Thursday, July 9

The "Dumbing" of America

I heard someone use this phrase many years ago, 'the dumbing of America.' He was joking and not joking at the same time. I didn't necessarily see what he was talking about then but this has changed over time.

Working at a university has been a good experience in many ways. As a self-proclaimed nerd (or knowledge junkie, if you will), I like the academic atmosphere. My specific job doesn't get into this realm too much but just enough for me to feel like I am part of it. I am the guy who will read books that make others cringe. When some watch sports I watch the Discovery Channel. You get the idea.

Anyway, I have been shocked to see how uneducated our nation's young people have become. I get emails with horrendous grammatical errors and misspelled words. They complain when they have to do something for class. They wonder which teacher is most lenient and they really, really, really hope that we advisors can manipulate the system so that they don't have to take math (or science, or statistics or whatever).

These things are not the worst of what I have seen, however. The worst thing I have seen is an utterly dependent population of students that cannot take care of themselves and that are totally unprepared for life in general. High schools baby these students and "adjust" their grades so they can't possibly fail (one county in Florida just passed a "no zero" policy which is probably intended to boost the grades reported by the schools rather than help the students). Parents hover over their children and do not allow them to grow up. Sports programs will give out trophies just for participating and our ever-advancing technology has conditioned these future "adults" to expect that they'll receive exactly what they want, when they want it. There is no work ethic and there is very little character.

I am not that much older than some of the students I see here but I feel the change that happened in the intervening years has been drastic. I fear for the future of our nation.

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