Signs of a failing nation: Education

This post is the third of the theme of the trend towards failure of our current civilization. Monday’s post was on the subject of factionalism. Yesterday’s post was on the failure to secure our borders. Today’s subject is the failure of education.

The failure of education is not solely a US issue.  We see the same trends in Europe and other “first world” countries.  There is opposition of this trend in southern Asia (India) and coastal Asia, Taiwan, Japan and portions of coastal China.

Anyone here in the US over the age of 50 can see how education has changed.  When I was in elementary and high school, we were taught, reading, US and global geography. We were required to memorize all US  and Canada state capitols, European geography, borders, major rivers and national capitols, the same for the Mideast, Africa, Asia and the major Pacific Islands.  Surprisingly, we didn’t study the territory of the former USSR because, “the Soviets kept changing the city names and internal boundaries and we can’t keep up.”  That statement was from one of my high school teachers—a WW2 and Korean War disabled veteran.

We were also taught writing—handwriting specifically, grammar and composition along with government, US and Western History.  

We were required to take and pass state examinations on our state (Illinois) constitution and US constitution for graduation from high school. If  you didn’t pass, you re-took that test until you passed or you didn’t graduate.  Many students took the class in their Junior year. The class was taught again during summer-school for those who failed the first time.

My mother was a teacher. She started teaching me to read when I was four years old. I was able to read the comics in our local paper when I was in the first grade.  I wasn’t unusual, many first-graders could read enough to read the comics. 

It was the stated goal in my country school that every child would have the reading skills to read and comprehend the newspaper—not just the comics, but also the front page.  We were taught phonics to enhance reading. We were taught the relationship between letters and combination of letters and sounds. And, we were taught to use the dictionary. Every third-grade student was required to have a dictionary in their desk.  If parents didn’t have one at home, one could be purchased through the school and the parents would be billed.

Now take a look at the list above and compare that with our current school curriculum.  Reading? Sight reading, no phonics. Spelling? Not in my local school district. When I was in grade school, we posted our spelling, math, drawing, and samples of our handwriting on the school room’s walls. We had monthly PTA meeting—at night so everyone could attend. If a parent worked at night, the other parent attended.  Parents roamed the school rooms and closely examined their children’s scores and compared those scores to others in their class. Kids who scored low often received a spanking when they got home.

Returning to the comparison between then and now. We were taught geography. Not today. We were taught writing and composition, not today. We were required to take and pass state tests on US and state governments. Not today. We were taught US and World/Western history.  If taught today, the lesson must adhere to socialist philosophy and has been heavily altered to conform to political correctness—regardless of the validity of those changes.

The Wisconsin teachers are upset with changes proposed by Scott Walker.  Earlier this week it was revealed the 66% of Wisconsin 8th graders did not score as “proficient.”

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating of “below basic.”    

Those of us who are old enough to remember the education of ourselves recognize the failure of education of today.  Today, we have “social” promotions in school and graduate students who are functionally illiterate.  We have the education system who supports open registration for our colleges and universities regardless of test scores. The failure rates of first and second year university students is astounding and largely ignored.

How can we expect our future generations to be capable of self-government when they have no understanding of our representative republic and how that is different from mobocracy democracy?

Civilization requires an educated populace. When my generation passes, that will no longer exist.

5 thoughts on “Signs of a failing nation: Education

  1. I have a story to show how bad education has gotten. There was a lady that was about my age(mid-30's) who graduated from NYU. What I concider to be Ivy League. She was also from New York.

    But the woman actually thought that the Civil War was in 1917. I kid you not.

    Take I never went to college, even I know that the Civil War was during the 1860's.

  2. I have noted the decline as well. After 11 years as an adjunct instructor at the local community college (part time). I am not returning in the fall.

    In my case its not so much the lack of general knowledge its the fact that the product of this system is rude, does not want to learn, and generally mentally exhausting to be around in an instructor role.

    I concur with your assessment of the situation.

  3. Concur- I also have a teaching degree (BS Ed Adult Education), but I will NEVER use it, because I frankly do not want to deal with the 'product' coming into JCs and Adult Ed centers today…

    Friend of mine (we went through together), retired and did adult ed for about 5 years, he is now driving a cement truck… AND PREFERS IT!

  4. Our son had a brand new teacher when he was in 2nd grade, fresh meat! She expressed concern that he wasn't reading at grade level, which we were already aware of. He loved being read to, had a vocabulary better than many high schoolers but for some reason just wasn't getting it. When I talked with her I found out "they" did not believe in phonics! I told her I would teach them at home and she told me I would only confuse him. Long story short, within a few months he was the top reader in his class and was reading at a high school level by the end of his 5th grade year. The young teacher actually admitted she was wrong and said she believed the district should add it back to the curriculum. I am baffled at how "dumb" the kids are coming out of our public schools, we are failing.

  5. Granted, I went to a public school and graduated in 2004, but then again, my father was also an education major, so he made sure his children did relatively well.

    My father is looking forward to his retirement in 2015, when he can draw a pension and then go back and teach part-time. (He enjoys teaching students who want to learn, but those are few and far to him right now.)

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