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Tag Archives: Dumbing Down

Stuck on Stupid – Republicans Think College Education is Bad

America has reached “peak stupid” with the “election” of Donald Trump”.

One of the reasons for this shift may well be the “r” word. White folks kids spent a lot of their college investment looking for business and financial degrees, which minorities, and immigrants increasingly shifted to  STEM. We have a situation now where native white Americans at the graduate level in some of the STEM fields are either a minority or rapidly becoming a minority. Asians have the highest level of STEM Field participation, while despite gain, held back by programs which intentionally disadvantage black and Hispanic Students, black and Hispanic students  make up only about 12% of those receiving STEM Degrees.

Which is why a growing number of colleges are dropping high-stakes testing as a make-or-break admission requirement. What this has caused is the number of black and Hispanics in the STEM fields to grow quickly.

So an American Education System which doesn’t support white supremacy is “bad” to Republicans.

 

 

Sharp Partisan Divisions in Views of National Institutions

Republicans increasingly say colleges have negative impact on U.S.

Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of the impact of several of the nation’s leading institutions – including the news media, colleges and universities and churches and religious organizations – and in some cases, the gap in these views is significantly wider today than it was just a year ago.

While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults, finds that partisan differences in views of the national news media, already wide, have grown even wider. Democrats’ views of the effect of the national news media have grown more positive over the past year, while Republicans remain overwhelmingly negative.

About as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think the news media has a positive (44%) as negative (46%) impact on the way things are going in the country. The share of Democrats holding a positive view of the news media’s impact has increased 11 percentage points since last August (33%).

Republicans, by about eight-to-one (85% to 10%), say the news media has a negative effect. These views have changed little in the past few years…more

 

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How Do You Make Our Schools Smarter… By Dumbing Down Our Elected Officials?

A favorite Republican whipping post is our “failing” educational system”…

The problem being that many of the Republicans who most vociferously shout about American Educational shortcomings…

Have benefited so little from their experience  in a learning environment.

I mean, if the first step to building a strong house is to dig a good foundation…

Then you best better hire a builder with more than a passing familiarity with a shovel.

Didn’t do so great on that last vocabulary test? That’s OK, there’s a place in Congress for you. The current class of congressmembers speaks at a 10.6 grade level—down almost a full grade from 2005’s 11.5 grade level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale. According to a political scientist at the Sunlight Foundation, the open government group that ran the numbers, one reason for the decline is the influx of new members who were elected in 2010, many of them with Tea Party support. “Particularly among the newest members of Congress, as you move out from the center and toward either end of the political spectrum, the grade level goes down, and that pattern is particularly pronounced on the right,” he says. In easier-to-understand terms: All of the 10 members who speak at the lowest grade levels are Republicans, and nearly all are freshmen.

Sophomoric? Members Of Congress Talk Like 10th-Graders, Analysis Shows

It turns out that the sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.

Making The Grade

The Sunlight Foundation analyzed the Congressional Record and found that Congress’ ranking on the Flesch-Kincaid scale — which evaluates readability — has dropped a grade level in recent years.

Average grade level of Congressional speeches

Every word members of Congress say on the floor of the House or Senate is documented in the Congressional Record. The Sunlight Foundation took the entire Congressional Record dating back to the 1990s and plugged it into a searchable database.

Lee Drutman, a political scientist at Sunlight, took all those speeches and ran them through an algorithm to determine the grade level of congressional discourse.

“We just kind of did it for fun, and I was kind of shocked when I plotted that data and I saw that, oh my God, there’s been a real drop-off in the last several years,” he says.

In 2005, Congress spoke at an 11.5 grade level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale. Now, it’s 10.6. In other words, Congress dropped from talking like juniors to talking like sophomores.

Of the 10 members speaking at the lowest grade level, all but two are freshmen, and every one is a Republican. For the record, though, Drutman isn’t passing judgment about whether speaking at a lower grade level is a good thing or a bad thing.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney ranks the very lowest, with a grade level of 7.94. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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A Nation of Nitwits

This one by Bob Herbert. Now I have to agree with him that we as a nation have “dumbed-down” to the level of the pathetic. How else Could George Bush have become President, and the Sno’ Ho’ be the leading contender for the Republican Party?

Some shocking numbers

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.


Putting Our Brains on Hold

The world leadership qualities of the United States, once so prevalent, are fading faster than the polar ice caps.

We once set the standard for industrial might, for the advanced state of our physical infrastructure, and for the quality of our citizens’ lives. All are experiencing significant decline.

The latest dismal news on the leadership front comes from the College Board, which tells us that the U.S., once the world’s leader in the percentage of young people with college degrees, has fallen to 12th among 36 developed nations.

At a time when a college education is needed more than ever to establish and maintain a middle-class standard of living, America’s young people are moving in exactly the wrong direction. A well-educated population also is crucially important if the U.S. is to succeed in an increasingly competitive global environment.

