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Old 07-29-2012, 04:59 AM
 
13,496 posts, read 18,180,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
...I would unfortunately imagine that a great many ADULTS can't answer all the questions posed at the top of the list. Even those who studied it in high school.
I've watched adult Americans on the street being asked similar questions by a BBC interviewer. It was horrible, as an American I squirmed with embarrassment and I was watching it alone.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:09 AM
 
13,496 posts, read 18,180,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
....There are clearly plenty of middle-class communities out there where education is not highly valued, and where the residents live sheltered lives. Those kids can at least read and don't on paper look like they're failing (and many are even college-bound), so they don't get as much attention as they should. But it's a tough sell if the adults in the community also either don't know much about the world or deem it pointless, and when the system itself sends the message that basic geography and social sciences are not as important as more "useful" skills that are tracked using high-stakes standardized tests.
In any society people sort themselves out.

And this is how cultural and political elites evolve. And for the rest there is popular entertainment to watch. There is no conspiracy, as some Americans seem to think.

Those that are interested take over, those that aren't complain about it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,297 posts, read 120,694,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Sounds like you've had very limited encounters with Americans, then. This is pretty standard stuff. Clearly there are a lot of clueless Americans out there, but that doesn't mean that all Americans are so inept. The problem is that it's so very divided. And not just between the obvious -- inner-city poor kids at failing schools versus rich kids at private schools -- but along other lines as well. There are clearly plenty of middle-class communities out there where education is not highly valued, and where the residents live sheltered lives. Those kids can at least read and don't on paper look like they're failing (and many are even college-bound), so they don't get as much attention as they should. But it's a tough sell if the adults in the community also either don't know much about the world or deem it pointless, and when the system itself sends the message that basic geography and social sciences are not as important as more "useful" skills that are tracked using high-stakes standardized tests.
Could you name some of these communities? I find this premise very odd. Do you know of any school district that does not require social studies for high school graduation? My district requires four years. Most colleges require high school social studies for admission. I don't get it!
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,554 posts, read 86,928,948 times
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You think those examples in the OP are depressing. How many Americans, students or adults, could explain how Hawaii became a part of the United States, or which president forced the Cherokees onto the deadly Trail of Tears, or when we started putting the word "God" on our money, or what is stipulated by the Monroe Doctrine, or what percent of Americans voted for George Washington in the first election.

(To the last question, only 13,000 people voted in 1792, with Washington getting 9,000 votes. That is 0.2% of the nation's population.)

Last edited by jtur88; 07-29-2012 at 09:23 AM..
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I was educated in the later 50s/later 60s. We lived near Canada (Pennsylvania has a border with Canada in Lake Erie) so we learned some stuff about Canada. I don't remember learning any of the above, though!
That's interesting. I was in CA and we had the Alliance For Progress study program in elementary school. We also had New Math which was a program designed to create the next generation of rocket scientists to keep us competitive with the Soviet Union.

Very common saying among Boomers in So Cal is "I was a victim of New Math" because it created so many problems.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,297 posts, read 120,694,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
You think those examples in the OP are depressing. How many Americans, students or adults, could explain how Hawaii became a part of the United States, or which president forced the Cherokees onto the deadly Trail of Tears, or when we started putting the word "God" on our money, or what is stipulated by the Monroe Doctrine, or what percent of Americans voted for George Washington in the first election.
(To the last question, only 13,000 people voted in 1792, with Washington getting 9,000 votes. That is 0.2% of the nation's population.)
I'm not sure the answers to all those questions are particularly relevant, especially the bold. "Civics" is more than memorizing little factoids for trivial pursuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
That's interesting. I was in CA and we had the Alliance For Progress study program in elementary school. We also had New Math which was a program designed to create the next generation of rocket scientists to keep us competitive with the Soviet Union.

Very common saying among Boomers in So Cal is "I was a victim of New Math" because it created so many problems.
I had some "new math" in college. A friend had some in a university run HS in Illinois. A criticism I heard about "new math" is that it wasn't interpreted, e.g. taught properly. I don't know. I'm not a math expert.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:59 PM
 
32,516 posts, read 37,157,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I'm not a math expert.
Neither was my 4th grade teacher.

It was a fiasco. They launched into teaching New Math before we'd finished learning basic arithmetic. None of the teachers were properly prepared. They didn't understand it. Parents couldn't help with homework because they had no idea what "base six" meant.

It did, however, produce a lot of people who couldn't balance their checkbook without a calculator. So if you had TI stock in 1978 you did quite well.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,297 posts, read 120,694,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewdropinn View Post
neither was my 4th grade teacher.

It was a fiasco. They launched into teaching new math before we'd finished learning basic arithmetic. None of the teachers were properly prepared. They didn't understand it. Parents couldn't help with homework because they had no idea what "base six" meant.

It did, however, produce a lot of people who couldn't balance their checkbook without a calculator. So if you had ti stock in 1978 you did quite well.
lol!
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
37,794 posts, read 40,990,020 times
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I learned almost everything I know about Canada from when I was a big hockey fan. Seriously, I knew the junior teams and the pro teams. Looked them up on maps. Was in touch with 2 players families in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Went to see games in Toronto. Went to Quebec. It made me interested in finding out as much as I could about Canada. I can even sing their anthem.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:19 PM
 
32,516 posts, read 37,157,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
I learned almost everything I know about Canada from when I was a big hockey fan. Seriously, I knew the junior teams and the pro teams. Looked them up on maps. Was in touch with 2 players families in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Went to see games in Toronto. Went to Quebec. It made me interested in finding out as much as I could about Canada. I can even sing their anthem.
Sometimes THIS is the best way to learn.

Education doesn't have to take place in a classroom.
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