Sunday, November 25, 2007

Artificial Stupidity

Artificial Stupidity


“According to a 1993 national survey by the Educational Testing Service of 26,000 adults with an average of 12.4 years of schooling, only 3.5% of the sample had the literacy skills to do traditional college level work.”-- Bruce N. Shortt, The Harsh Truth About Public Schools


Are your children bright? Most kids are. Chances are that you see their intelligence and strengths and you are aware of their interests and inclinations. You sent them off to school at a young age with the hope that the school would inform them of needed facts and knowledge as well as encourage their strengths and feed their interests. However, the public schools no longer do what parents expect, and that fact is the reason for the many "school wars."

Today’s schools have reduced the content of all instruction by about four grade levels, compared to fifty years ago. Teachers are now “facilitators” while the children reach “consensus” about their subjects. The CAPT test (Connecticut’s high school “exit exam") is based on material offered up to eighth grade. The courses, textbooks and tests have all been dumbed down to that level or below. International testing shows that, compared to students in other advance countries, “The longer our students are in school, the lower their comparative performance,” says Gordon Ambach, former head of the Council of Chief State School Officers. He should know.

It gets worse: The schools have changed in purpose from education to political and social indoctrination, with “equality” as the goal. Schools don’t care how much children learn, they are primarily interested in what kids “are like.” The schools' goal is to transform children’s varied attitudes, values and opinions from those of traditional families to those desired by the government. The government seeks to turn a population of diverse children into a mass of predictable citizens who know and believe the same things, with no one ahead or behind too far. That is why today’s public schools spend lots of our money trying to raise the bottom children up to the middle mass, but little or nothing to help high-achievers. In fact, they are designed to prevent the brightest kids from reaching their full potential. Now you know why “one-size-fits-all” and “dumbing down” are the major policies of public schools. The only way they can achieve “equality” of outcomes is by continually lowering their standards.

Today, the schools have a far different agenda for our children from the one we expect of them. They are failing to provide the children with the needed basic skills, knowledge and information, but, worse, they are interested in finding children’s weaknesses and psychological “needs” instead of their strengths and interests. The school system makes the basic assumption that all children have “disabilities” and need the school to provide “treatments” for them. The result is that school has become psychological and therapeutic even to the point of requiring many children to take mind-altering drugs such as Ritalin, in order to control their behavior.

The school system has several reasons to do this – all of which work directly against most parents’ hopes and wishes for their children. The government is seeking to mold the citizens of our country into a docile, easily controlled mass that can be employed or will become soldiers who do exactly what they are told to do, and nothing else. What does this all mean? It means that government school is not for the benefit of children, but is for the benefit of a government that seeks to control, instead of being controlled by, the people.

Unfortunately for America, our country needs well-educated people now, not dumbed-down people. There lies the School Wars, pitting the government school establishment against the rest of us. Government school is turning bright kids into ignorant robots; our children need the exact opposite. The schools are turning intelligent children into stupid adults by the millions simply by not offering them what they need, while offering them large quantities of what they do not need, or want. I believe the situation is well described by Thomas Sowell: “In an age of artificial intelligence, too many of our schools are producing artificial stupidity.”


Ned Vare is an architectural designer, artist and author; a former private school teacher, rancher, businessman, elected official. He is a Yale graduate.


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1 comment:

christinemm said...

What a great post. Thank you!