But instead of exercising the appropriate mental muscles, we’re allowing ourselves to become a nation of nitwits, obsessed with the comings and goings of Lindsay Lohan and increasingly oblivious to crucially important societal issues that are all but screaming for attention. What should we be doing about the legions of jobless Americans, the deteriorating public schools, the debilitating wars, the scandalous economic inequality, the corporate hold on governmental affairs, the commercialization of the arts, the deficits?

Why is there not serious and widespread public engagement with these issues — and many others that could easily come to mind? That kind of engagement would lead to creative new ideas and would serve to enrich the lives of individual Americans and the nation as a whole. But it would require a heavy social and intellectual lift.

According to a new report from the College Board, the U.S. is 12th among developed nations in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees. The report said, “As America’s aging and highly educated work force moves into retirement, the nation will rely on young Americans to increase our standing in the world.”

The problem is that today’s young Americans are not coming close to acquiring the education and training needed to carry out that mission. They’re not even in the ballpark. In that key group, 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree, the U.S. ranks behind Canada, South Korea, Russia, Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway, Israel, France, Belgium and Australia. That is beyond pathetic.

“While the nation struggles to strengthen the economy,” the report said, “the educational capacity of our country continues to decline.”

Everybody is to blame — parents, students, the educational establishment, government leaders, the news media and on and on. A society that closes its eyes to the most important issues of the day, that often holds intellectual achievement in contempt, that is more interested in hip-hop and Lady Gaga than educating its young is all but guaranteed to spiral into a decline.

Speaking this week about the shortage of degrees in the 25- to 34-year-old demographic, Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board and a former governor of West Virginia, said, “When I was in school, we were No. 1 in the world in college graduations. When I was governor, we were third, and I was surprised by that drop. Now we’re 12th at a time when a good education is critically important to getting a decent job.”

Among other things, he called on educators to develop curricula that are more “interesting and inspiring.” And he said it is essential for students to work harder.

These are gloomy times in the United States. A child drops out of high school every 26 seconds. As incredible as it seems from the perspective of 2010, the report from the College Board tells us that “it is expected that the educational level of the younger generation of Americans will not approach their parents’ level of education.”

What is the matter with us? Have we been drinking? Whatever happened to that vaunted American dream? In Hawaii, the public schools were closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year for budget reasons.

When this is the educational environment, you can say goodbye to the kind of cultural, scientific and economic achievements that combine to make a great nation. We no longer know how to put our people to work. We read less and less and write like barbarians. We’ve increasingly turned our backs on the very idea of hard-won excellence while flinging open the doors to decadence and decline. No wonder Lady Gaga and Snooki from “Jersey Shore” are cultural heroes.

In their important book, “The Race Between Education and Technology,” the Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz pointed out that educational attainment in the U.S. “was exceptionally rapid and continuous for the first three-quarters of the 20th century.”

Then, foolishly, we applied the brakes. All that’s at stake is our future.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 9, 2010 in American Genocide, The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Dumbing Down of America – “Radio Shacked”

As a young “nerd”, one of my favorite places to visit was the local Radio Shack. A reliable source of parts and components for projects and fixes for both things I thought up (which a sometimes worked as intended) as well as nifty components to repair common electronic issues. Need to go from a Phono plug to RCA jacks to make that Mike Mixer work with a Stereo Receiver? Need an IC chip to form the basis of a controller for that Model Rocket? Radio Shack was the place. Generations of American Inventors, and to be Rocket Scientists and Engineers fed their inner geek, and not coincidentally built their skills  with parts supplied by “The Shack”…

No more.

It would seem that the dream of inventing and creating has died in America, and the once reliable institutions which supported that dream, whether Hobby Shops, Electronic Supply Houses – or Radio Shack…

Have gone down the toilet with it.

I Got Your Cell Phone - Right Here!

We now live in a country where stupidity is seen as an asset (the Sno’ Ho’ AKA Sarah Palin, George “Dumbya” Bush) and technology is increasingly invented elsewhere. Investment in technology has become increasingly scarce, as Venture firms stampede towards the newest re-utilization of antique technology in search of the newest Facebook or some software which is smarter than the humans and can replace them. A goal made simpler not by better systems, but the lowering of the bar of human intellect. By removing the responsibility to make decisions, and suffer their consequences – morals have been removed from the equation. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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We’re Number 37

Well… It’s not R&B, but it does have a catchy Hook.

The US is ranked 37th in the world in quality of health care by the World Health Organization which measures health care in countries around the world.

Conservatives rant and rave about “Dumbing Down” the US Education System because the US trails other countries. The US Health System trails other countriesby a far greater measure than our children trail the top performing countries children

Consistency however, isn’t a Republican value – as they should be screaming about …”Dumbing us to Death”.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “We’re Number 37“, posted with vodpod
 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2009 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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