Education In America!

I am sitting here reading some of my favorite blogs, and in the background my wife has the TV going and is watching the program, "Are you smarter than a Fifth Grader?". The contestant is a High School Biology teacher who had been recently voted as the, "Teacher of the Year" in his State. Sitting in the audience with his parents, is the Principal of the school where he teaches. He appeared to be "thirty something" in age. The Principal looked to be in her early fifties. He is going for a $175,000.00 dollar question. And that Question was: "Canberra is the Capitol of what Country"?

Well after he hemmed and hawed for a few minutes he came up with the answer of, Uzbekistan! Now I'm screaming at the TV and calling this guy every derogatory name I can think of! And he goes with that answer. Then they turn to the kid who has written an answer down in secret and ask her, a fifth grader the same question. She wrote the correct answer of Australia, but they haven't revealed to all of us whether the guy is right or if she is. They they turn to the Principal sitting there and ask her if Australia is the right answer. To my complete amazement and total chagrin, she looks at the camera and says, "No, it sure isn't Australia"!

After I pried myself off the ceiling and wiped all the spit off my face and chest, I sat here in total denial that two people from the same school system could be that stupid! Or maybe not! Could it be that it is the fault of the good ole system of education in this country has been going down the tubes for the last 50 years, and that this is one instance of the culmination of the process? After years of teaching kids to have self esteem, and to be politically correct, don't touch the girls in your class, don't you dare to bring a pocket knife to school little boy, don't spit on the sidewalk, that they have completely forgotten to teach the kids anything of any real value in their 13 years in school?

It is high time for this country to get back to the basics of education FIRST, and then move on to all that esoteric bullshit when they are old enough to understand what it is all about.

Update: Latest contestant has a "[{Masters degree In Education}]" and he DID NOT KNOW that Juneau Alaska was the furthest north state capital! He picked Bangor Maine!Duh! Isn't it Augusta? And the last question this genius blew was, "Who was the first person in 1953 to climb to the top of Mt Everest"? If any younger person than 35 doesn't know, it was Sir Edmund Hillary. I am just beside myself with despair!!! TIFN


Old NFO said...

Ev, I firmly believe that today a degree does nothing more than 'certify' that you have paid a bunch of money for X years to attend some school, not that you have actually LEARNED anything. sigh...

disenchanted said...

I can't argue with this posting. During a conversation on American History I encountered a young adult who confessed that he did not know why the Civil War was fought or where or when it was fought. My first response was---"Are you a Canadian?" Hoping that it was a matter of culture, rather than intelligence.

Alas! The young adult was a native born American Citizen! Ye gads!

Sam said...

I agree that a Bachelor's Degree doesn't mean much these days, like you can do your time there or in the military and do equally well. It is a Master's Degree that counts, and I doubt that people with a Master's would stoop as low as teaching public school kids, as the pay usually isn't all that good.

It should be pointed out that remembering facts such the capital of certain states and countries is not what makes you smart - it just means you can remember things. I have books and almanacs for that kind of thing (and I hate to admit, "Google").

But learning analytical skills, problem solving, and how to invent new ways of doing something is really called "learning." Unfortunately our teaching system doesn't favor this approach and is more concerned with teaching facts and "testing to the test." That's why we're a nation of dummies today.

bugmon said...

A 3rd grader should know more than his teacher now-a-days , considering the amount of money that is spent for our school.

Anonymous said...

Education starts and ends in the home. Parents values and views on learning shape a child, more than a school system. Parents need to take responsiblity and provide a fostering enviorment for a childs mind.

Everett said...

To the above commenter, Amen!!! Then demand that they get re-certified every couple of years. Getting rid of tenure and replacing it with a merit system would go a long way toward weeding out the incompetents and those "biding their time" till retirement comes knocking. we tried to do this back in the 70's here on BI and all we managed to do was to drive the teachers to form a union and have the whole NEA behind them with all their resources and we were left with our asses hanging out in the breeze and the oh so imperfect system we have today.

Sam said...

Well I think that the "dumbing down of America" is mostly BS and most school systems work very well.

Increasing state and federal mandates with LESS money are the problem. For example, the Fed's share of paying for public education went from over 40% to less than 20$, yet they added mandates like "No Child Left Behind."

So you had a ton a good teachers walk off the job because the money is no good, and if the school's rating tanks the school gets LESS money. This is probably the most insidious and stupid policy I have ever heard of - and we're supposedly talking about very smart people here!

So if anybody ruined the school system it was the politicians, who completely misunderstood the economics of teaching kids. Many very conservative people share this belief with me. You get what you pay for, plain and simple. -sam