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Old 10-06-2008, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,097 posts, read 8,889,217 times
Reputation: 7740

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NVplumber View Post
Hmmm this one requires some thought. It seems that the way that subjects are taught at grade school level has changed radically since I was in school with the basics having been put aside in an attempt to jump to a finished product...academically speaking. Basic math , reading , language skills and such are being presented in a rather abstract way. Phonics are considered to be obsolete in favor of "word recognition" and it seems that someone is searching for a mathematical formula to make 2 plus 2 equal 5. Hence ,with the basics having been relegated to the bone yard the new generation is ill equipped to enter higher education with sufficient background to understand the subject matter properly. In an attempt to move from a-z in one jump ,so to speak
This is a headscratcher . . . phonics and word recognition are not opposites. Phonics is one way of teaching word recognition and is far from obsolete. Companies that publish phonemically based programs like Wilson and Lindamood-Bell are thriving. And people are trying to find a formula to make 2 plus 2 equal 5? Uh, OK.

There are plenty who will argue the complete opposite, that subjects are not being taught with enough appreciation for higher level thinking because it is not assessed on standardized tests.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Lettuce Land
681 posts, read 2,413,053 times
Reputation: 246
Default Some possibilities?

Very worthwhile post with many interesting and thoughtful comments. Without claiming to be original, might I suggest the most prominent causative factors that spring to my mind?

A push-back [resentment] by the populace to the change over the past few decades in academia from an original goal of encouraging the development of inquiring minds in students to today's unapologetic practice of enforcing group think by stifling and obstructing virtually all dissenting points of view.

A corollary to this revolutionary mind-set is academia's denial of the role of personal responsibility. We are all victims, now, and no longer at fault for our difficulties, weaknesses and failures. Indeed, in some school districts we no longer have failures. They no longer exist. Oh, heavenly day. To be able to make a rule that makes everybody smarter. And what a terribly illogical mindset. We are not smarter - we are dumber. Unless we also pass a rule denying logic.

The realization by huge blocks of citizens that there is no way under our form of government to prevent citizens from other jurisdictions to return to office charlatans, crooks and thieves - or even the occasional merely inept politician. As proof I offer the current approval rating of congress, about 10%, and today's news that 59% of Americans would like to throw ALL of them out and elect brand new representatives and senators. But all politics is indeed "local" and most local politicians will be returned to office next month regardless of their demonstrated ill-fitness to serve.

The virulent and calculated me-first attitude of our professional, public service and labor sectors as exemplified by rules that protect job-holders based on time worked rather than results obtained. Obviously some type of tenure status should lead to improved job performance. But sometimes - maybe even too often - it doesn't. And oft-times there's little management can do about it. Why should consumers be forced to deal with product from under-achieving workers who know they are "protected" and could care less if they deliver shoddy work? Well guess what, consumers vote with their money and more and more are voting to use out-of-country sources who simply "try harder" to provide honest service.

Those scenarios alone could cause huge numbers of citizens to "dumb down" in self-defense and resentment, in my view.

Cheers
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:33 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 42,448,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestramommy View Post
LOL, this reminds me of two lines from "The Incredibles."

"They keep finding ways to celebrate mediocrity."

"Everybody's special honey." "That means nobody is."
I loved that movie. What a great metaphor for American life. Everybody who was extraordinary had to go into witness relocation.

But I'll give you an example. I've been reading my way through the 19th Century, basically a Greatest Hits of Victorian novelists. So, a few months ago, I'm at the library and check out "Henry Esmond," by Thackeray (By the way, Vanity Fair, by the same author, is a really great read. DON'T watch the dumbed-down movie). The librarian, a guy in his forties, looks at the title and says, "Well, THAT sounds like a fun read." A freaking librarian.

So I say, "Well, I like Thackeray." To which the guy basically rolls his eyes and says, "Well, okaaaayyyy," and scans my book.

When stupidity penetrate their way into the public library, you know there's a serious problem with the culture.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Texas
27,891 posts, read 14,852,478 times
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Lightbulb What has caused the anti intellectualism in our American Culture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refugee56 View Post
What has caused the dumbing down of the American Culture? Is it just me or do people in general seem less interested in thinking, learning and knowledge than ever before. I also noticed a general movement towards apathy in many Americans. It seems like we are not really all that concerned about anything outside of our own little world.

Sure there is a share of people who complain about things but they do so with so little knowledge or insight. I can not believe much of what I read on Internet Message Boards. So many people have so little knowledge about the topics of the day.

Look at TV and the movies. The shows are getting more insane and mind numbing every year. This has to be a reflexion of our culture.

Is there an increasing level of anti intellectualism in our culture or has it always been that way?

For the past 15+ years, American radio airwaves have become overcrowded with politcal "commentators" who spread the message that Amercan schools are the world's worst, teachers are worthless, education gets you nowhere and college professors are a bunch of dummies who do nothing but indoctrinate their students with anti-American sentiments.

