As a writer few things are as irritating as hearing more and more people say something to the effect of: “I haven’t read a book in years. Who reads?!” It’s so bad that I actually find it difficult sometimes to explain to certain people what I do.
Saying one is a writer won’t do as it generally begets only stares and stupid questions. Further explaining how letters are shaped into words, those words forming sentences, etc., with the final product landing in a magazine, a book, or a blog doesn’t always help either. Again, “Who reads?!”
I’ve toyed with the idea of just telling those 2 or 3 (4? 5??) SD south that I’m a wizard, using powerful magic to do things they can’t understand. In reality it’s kind of the truth anymore.
And it’s not so much a problem of sheer stupidity as it is one of ignorance. People just don’t know because they’re no longer educated. Otherwise useful minds sit idle because they lack the spark plugs the schools were supposed to install. Today the mechanics have another agenda.
We’re now two or three generations into the new education. The results are disastrous.
Yesterday, via a VD post, I pointed out that, nationally, college IQ scores have dropped nearly a whole SD in the past half century. I checked the comments on Vox’s post later and found this:
This from USA Today:
In 1998, the number of high-school graduates with A averages was 38%.
In 2016, the number had risen to 47%. That’s nearly half of all graduates.
Curiously, SAT scores over the same period fell 24 points.
More students than ever, nearly a slight majority, earn “excellent” grades even as the whole IQ slips and SAT scores fall? Huh?
This is the dumbing down in action as expressed through the grading metric. The schools are cognizant of the fact of their failure and so they compensate by adjusting marks upward. And they have failed, by and large.
Back to my original gripe: they don’t even teach real language comprehension or use anymore. Linda Schrock Taylor explains:
Literacy failures continue to compound with each generation as mis-educators focus on everything except the core problem: The Devastation of Language and Literacy.
The vast majority of Americans no longer Hear, Speak, Spell, Read, or Write English with competency, let alone with skill. The destruction of Americans’ ability to precisely understand and use their own language is at the root of every problem that faces our nation: school failure; dearth of general knowledge; limited horizons; shallow, inaccurate thought processes; poor communication skills; unemployability; criminality; and the development of this shallow, polarized society in which we live. Still teachers are wasting precious educational time, and damaging young brains, with flashcards and sight word memorization.
We have no reason to expect any noticeable change, whether a Hobby Educator, or a Degreed Educator, is at the helm of the money wasting, regulation imposing, U.S. Department of Education. The True Educators have mostly died off or been spiritually beaten into silence. Thus far, no one in power has been willing to 1) accurately identify the Core Problem and its breadth, 2) agree to fund only proven traditional methods, and 3) demand absolute use of successful teaching methods. Only by doing these three things can America solve the Core Problem at each level and thus RESET the learning and intellectual abilities of all Americans: Preschool; Elementary; 6-12th Grades, and Adult.
If the kids (and adults) don’t know the language, they can’t read. If they can’t read, they can’t learn. Schools were supposed to be about learning. They’re not, not now. And God help the overly intelligent child trapped in one:
There is little room for intelligent, independent thinkers in today’s public educational system. The toll taken by Collectivist agendas on these Individualist types of children and adults is simply too profound; too damaging. Public education has lost sight of the goal of education. Educators rave on about how the STATE needs to make sure that children have their basic needs met before they can be expected to learn; all the while forgetting that historically children arrived, often underfed and poorly clothed, at drafty one-roomed schoolhouses where uncertified teachers educated individuals who would create and build one of the truly great civilizations on Earth. Now it is questionable whether most graduates are capable of understanding that which they have been bequeathed, let alone have the competencies and knowledge to restore and maintain America.
Once parents understand the dangers of, and the agenda and history behind, state schooling, many will refigure their budgets, reassess their priorities, and remove their children from a system where puppet masters with invisible strings pull all people and all policies towards Collectivism. The only hope is that the remaining Individualists will fight all attempts by the collective to ensnare their children and attempt to teach them to: share; hold back; fail with the group, underachieve; then willingly work to clothe and feed the lazy and the elite few at the top.
I detect in Taylor’s assessment a great optimism that the damage done may yet be reversed. I hope so. That was why I purchased Out of the Ashes, by Esolen, yesterday. I’m the introduction and the first chapter into it – haven’t even made it to the education section(s) – and it’s incredible.
In writing this I was thinking about including a quote from that but, honestly, every sentence is quote-worthy. It also hints at a latent optimistic appraisal of the situation.
For now, I suggest you get a copy. It’s well worth it. I’ll have more, and a review, once I finish reading the whole book. Reading: what a great thing.
*The foregoing criticism obviously does not directly concern this audience.