By Zach Foster
This is one in a series of articles responding to issues discussed by the President in his 2011 State of the Union address.
One critical element the President mentioned that needs improvement is education. He cited that half the jobs in America require higher education, yet one out of four American teens does continue with education past high school. This is indeed a problem, and one that is attributed to multiple factors in today’s society.
The greatest contributing factor to the rate of college graduates (and the quality of education) water sliding down into oblivion is the hollowness of standards and curriculum. Fifty years ago, the basic curriculum of most American high schools was entirely more worldly and sophisticated than it is today. Students used to read Shakespeare in middle school and they would learn advanced algebra and read the ancient philosophers in high school. One social critic named Tom R, a politically active Republican from
and a good friend of the author’s, stated that “I saw the math and English homework my son was working on in his second year of college and I instantly recognized it. It was the same material I’d mastered by my sophomore year in high school.” This is a testimony to the severe dumbing down of curriculum in high schools and colleges alike. Why would teachers and professors destroy the curriculum? There are many causes to speculate. Mariposa County
Jack Wood, an English and Advanced Rhetoric teacher at
, writes about the travesty of today’s education in his book The Voice of Reason. He elaborates on several absurdities: Citrus College
“Second and third-rate colleges in
are now run like Soviet committees after the Revolution. Everything that ruined education in America began in the sixties, when liberals replaced something that worked with something that sounded good. As if they were the only people who ever thought of it, half-bright professors at colleges where it was easy to get a job changed the job description of professor from ‘teaching the basucs’ to ‘taking a more activist role in changing society.’” America
“Once again, the time frame of reference is about the same: 30 years ago. That’s when the serious, analytical study of literature for its own sake—as a treasure of knowledge and art, was mugged and taken over by charlatans with a sociological agenda—who use literature to advance their own personal causes.”
The author of this article was talking with his sister about her son (his nephew), and the major complaint regarded his history teacher: “She actually said to my face, ‘Oh, history’s not important. We just teach the kids how to pass a test.’”
All these anecdotes are testimony of the watering down of academic curriculum in public schools. They also testify that mediocrity not only prevails, but has become a standard in its own right. The first step to restoring education in
is doing away with mediocrity (in both public and private schools). Standards must be raised. Unfortunately, because of massive deficiencies in education, standards will have to be raised slowly over a period of five to ten years in order to not destroy the students of this generation who have no control over the mediocrity forced into their brains. America
Part 2: Turn the tables! Reeducate the teachers!