Saturday, August 14, 2010

Riding Those Dinosaurs

Back when I was a college freshman, I learned something important that was not in my actual curriculum, but a life lesson. This life lesson learned came from watching my fellow students struggle through classes that covered topics I had learned freshman year in high school, and were often discussed at the dinner table in my home. The American Education system is not simply greatly unequal in terms of quality between rich and poor districts, but also influenced, and run by people who haven't the slightest idea of what produces adults who fully comprehend the world they will someday control.

It was glaringly obvious in our World History classes, some people had never had anything other than an American History class. They didn't know who Hannibal was, other than the character from the A-Team, thought China was always communist, had never heard of the Ottoman Empire, and were shocked that democracy was not begun in the United States. All good things come only from the USA, you know.

I am still uncertain what shocked me the most, that they didn't know these simple facts or that many didn't want to know. It was boring. It had no bearing on their life today. It wouldn't help them get a job, so why bother? The sad, sad fact is that at some point in the last, maybe thirty years, American universities, and high schools, as well, became a factory line for cranking out drones. Go to high school, get a job. Go to college, get a better job.

The entire track is training, not educating. Our schools, don't teach civics, hell, they barely teach art and music, and many places there is a shortage of gym teachers. The pretty much long gone, and sexist home ec. at least used to give lessons on how to manage a household. Depictions of it on television seemed to concentrate on cooking classes, but that is misleading. Yes, they taught them, but also nutrition, child development, sewing, and most importantly, managing your money.

We no longer think it important to teach children how to manage their money.

Once upon a time, we taught high schoolers something called civics! A class that taught them about types of government, and the rights and duties of citizens! Personally, I never had such a class it was a dinosaur by the time I was in high school-I got these lessons at home. Don't even start me on the subject of sex education.

So are we reaping the whirlwind of our short-sightedness, and anti-intellectualism today? The overall ignorance isn't openly insane like the Creationists who think the Earth is 10,000 years old, and Jesus rode dinosaurs. They are kooks, but what is worse is what has been done by sane school boards, and administrators. That is, the whittling away of classes that teach you how to live, and critically think, not simply work for some corporate overlord, is dangerous.

An angry, threatened, population that does not comprehend how it fell into economic hard times, or who is to blame, always seems to lash out, looking for a scapegoat. And things such as this happen.

And if you know your history...what does this scene bring to mind?

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