How Dumbed Down America Has Become

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by DarthG8RV3, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. DarthG8RV3
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    DarthG8RV3 Twisted and Evil Gator VIP Member

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    Great Article .......


    The American Dream
    Waking People Up And Getting Them To Realize That The American Dream Is Quickly Becoming The American Nightmare


    Newly Discovered Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down America Has Become


    By Michael Snyder, on August 12th, 2013


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    Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”? It is a movie about an “average American” that wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that is surrounding him. Unfortunately, that film is a very accurate metaphor for what has happened to American society today. We have become so “dumbed down” that we don’t even realize what has happened to us. But once in a while something comes along that reminds us of how far we have fallen. In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 was recently donated to the Bullitt County History Museum. When I read this exam over, I was shocked at how difficult it was. Could most eighth grade students pass such an exam today? Of course not. In fact, I don’t even think that I could pass it. Sadly, this is even more evidence of “the deliberate dumbing down of America” that former Department of Education official Charlotte Iserbyt is constantly warning us about. The American people are not nearly as mentally sharp as they once were, and with each passing generation it gets even worse.

    Just check out some of the questions from the eighth grade exam that was discovered. Do you think that you could correctly answer these?…

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    One of the areas that Americans are horribly deficient in today is geography. If you give them a blank world map, most Americans can only identify a very limited number of countries. In fact, according to a survey that was conducted by the National Geographic Society several years ago, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 could find the nation of Iraq on a map of the world even though the United States was actively fighting a war there at the time.

    Our young people are also horribly deficient when it comes to math and science. At this point, 15-year-olds in the United States do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math and science literacy.

    How do we expect to thrive as a nation with these kinds of results?
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  2. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    Humbling, disconcerting, and compelling.

    Rep--for the find, and the OP.
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  3. vangator1
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    vangator1 Well-Known Member

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    I agree about the dumbing down. Mostly in the public screwls.

    The test is just basic knowledge, maybe advanced for today's 8th graders though.
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  4. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly, I'm currently reading a book called "Dogs never lie about love", in which the author cites a study about domesticated dogs vs. wolves, and how the domesticated dog is basically a neotizied wolf.

    Got me to thinking that maybe some of that's going on with our society--we are becoming neotanized--essentially bred to be perptually juvenile--away from our natural instinct to grow to maturity, like domesticated dogs vs. wolves. I thought about opening up a thread on the topic, but I think it fits nicely here.

    The electorate seems content to 'delegate' more and more responsibility to the government--our 'master' as it were--not realizing that by so doing, we undermine the incentive to mature to true independence. We are in essence, devolving from our natural call to be wolves (ref. Jack London's classic, The Call of the Wild), and voluntarily rendering ourselves a benign, neotenized sub-species/shadow of our potential.

    Now that said, the flip side of that same coin, is that we are also becoming significantly more specialized than our predessors, in our chosen crafts/fields (again, like specific breeds of domesticated dogs bred to accel in certain specific areas, such as retrieving, guide dogs, drug detection, and the like--where wolves would not be suited for such).

    I suppose it comes naturally with the growth of population. IOW, More ppl, means more need for niches, and specialization.

    So while great great grampa may have known more about the world in general...most of us have fields of expertise in which we'd probably blow our predessors out of the water.

    C'est la vie.

    :dog:
  5. anstro76
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    anstro76 Well-Known Member

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    i would argue the basic knowledge part. maybe the math and english yes, but as you scroll down...not so much
  6. malligator
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    malligator Well-Known Member

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    I'm not convinced many current 8th grade teachers could pass that exam.
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  7. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    One other point--I believe our education system, is woefully outdated. One size does not, and cannot, fit all. Traditional classrooms inevitably seek to herd the class along the same educational/developmental track, while children learn differently, at different rates, having different interest which ebb and flow at independent rates.

    IMHO, the Montessori system is the key to addressing this problem. It plays to a each child's natural interests, and allows them to learn about what piques their interest, when the interest is their--rather than trying to lead the child along a pre-ordained path, according to an antiquated, formulaic, 'one size fits all' curriculum.

    I believe traditional public schools should seek to adopt such a system--and with today's technology, seems like it would be feasible. Unfortunately, there's probably too much political resistence to such radical change--but such change, imo, is in order.

    IMHO/FWIW.
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  8. dynogator
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    dynogator Well-Known Member

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    The current curriculum is being driven by the reality of technology. Spellcheck will soon make spelling tests obsolete. Kids can keyboard by the time they're 3 years old, or at least use an Ipad touchscreen. The high school my kids attended offers classes in robotics and aeronautical engineering. Hardly a "dumbed down," curriculum.

    Comparing curriculums from 1912 with today's is a worthless endeavor.
  9. oldgator
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    am an RN. A number of years ago I went back to school to get a degree in radiography(XRay tech) to use with my RN.

