American education is in a major crisis, with the average teenager unable to evaluate and analyze information, part of the success story required as an adult competing in a world economy.
The nation is fraught with danger if this reality is not overcome and soon. How can we have a thriving democracy if much of the population is unable to make good judgments on all kinds of issues, including, but not limited to who should govern them?
Sixty five countries were evaluated on reading, science, and math skills, and American 15 year olds ranked 19th in reading, 22nd in science, and 29th in math!
Asian countries rank at the top, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. European nations, including Finland, Germany, and Poland also scored much better than the United States.
Reading has become a lost art, as young people have demonstrated that their attention spans and concentration powers are weaker than in past generations, a lot due to too much time spent on video games social media, and cell phone trances, and in the process losing valuable time in learning that comes from reading all kinds of materials.
Science is in crisis, as more than ever, people are being influenced by religious fundamentalism, which denies scientific reality, and endangers the future of human existence, in favor of belief in faith over facts.
Math is also a disaster area, as most people cannot do basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and percentages, let alone higher math requirements for society to advance.
Poverty is a major issue, but also the lack of enough days of schooling, with the average American only attending 180 days a year, while in many other nations, especially in Asia, students attend 230 days, a difference of 10 weeks of education annually!
Trying to attract the top talent into teaching is also in crisis, as pay is very low overall in America, and men in particular are not drawn into the profession in any field of study, with the potential to make more in the business world.
The words of Friedrich Nietzsche come to mind after reading your posting.
“Faith means not wanting to know what is true.”
“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”
“Great intellects are skeptical.”
I attended a wedding in Delaware and at the reception they sat me and my wife with the head of the Southern Delaware Republican Party. Â Their son was with us and was in his freshman year of college. Â When I asked him what he was studying, he ran off a list of subjects but followed up with this statement, “don’t worry… I’m not going to let those professors to corrupt me.”
I was first shocked then thought, what a waste of money for the exposure of knowledge if you have already established such a nihilistic mind set.
It is sad that this student said this, and it shows his dad is interested in mind control, very sad indeed! Thanks, Engineer!
Sad but true, my son had to deal with the pervasive liberal attempts of liberal brainwashing throughout his Maryland university experience.This is well known to be the norm.
Well stated Professor. The Republicans have instituted a “war on expertise” in any subject. Has any party been to dedicated to the proposition that not only should people come up with nutty ideas , like a woman ‘s body can shut down pregnancy during rape, but also that they should cultivate these outrageous made up ideas, repeat them over and over while berating ANY expert who submits facts, research and proof to repudiate their nutty ideas. Our country is living through an unprecedented decade of richly empowered hooey and it ‘s all being hatched on the right and they are hell bent on teaching the young the same hooey!
By the way Professor…..Happy Birthday in a couple hours! I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy every minute. You deserve it…..
Liberals ain’t brainwashing anyone Davy Knows Nothing. Sorry to bust your bubble about that.
Dave, you do not get the point. One is supposed to be challenged to have different thoughts than the narrow thoughts of many parents, who promote religion over science, obedience over analysis and interpretation, fixed principles instead of open mindedness! I hope your son has different ideas than you, as if he does not, then he is handicapped for his future, and that is tragic!
Thanks, Maggie, for your birthday wishes!
Nice speech, but it has little to do with the liberal narrow minded college atmosphere experienced by my son and thousands of others.
Exactly right Professor!
What Davy can’t comprehend and is his short coming of his logic, (or lack of logic,) when distinction of any kind, even intellectual distinction, is somehow resented as a betrayal of the American spirit of equal opportunity for all, the result must be just this terror of individualistic impulses setting us apart, either above or below our neighbors; just this determination to obey without questioning and to subscribe with passion to the conventions and traditions.
The dilemma becomes a very real one: How can this sense of democratic equality be made compatible with respect for exceptional personalities or great minds? How can democracy, as we understand it today, with its iron repression of the free spirit, its monotonous standardization of everything, learn to cherish an intellectual aristocracy without which any nation runs the risk of becoming a civilization of the commonplace and the second-rate?
The root of progressive minds, in a word, is hatred of compulsion, for progressives have the respect for the individual and his conscience and reason which the employment of coercion necessarily destroys. The progressive has faith in the individual. Faith that he can be persuaded by rational means to beliefs compatible with social good.
The worst of what “Know Nothing Davy” represents, are those who behave like plundering troops when dealing with education. They take away a few things they can use, selectively perverting the whole meaning, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole truths.
Engineer, thank you for answering Dave, who sadly, wants his son to avoid challenge to authority and acceptance of narrow minded views. I hope his son liberates himself from his dad, and has his own views, as otherwise, it is tragic!