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Friday, January 20, 2006

Higher Ed failing highly

--posted by Tony Garcia on 1/20/2006

Are you a college grad? Great. The fact that you read THIS blog means you have to have some type of cognitive ability. The fact that you read THIS blog means your comprehension must be higher than the average bear to make up for my lower than the average bear writing. Can you compare the viewpoints discussed here with those of another blog? MY readers are capable of that.

Now, pat yourself on the back because the very fact that you can read commentary and compare it to othes puts you above 87% of all adults in this country. Scary. More frieghtening is the fact that this puts you above 62% of graduates of 4-year higher education institutions.

No wonder so many people at the campus seem to be actual idiots. No wonder the campus newspaper's editorials are empty of logic and the letters responding to those appear to not understand the points made by the editorialists.

A new study released from the Pew Charitable Trusts has this and many more alarming results.

Why is this happening? Because the teacher in K-12 are not focusing on the fundamentals, are not required to be proficient in the field they teach and are given tenure with wreckless abandon. This is also happening in higher ed because (as cliche as this sounds) the faculty do not teach HOW to think. Instead they tell students what to think and what to say. This is very evident when you try to talk to many of these sheep. They will tell you an opinion but when asked to explain the premises or foundations of those opinion they get stuck. The most "informed" of these students speak in talking point fashion. They give one sentence conclusion without any idea how they arrived at their conclusions or how their various conclusions apply to each other.

The sinister side of this problem is that the faculty are perfectly content with this situation. They have little drones voting the way the faculty dictate while the drones recite enough bumper sticker knowledge to appear as knowledgeable. Many of the faculty cannot handle a serious questioning of their ideals. I know this from first hand experience in dozens of classes. In fact, some of the more respected professors are so incapable of actually defending the positions spewed in their classes that they prevent any discussions from occurring. Certainly they allow the people who parrot their beliefs to speak, but they do not typically allow oppossing views to be discussed by those who believe the opposition. Instead they paraphrase and distort.

The inability of the teacher to provide opportunity to practice analytical thought prevents the students from learning how to analyze.

The answer is to overhaul the k-12 system, enforce an actual curriculum, allow competition between private and public schools and fire the teachers who are not performing or are unable to pass proficiency tests. A very high percentage of smart kids going to college will demand intellectual growth in college rather than the present dish of instructor reproduction skills.

66% of 4-year graduates cannot compute everyday calculations like the cost per ounce of food. 87% of all adults are unable to perform computations like estimating (not guessing) how many more miles are left in your car's gas tank before you need to gas up.

There is a game played on my favorite radio program where they call up people at random and ask them simple questions. I used to wonder why it was so easy to find the morons that play. My wife used to think the game was a fix. This study shows us why it is so easy to find real contestants for Moron Trivia.

Some of the questions today give you an idea of how deeply in trouble we are. Question: If you were driving 60 mph, how far would you go in 30 minutes? The answers given: "About 3 miles" and "60 mph in 30 mnutes I would travel, 6 miles, no 60 miles, a mile a minute".

Question: What year is the next pesidential election being held? One answer given: "next year".

From previous years (2004 specifically):
Question: What Van Halen album entitled 1984 had the year 1984 in the title? The answers: one person didn't know and the other answered "OU812". OK, kind of like the Grant's tomb question, but this is simple analytical skills that would solve this question.

For nearly 10 contestants the question "Who fought in the United States Civil War?" was asked before anyone got ONE side right.

Scary. The answer for decades has been to throw money at education. It is time to admit that the unions are killing education and the system needs an overhaul, not more money.


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