As some of you know, my posting here will be less frequent, and probably more superficial, over the next couple of months, but I’m hoping you all will continue to visit now and then and add your comments to anything here, as well as respond to each others’ thoughts.
As an example of the ‘more superficial stuff’ that I’ll be offering here for a little while, for lack of time to spend on anything more serious, I submit the following four observations that I mentally catalogued within just the past few weeks – without comment – as microcosmic evidence of what I believe is representative of what is happening in America 2007, in education in particular, although its tentacles reach into all segments of our society. This is why I created this weblog: to discuss America’s decline, and perhaps come up with a strategy to awaken those who are unaware of what we have lost, and the price we will pay if we continue to travel this dismal path, with our every move choreographed by those who despise liberty and justice, and who believe themselves to be members of a ruling elite, to whom power over others is a privilege not to be denied.
They are attempting to demean, degrade, and dumb us down as a people, through our education system, our entertainment choices and our channels of information, and by restricting our liberties through oppressive taxation, laws and judicial fiat.
I do not believe that the following four occurrences are aberrations. I believe they are typical of what is happening in education today. Yes, there are young people who strive to excel, and who thirst to learn, in spite of the counterfeit ‘education’ that is offered to them. But too many young people, and their families behind the scenes, are too otherwise occupied to realize, let alone do anything about, the fact that education in America is not what it used to be, nor what it should be.
Much of what is ‘taught’ these days in the public school classroom, and in so-called higher education, is leftist propaganda, and the basics … necessary for the survival of a free, civilized society … be damned.
Likewise, the teaching methods used today rely more on providing a pre-ordained, robotic road map, rather than inspiring original thought or critical thinking. Most young products of the modern American public education system, if not provided a familiar, by-rote ‘go from A to B to C’ outline as to how to solve a problem, do not possess the tools to discover, or invent, the answer to anything.
I am tutoring (in statistics) a former piano student who is now a sophomore at a local campus of Penn State. Dustin is perhaps the most diligent, hard-working, ambitious young man I have ever known. From the time he was twelve years old, he has purchased, or salvaged, broken down farm tractors and brought them back into working order. The profits he has made in doing that for the past eight years, as well as performing countless odd jobs with his Dad (moving entire households, interior/exterior house painting, small construction work, etc.), have paid for the first two years of his college education.
During this week’s lesson, Dustin told me that a good portion of the students in his statistics class are minorities, some of whom are attending school on minority government grants/loans. There are twenty-six students in his class, and the large majority of them bring no book, no paper, and no pencil to class. They slouch down in their chairs, and simply stare at the instructor, or out the window, the entire class.
The fellow who sits next to him does not turn his cell phone off during class, and it generally rings two or three times during each class period – the ring tone being a vulgar rap ‘song’, words and all. The instructor (a capable young woman with a thick Indian accent, who, Dustin says, appears to be very intelligent and dedicated to teaching well, but her accent makes it difficult to understand her) has never mustered the courage to tell him to turn it off.
Last week the students were given one week’s time to take a half-hour on-line quiz. The day after the quiz deadline, the instructor came into the class and said that she would be extending the deadline for taking the quiz two more days, because only fourteen of the twenty-six people in the class had bothered to go on-line and take it.
Why is a hard-working, ambitious student finding himself stifled and distracted by other students who apparently have no desire to learn or succeed? And why are some of the latter attending (and apparently doing no more than attending) college on your and my tax dollars?
A few nights ago, Rick and I were watching the quiz show ‘The Weakest Link’ for the first (and last) time. The contestants were eight college juniors and seniors, each one from a ‘respected’ college/university. Toward the middle of the program, one of the girls was asked, ‘In what century did World War II occur?’
She responded, ‘The 70s.’
In my college generation (the late 60s/early 70s) it would have been virtually impossible to find a college junior who did not know what a century is, or when World War II occurred. What are college students studying these days that leaves them little time to learn the history of their republic?
Our son, Dan, teaches physics at a vo-tech high school, and has been teaching a unit on nuclear energy in his physics classes for the past two years. The large majority of Dan’s classes are original and involve significant hands-on study, and the requiring of creative thought and in-depth analysis.
As one of many examples of his assignments in this class, he would split the class up into groups, assign each group a fictitious power plant in a specific part of the country, and a specific amount and type of nuclear waste that required disposal from that plant. He would then also assign them a waste disposal site in another part of the country. Their assignment was then to determine how best to dispose of the waste (taking into account the health and environmental risks posed by the particular waste, transport safety considerations, traffic and population considerations, local and state restrictions, etc.).
Before Dan began teaching at this school, there were only two physics classes offered. Now there are four, and there are waiting lists for all of them. His students are inspired by his teaching methods, his subject matter, and the relevance of what they learn.
He was told this year that, due to state mandates regarding subject matter to be taught in physics classes, he can no longer teach anything on nuclear energy, but must substitute, instead, other areas of physics pre-ordained by the state department of education.
Also, as a result of the state’s implementation of No Child Left Behind standards, the administration at the school is considering abolishing physics courses altogether in order to devote that portion of their science curriculum to meeting the NCLB general science requirements (which include increased emphasis on environmental studies).
In this particularly perilous time in American history, would young people most benefit from comprehending the basics behind nuclear energy and its uses and consequences, or the bogus theory behind most ‘environmental issues’? If the answer is the former, why are good physics teachers being forced to ignore timely and relevant subjects in deference to teaching a bogus theory based on fraudulent ‘science’?
A third grade piano student of mine who enjoys telling me about her day before we begin each lesson came to her lesson a few weeks ago and told me that she has decided what she wants to do when she grows up. She wants to ‘save the polar bears’. When I asked her what made her so passionate about polar bears, she replied, ‘We are learning all about the bad things that we are doing to the polar bears and all other animals and plants because we are making the earth too hot for them. We have to stop putting things into the air that make the earth too hot, and I want to do that for the animals and plants.’
What is the difference between education and indoctrination? And beginning at what grade level is indoctrination acceptable? Should an eight-year old be concerning herself with the potential (manufactured) sad fate of the polar bear before she has learned to work with fractions, or the tragic story of the Civil War? Should a young citizen of a free country graduate from college expertly versed in the former and totally ignorant of the latter?