Millions listen to this BS. Many of them lack the analytical skills to understand that it's mostly lies.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Baywood Park
1,634 posts, read 5,670,893 times
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gangsta mentality is part it. real or wannabe
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:46 PM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
909 posts, read 2,729,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwatted Wabbit View Post
Good points. When I worked in a largely black school, there was a very strong anti-study attitude, it was called "acting white." Getting As and Bs could get you a good beating or two, and generalized social ostracization.

One reason Asians excel IMO is that they strive for excellence.
They don't dwell on long-past injustices--there is long and brutal history of how Asians were treated in the US, before and after TR was president--but the parents are not of the "everyone is speshul" idiotic mindset.
It was Chinese coolies who built the transcontinental railroad, I don't believe any other race could stand up to the brutal conditions for as long.
Knuckle down, work hard, work harder next week, never let up.
That is how people get ahead, and they generally have a work ethic. Many are also succeptible to the gang culture, unfortunately. That goes with all cultures, although I believe hispanic and blacks have the heaviest gang participation, followed by Asians and then whites.
That's a dead end for most, unless you get into management or politics.
.
This makes me sound really old, but back in the day this was the way my parents thought. To get equal credit, you had to perform better than "Americans." Nowadays I'm not so sure that is the case. There are so many parachute children, and as you mentioned Asians are also susceptible to gangs. One more thing, A lot of people who came in the late 60s and 70s like my parents WERE intellectuals. They came for grad school and stayed because the political situation in their own countries prevented them from going back. The more recent Asian immigrants tend to be working class, business owners that want a better educational opportunity for their children. But they are working such crazy hours just to get by that they are unfortunately, not monitoring their children as much as they should.

Although I'm not sure if this contributes to the dumbing down of America.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Lettuce Land
681 posts, read 2,413,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post
For the past 15+ years, American radio airwaves have become overcrowded with politcal "commentators" who spread the message that Amercan schools are the world's worst, teachers are worthless, education gets you nowhere and college professors are a bunch of dummies who do nothing but indoctrinate their students with anti-American sentiments.

Millions listen to this BS. Many of them lack the analytical skills to understand that it's mostly lies.
Or they see their kids graduate from these same schools and come home without the necessary skills to succeed in whatever their chosen fields may be and discover that there IS SOME TRUTH to these charges. You may consider the charges fertilizer, but in many cases [agreeably not all] it is true.

So let's deal with the parts that can be corrected and not make a blanket denial that sticks our heads even further down in the sand. I challenge you to use your analytical skills to devise solutions, not defenses. And I agree the charge is too general but I disagree that the radio airwaves are "filled" with that message. I do hear both sides where I live, but I have to make the effort to turn the dial once in a while.
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
1,196 posts, read 4,094,495 times
Reputation: 581
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post
For the past 15+ years, American radio airwaves have become overcrowded with politcal "commentators" who spread the message that Amercan schools are the world's worst, teachers are worthless, education gets you nowhere and college professors are a bunch of dummies who do nothing but indoctrinate their students with anti-American sentiments.

Millions listen to this BS. Many of them lack the analytical skills to understand that it's mostly lies.
Great post, and it is partially true. Honestly, I don't know if America has ever been an intellectual place. The agressors and jocks have always been the popular ones. What were these kids doing in the 50s and 60s that made them so much smarter? Keep in mind I am only 17, but from what my dad tells me, things really weren't all that different when he was younger. I have taken many more advanced classes than either of my parents, and they are always stating I know so much more than they did when they were kids. I still know much more than than about politics.(Ron Paul)
Keep in mind they are both college grads and have well-paying jobs.
Every generation thinks the current one is terrible, and that the future is so bleak.
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Old 10-07-2008, 02:22 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 4,793,617 times
Reputation: 2722
I can't explain it (the dumbing down).

Seems like since about 95, 97, 98, it's like someone turned a switch, and it's gotten dumber and dumber.

-The rise of self help, psycho babble, Suze Orman lecturing you. All the gurus and idiots on tv.

-Internet culture, I don't know?

People use to buy through classified ads not that long ago. Now you've got big brother Ebay telling you what to do. Dumbing you down.

-Advertising, tv got annoying (esp since the mid 90's).

Up until that point commercials were sort of cute (like mikey and his life cereal or a wendys commercial). And now commercials are unwatchable.

Hidden camera shows, game shows use to be cute (like candid camera or funniest home videos). Now it's "are you smarter than a 5th grader" annoying you.

Things have gotten louder, more aggressive, more in your face, more of a lecture/sit down and pay attention to me. You didn't have this even 10 years ago.

The culture has gotten diffused. And the fear mongering.

-Another explaination....maybe it's just a sign of the culture/society maturing, plateauing. As you rise to wealth and power, eventually you don't work as hard and you plop down on your couch and veg out.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Lettuce Land
681 posts, read 2,413,053 times
Reputation: 246
Look, I'm old so I have a different pov. Could it be that we [collectively] have so much more general knowledge today because of the computer age that we now realize there is that much more we don't know?

And every generation worries about the "young 'uns" coming behind. Most of those worries are for naught, and the bad things that do occur are really not very preventable. So its just a human nature thing, maybe?

As to the overall "dumbing down" or "anti-intellectualism" meme could that just be disappointment that further progress hasn't been attained?

Just inquiring.
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