Skip to comments.Why are Americans so stunningly ignorant?
Posted on 12/05/2014 11:59:46 AM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
A history professor, writing in VEER (an arts and culture magazine published in Norfolk, Virginia), tells a startling anecdote:
A couple of years back, a student came to me for a conference, late in the semester, and asked, Which came first, the Civil War or the Revolutionary War? Never mind that we had spent a week on both, and that he had been in attendance (physically, at any rate), for all of those sessions.
Note that the professor and the student seem equally unashamed.
This is not a homeless man with a drug problem. This is an adult student taking a history course at Old Dominion University, a fairly prestigious college. But he does not know the answer to a question that is roughly equivalent to Whats 6×5? Furthermore, hes not the least bit aware that the question is foolish and he should be ashamed to ask it.
Meanwhile, the professor is similarly oblivious. He doesnt have any sense of shame that one of his students has learned so little. Why isnt the professor wringing his hands and screaming, how could I be such a failure? My students have learned nothing!
Just as striking, the professor makes no resolution to figure out what has gone wrong and how he can improve his teaching. Instead, he brazenly asserts the cliché that has gotten us into this mess:
Yes, the learning and retention of certain facts is important. But it receives far too much emphasis in conventional education, especially in this day and age when one can look up virtually any fact in a matter of seconds.
Far too much emphasis?? No, apparently not nearly enough, as he proves to the world. A college-age student doesnt know which came first, the Revolution or the Civil War, and this professor thinks there is too much emphasis on retaining certain facts. Arent we seeing a sort of liberal collective insanity? The very sophistries causing the problem are celebrated as if they are bold new wisdom. Clearly, the learning and retention of certain facts needs to receive far more emphasis.
He then adds a second cliche. Because virtually everything is on the Internet, you dont need to bother learning anything. Wherever ignorance rules, this goofy sophistry is the palace guard. Didnt we have encyclopedias 50 years ago that contained everything worth knowing? Did it ever occur to even the nuttiest professor to say, well, kids, you don't need to learn anything because its all right here in these books? In obedience to this nihilism, our public schools have often stopped teaching altogether. Welcome to Wasteland.
This professor, now on a roll, charges onward to a condemnation of everything that could save us:
But the greater challenge for me, as I see it, is that theres also much work to un-do. Thanks to Virginias Standards of Learning, and comparable initiatives in other states, my students come into my classrooms carrying a deeply ingrained notion that their minds are vessels; it is my task, many of them seem to believe, to fill them with knowledgeand it is their task to spit it back on tests or in papers.
What filling? What knowledge? What spitting back? Student who know virtually nothing have never experienced either the filling up or the spitting back.
If you want to understand why American public schools wallow in a swamp of mediocrity, its because this professors attitudes are epidemic, and have been for years. Educators at all levels robotically echo these pious hostilities toward the gathering of knowledge. Failure is built in, because all of education should start with a foundation of facts but typically does not. Young minds arrive as empty vessels .and they are kept empty.
When students have big gaps in their knowledge, its usually because the school didnt bother to fill those gaps. There is nothing obscure about this. Students wont learn much unless teachers teach, or at least set up a structure that forces the students to learn. Take your pick
Unfortunately, we have something new in our era, a celebration of non-teaching, of floating disdainfully above it all, of refusing to fill anyone with knowledge. The professors task, whatever it now is, does not include anything so trivial as dealing in knowledge.
Quite naturally, you have college students who dont know the basic facts of American history.
"Jaywalking": relevant video, 6 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Url1HL6oExk
VEER article: http://veermag.com/2014/09/seeds-of-passion/
Some are ignorant and some have wisdom.
Always been that way, always will.
Actual capability and accomplishment is punished.
Incompetence and failure are rewarded.
Radical Left teachers unions, Marxist college professors, national media an appendage of the Democrat party, depraved Hollyweird celubutard culture....need I gone on?
Well,.....what’s the answer?
A people inculcated in our history cannot be made servants of the state. Repeated early education in the Bill of Rights alone would probably be enough.
I am stunned, daily, at the lack if intellectual depth and understanding of American history by many people.
And I’m a High Skrewel drop out..
Okay, not really.
I mean, I left High Skrewel at 15 and went to college but, that was my Mom’s idea...
Perhaps we need to start firing incompetent teachers, based on their students’ achievement or lack thereof.
Four-plus decades of a public education system that was designed to do precisely that.
Where is Peruvia?
kill your television!!!
people who think white, Christian, males are historically responsible for the worlds oppression, have set up an educational system where they give Ritalin to the white boys and dumb down everyone.
and it has worked.
In 1990 I was a college student at a well regarded New England university. I came back to my dorm room after my microbiology final to find my roommate feverishly studying for a US history exam. She was frantically looking through her notes for some fact. She looked up at me and asked if I could help. I reminded her that I was a science major and history was not my forte but I could have a stab at it.
Her question.... what side did Lee fight for?
Blame parents and schools ( not just public ones)
Amen! Preach it, brother!
I’ll go ahead and state the obvious. Knowing that the Revolutionary War preceded the Civil War is not just the retention of meaningless facts. It’s the retention of a conceptual view of history that relates one event leading to another. It’s not possible for one person to know all facts of history, but knowing the difference between two of the very few most important events in your country’s history is nice. Especially if you plan to be a historian.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.