranging from the obscure to the impenetrable, about culture, economics, technology, 'continuity and change,' and personal identity, that includes no American history, no major documents, and only a smattering of references to government at all.

Of course, being a neo-con, he blames the leftist mindset of the policy maker. Of course, being a neo-con, I agree somewhat but like to add one trenchant point: The dumbing down of standards is more than just part of politically correct indoctrination, it's a conspiracy of laziness. What's easier to teach and learn: an analysis of the Constitution point by point or some fuzzy interpretation of what that great document means to some bubble gum snapping thirteen year old? Feelings, trends and interpretations are easy to teach because they are just commentary. Ditto with math: what's easier, teaching long division by hand or using a calculator? Guessing a close answer or actually figuring the problem out? People get what they earn, and too much in our society is predicated on cheap, shoddy shortcuts. So why be surprised? Try raising standards in some marginal school district and see what happens(a school board riot) when the parents realize their stupid, lazy Johnny and Sue can't graduate because they can barely read.