    First day of class(class had 25 students in it) I asked the rest of the class to possibly form a study group. No one came to me to see about a study group. After the first exam there were a number of classmates who had become interested in a study group because the first exam was harder than they thought it would be. One classmate scored 16(out of a 100) on the first exam. She was very pretty, appeared mentally sharp, very personable, etc. Turns out she grew up in an affluent area in PB county and had attended public schools. She said she averaged a solid B in HS but when she went to college in Ga she flunked out in less than a year. We asked her what her life in grade school, junior high, and high school was like. She stated she excelled in sports, was a cheerleader, etc and did ok in classes. I then asked her how hard her teachers challenged her to excel academically. She said she was never really challenged. Well we teamed up on her in study group to challenge her. What really stood out is that she grasped new concepts rapidly. However she was helpless when it came to proving it via problem solving involving math, etc. Turns out her math level was likely on on 4th grade level(unable to do percent, problems involving decimals that involved multiplying or dividing, etc). We didn't give up on her. In the subsequent months we drove her heard(frequently to tears). By the end of the first year of the radiography program her math level was up to calculus and she was getting straight A's on exams. I had the opportunity to talk with her parents and suggested they get her to take an IQ test. Turns out her IQ is 175. And that she was basically bored and unchallenged in public school. She has since gone on and recently earned a masters degree and in addition to working in hospital she also devotes a lot of time tutoring HS students without charging them.

    I sense that the dumbing down in America has gotten worse over the years mainly to lowering the bar of expectations of what our students should learn to graduate each grade. And that the 'Special Olympics' attitude that everybody has to get a medal has spread to education in the form of everybody getting shoved to the next higher grade whether or not they mastered the knowledge of the previous grade they were in(ie--everybody gets a diploma whether they merit it or not)


    I'm a raving lib and I approve this post
  10. 99gator
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    99gator VIP Member

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    the funny part that i haven't seen anyone comment on yet was this exam was in the state of kentucky.

    you know, the hillbilly, backward south. that's not an emerging metropolis of boston, new york, or philadelphia school exam.

    that's a bullitt county, i stole my dad's tobaccy before i left the house, exam. the county seat is shepherdville and the largest city is mount washington.
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  11. Gatorrick22
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    Obama and every Liberal in America would get question #6 in Civic Government wrong.
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  12. LittleBlueLW
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    My opinion is reflected in my signature.
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  13. Gatorrick22
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    I agree with your signature.
  14. vangator1
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    vangator1 Well-Known Member

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    Obama doesn't know how many states we have. That's because he grew up in Indonesia!

    This is a test where supposedly the students were taught the material.
  15. 99gator
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    99gator VIP Member

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    it's amazing what you can do when teachers get paid properly and there are computers in every classroom.

    when you put the proper resources....oh, wait.
  16. anstro76
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    anstro76 Well-Known Member

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    And the average classroom size was 4 pupils

    Sent from my mind using ESP
  17. lacuna
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    lacuna Well-Known Member

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    Darth, excellent find. Thanks.

    It might make for an interesting thread. Anyway, what you posted brought to mind a study I read of several years ago. It was conducted in 1965 by an Austrian animal psychologist with cattle egrets who were confined and regularly supplied food by caretakers. The birds' behavior became aberrant and the social order of the colony completely collapsed.

    I think the welfare/minimum wage thread might be a better fit with the topic so will place further information on that one. But wanted to mention it here because of your reference to perpetual juveniles. That's pertinent to what happened in the egret colony.

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  18. oragator1
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    Beyond the obvious sociological issues that some have pointed out, there is also the issue of all the electives now offered that dilute knowledge time for the basics. Those kids were probably drilled on traditional basics for 8 months with little else, and many of those history related questions were recent history at the time. The test was also a bit biased towards the region they lived in. Still an impressive test though.

    But all of this reminds me of something I watched last night. As a history major I have a soft spot for "who do you think you are". TLC brought it back and has some new episodes. If you haven't watched it, they trace the genealogy of celebrities often times with fascinating results. It can be cheesy but inspiring sometimes too.
    Anyway, Chris O'Donnell was the subject last night. I actually grew to like the guy a bit, he is seemingly a good family man, 5 kids, married for 16 years and you never hear anything bad about him...but they were tracing his family back to the war of 1812 and he had a 4 times great grandfather who served in that war, and happened to serve at Fort McHenry. Anyone with any knowledge of US history knows the significance of Fort McHenry, it was the British bombardment of Baltimore and the fort holding that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. His relative was one of the men manning the fort, the cannons in fact when that all happened. Truly an American hero in an incredibly important national event. But when all of this was presented to him, he had no idea. He didn't know what the war of 1812 was all about, didn't know about the battle for Baltimore and didn't know about the SSB. He was understandably filled with pride when he learned all of this, but it kind of made me wonder what the dude was fighting for in 1814 if such basic events in the formation and maintenance of our democracy are not even known by the relatives of the people who were there and did all of the hard work for us?
  19. vangator1
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    vangator1 Well-Known Member

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    We are the Eloi and the govt is the Morlocks.
  20. gator421
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    I thought this thread was about "Duck Dynasty".

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