Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
December 21, 2016
Well it’s been a while since I’ve ranted about the deplorable state of Amairikuhn edgykayshun, but now there’s another study indicating that Amairkuhn childrun have slipped once again in over-all rankings, according to this report from Zero Hedge and shared by Mr. V.T.:
Frankly, I’m surprised… NOT!
The article even cites an article from the Washington Post, with which I rarely agree on anything, but even they in their intellectual mediocritude cannot miss this one (is mediocritude a word? I don’t have one of those word-book thingies handy, you know, that kind of book where you look up words… it begins with a “D” I think) :
The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss summed up the problems nicely:There are many reasons children aren’t learning anything during the long hours they spend in government schools. Sometimes, their teachers don’t show up to work because they’re out on the teachers union picket line demanding taxpayers pick up the tab for their plastic surgery. Other times, students are forced to sit in classes led by totally unqualified teachers who will never leave because they’re protected by tenure.
For every disgraceful teacher, though, there are tons of good ones who are doing their best. The problem often isn’t teachers’ incompetence, it’s that they’re forced to instruct kids using rubbish. Look at the Common Core State Standards, which were adopted initially by 46 states because their federal education funding depended on it. The math is backwards, confusing, and, as the National Review so suitably dubbed it, “dumb.” The reading standards fill students’ minds with filth in the form of raunchy books and with yawn-inducing “informational texts.”
Our schools no longer teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Rather than be taught how to think and problem-solve, children are thought what to think and how to feel. All these money-making and money-spending schemes tend to sound nice, of course, but they inevitably fall flat.
Of course, there’s the usual “blame the teacher” meme going on here, in a subtle way. Don’t get me wrong though: there are bad teachers, and they are far too numerous to count; they’re the ones who, as the Zero Hedge article indicates, get their tenure, and then proceed to collect their paycheck and do only the minimum amount of work to pass their students through the Amairikuhn edgykayshun degree mill and satisfy government statisticians that the whole process is operating smoothly.
The result? According to the latest PISA study, US children and youth lag behind all significant advanced and industrialized countries(even tiny Israel), and are “ahead” of countries like Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Albania… you get the idea. This is a nice euphemistic way of stating that our kids are just plain stupid, which might account for the hand-wringing, butt-hurt entitled snowflakes we see reacting to being “triggered” and demanding their “safe spaces” in Universities, which now insist on collective gnosticism with faddish experiments in “gender neutral language” and other such claptrap. Even our politicians don’t know standard English, and are determined to call The Ukraine simply “Ukraine.” Watch out, Great Britain and Holland, you’re next in line for “definite article deletion” when “The United Kingdom” and “The Netherlands” become simply “United Kingdom” and “Netherlands”!
But there’s something more in this article I want to rant about. Consider that last statement from the Washington Post once again:
Our schools no longer teach reading, writing, and arithmetic.Rather than be taught how to think and problem-solve, children are thought what to think and how to feel. All these money-making and money-spending schemes tend to sound nice, of course, but they inevitably fall flat.
(Italicized emphasis added.)
Our kids are not being taught “how to think and problem-solve” but rather “what to think and how to feel.” Part of this problem lies in the fact that what used to be rigorous exposure in “the good old days” to literature, the arts, music, and so on, (i.e., to those disciplines requiring one analyze texts, compositions, and so on, and deal with subtlety and ambiguity and then to be able to argue and articulate both in original written and oral form) have been shunted aside by our stupidly technology-obsessed society into a catch-all pseudo-discipline called “humanities” or “social studies.” And those “disciplines” are, of course, straight out of the suggestions contained in the progressivist playbooks and studies of the 1930s. When I went to school in thankfully behind-the-times South Dakota, I was required to take things like advanced English grammar, English Literature, American Literature, World Literature (oh how I remember those days in Mrs. Connor’s World Lit class, slogging through Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment my freshman year in high school!), art, and even music theory in high school, again, slogging through the rules of two, three, and finally four voice counterpoint and figured bass from Mr. Arden Foss (the band leader) and Mr. Paul Fialkowski (the orchestra leader). But now, I would just have “humanities” and a boring course in “music appreciation” listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for the umpteenth time(“Can you hear the cannons? Can you hear the French national anthem, which is called the Marcy-something-or-other?” I can hear the equally bored teacher explaining now, as Napoleon marches into Russia to be defeated at Waterloo “by that Russian general whose last name began with a K but whose name I can’t recall right now because I never learned it in my edgykayshun classes”, nevermind that Waterloo is in Belgium and Russian generals were nowhere in sight. You get the general idea, and in Amairikuhn edgykayshun, that’s really all you need to know, the “general idea.” Details be damned).
So why are our kids being taught what to think and how to feel, and not to problem solve? Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the blame lies with the requirement for teacher certification, which requires future teachers to sit through mind-numbingly banal courses in educational psychology, pedagogy and methodology where they are – you guessed it – “taught” by a variety of perfected passive aggressive techniques in “what to think” and “how to feel,” and of course, most of those things are of the progressivist variety. If your child doesn’t know how to think, to reason, to argue, and to articulate, it’s probably because his teacher, by and large, doesn’t either. The shift in Amairikuhn edgykayshun has over the past century or more, been deliberately away from content to methodological claptrap, and that move began with the teachers’ colleges, and certification. The two are inextricably intertwined, and one cannot expect a return to “content” without getting rid of what has been driving the move away from it: teacher certification.
So, to echo John Taylor Gatto once again, fixing this or that aspect of the “system” won’t work. The whole thing, not just Common Core, needs to be scrapped, and that includes the certification system and process itself. Sounds extreme, doesn’t it, until one remembers that no teacher, prior to the American “invention” of this hideous system, had to have any special certification from an “education department” at a university, but rather, a real degree in a real discipline, you know, in those old fashioned things like Mathematics, Philosophy, Literature, Art History, and so on. As my co-auther Gary Lawrence and I put it in our book Rotten to the (Common)Core, people like Albert Einstein, Ayn Rand, Gottfried Leibniz, Fanny Mendelssohn, and so on, never attended an American school being taught by someone “certified” in the latest methodological nonsense by an Amairikuhn university “department of edgykayshun”, or ever took a computerized standardized test. And that’s the most damning thing that can be said about it all.
And sadly, our system, and its ideological preoccupations, are now being wholly adopted in Europe and elsewhere, as if those nations were experiencing a “lunacy and stupidity gap” and are in a race with us to the bottom.
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