The American education system is creating ignorant adults

Published on Intrepid Report, by John Stanton, February 1, 2013.

… What’s a nation-state to do?

So you want to privatize, corporatize, and decentralize the US education industry? You want to end formalized education at 18 years of age, as Brezezinski said in 1970? Is this the best way to get more competent American engineers, scientists, warfighters, buyers, and sellers? You want to make the US education industry more efficient and effective?  

You want high scores on the national College Board-Educational Testing Service (teach to the test) to claim the number one slot in the world? You want to save money by eliminating excess human capital, and closing/consolidating schools? You want to do podcasts, Skype around the world, work in electronic collectives via the Internet and World Wide Web?

The answers to these questions raise significant issues for the future stability of the American nation-state and, indeed, the continuity of the American Republic and its form of government. At the moment, the glue that binds Americans together is many years of participation in the US education system.

What needs to be changed within the American education system is not so much the addition of technical wizardry, robust communications networks, or the next big fad (teacher as facilitator, blended learning, TED lectures, etc.). An emphasis needs to be placed on the nuts and bolts, the blocking and tackling aspects of education, the items that are foundational—human capital.

It all has to start with the reeducation of “educated” adults in positions of power: parents, professors, teachers, mentors, politicians, military leaders, et al. It is a crime to blame the young for the failings, the ignorance, of adults who refuse to re-educate themselves about the world around them. They fear the information and knowledge on the Internet and WWW. They are the “learned” that Eric Hoffer refers to above.

Duh … what?

Most American adults do not know the difference between the Internet and WWW or have a rudimentary knowledge of the history and mechanics behind it. Hence, the young reflect that. The same adults would not be able to locate Benin or Brunei on a map even though Google Earth is at their fingertips. “I know nothing about anatomy,” said an adult recently. Well, over at Chrome there are, for no charge but time, 3D software programs on human anatomy. In fact, for every field of academic endeavor, there is a free education software program that can be downloaded and used to self-educate.

Over 50 percent of American adults reject Evolutionary Theory and Evolutionary Psychology/Biology. American adults (the “great leaders”) are destroying America’s English language to the point that words/concepts like accountability, torture, displaced peoples, drones, casualties, shootings and death are meaningless to K-12 and college university students. Those same adults rip teachers and administrators for lack of effort and appropriate qualifications and demand action and accountability.

Finally, the academic disciplines are mostly stove-piped and isolated from each other during a time when understanding the economic, social, biological, and cultural interconnections, from the local to global level, are paramount. In fact, students are more stimulated and thrive in a well-run interdisciplinary program as opposed to smokestack pedagogy. There are many ways to discover. For example, can literary analysis/criticism inform about militarism in society? Yes. Greg Winston’s Joyce and Militarism (2012, University of Florida) focuses in on some of James Joyce’s classics and the times/environment they were written. It is an extraordinary book that travels through the occupation of Ireland by England and World War I.

Murray Gell Mann put it best at a conference sponsored by the National Defense University in 2003: “Unfortunately, in a great many places in our society, including academia and most bureaucracies, prestige accrues principally to those who study carefully some aspect of a problem, while discussion of the big picture is relegated to cocktail parties. It is of crucial importance that we learn to supplement those specialized studies with what I call a crude look at the whole . . . It is essential, in my opinion, to make some effort to search out in advance what kinds of paths might lead humanity to a reasonably sustainable and desirable world during the coming decades. And while the study of the many different subjects involved is being pursued by the appropriate specialists, we need to supplement that study with interdisciplinary investigations of the strong interdependence of all the principal facets of the world situation. In short, we need a crude look at the whole, treating global security and global politics as parts of a very general set of questions about the future.”

What a radical idea.
(full text).

Links:

Taking it to them in North Africa, on Intrepid Report, by Jerry Mazza, February 1, 2013;

In Amerika law no longer exists, truth is being exterminated, on Intrepid Report, by Paul Craig Roberts, February 1, 2013.

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