The American Dream
January 11, 2012
Are we raising the stupidest generation in American history? The statistics that you are about to read below are incredibly shocking. They indicate that U.S. high school students are basically as dumb as a rock. As you read the rest of this article, you will be absolutely amazed at the things that U.S. high school students do not know. At this point, it is really hard to argue that the U.S. education system is a success. Our children are spoiled and lazy, our schools do not challenge them and students in Europe and in Asia routinely outperform our students very badly on standardized tests. In particular, schools in America do an incredibly poor job of teaching our students subjects such as history, economics and geography that are necessary for understanding the things that are taking place in our world today. For example, according to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find Iraq on a map of the world. According to that same survey, 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can’t even find the state of New York on a map. If our students cannot even find Iraq and New York on a map, what hope is there that they will be able to think critically about the important world events of our day?
Sadly, almost every survey or study about high school students that gets done shows that most of our students are not even receiving a basic education.
For example, the following comes from an article posted on MSNBC….
Just 13 percent of high school seniors who took the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress — called the Nation’s Report Card — showed solid academic performance in American history.
So only 13 percent of our high school seniors are proficient in history?
That doesn’t sound good.
So what does that mean exactly?
Well, there have been some other surveys and studies that have quizzed U.S. high school students about specific historical facts.
The following are some of the absolutely amazing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core….
*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.
*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.
*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion. (This is a topic that I touched on yesterday).
*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.
Even more shocking were the results of a survey of Oklahoma high school students conducted back in 2009. The following is a list of the questions that were asked and the percentage of students that answered correctly….
What is the supreme law of the land? 28 percent
What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26 percent
What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27 percent
How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10 percent
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14 percent
What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61 percent
What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43 percent
We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11 percent
Who was the first President of the United States? 23 percent
Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29 percent
Some have criticized the survey results above because they came from a telephone survey, but the truth is that they are not some sort of an anomaly. Many other surveys have produced similar results. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that a large percentage of our high school students are as dumb as a rock.
The following is from an article written by reporter Mark Morford in which he described his conversations with a longtime Oakland high school teacher that was nearing retirement….
It’s gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.
Now, you may think he’s merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it.
Later on in that same article, Morford tells us that the high school teacher even admitted that very few of his students even know how to put a sentence together….
It gets worse. My friend cites the fact that, of the 6,000 high school students he estimates he’s taught over the span of his career, only a small fraction now make it to his grade with a functioning understanding of written English. They do not know how to form a sentence. They cannot write an intelligible paragraph. Recently, after giving an assignment that required drawing lines, he realized that not a single student actually knew how to use a ruler.
It is not that our students do not have the capacity to be great.
It is just that they have learned to be incredibly lazy and our schools do not challenge them at all.
One study found that 55 percent of all U.S. high school students spend 3 hours or less per week preparing for class.
Other nations require their students to work far longer and far harder.
And they get much better results.
Today, American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.
So how do we expect to compete if this continues?
If we would just challenge our students and require more out of them we could do so much better. What most public schools are doing right now simply does not work. The following is from a report that John Stossel did a few years ago entitled “Stupid In America“….
I talked with 18-year-old Dorian Cain in South Carolina, who was still struggling to read a single sentence in a first-grade level book when I met him. Although his public schools had spent nearly $100,000 on him over 12 years, he still couldn’t read.
So “20/20” sent Dorian to a private learning center, Sylvan, to see if teachers there could teach Dorian to read when the South Carolina public schools failed to.
Using computers and workbooks, Dorian’s reading went up two grade levels — after just 72 hours of instruction.
His mother, Gena Cain, is thrilled with Dorian’s progress but disappointed with his public schools. “With Sylvan, it’s a huge improvement. And they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re on point. But I can’t say the same for the public schools,” she said.
It absolutely amazes me how millions upon millions of our students can get all the way through high school without ever learning how to read, write or speak at a functional level.
Instead of producing the leaders of tomorrow, our education system is producing a bunch of sheep that are trained to take orders and that are pretty good at taking multiple choice tests.
If you want to get really depressed about the future of America, just watch some of the Jaywalking segments that Jay Leno does. Yes, it is funny to watch as he demonstrates how little Americans actually know about world events. But it is also a sign of how far our education system has fallen.
If Americans cannot even answer basic factual questions about our own government, then how in the world will anyone ever be able to persuade them to think critically about the Federal Reserve, the economic crisis or about ourcorrupt political system?
Our children are the future of this nation, and right now that future is looking quite bleak.
So what do all of you think about the U.S. education system? Do any of you have any education horror stories to share? Do you believe that our schools have rapidly gone downhill? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:19 am