Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Tu stultus es and get off my lawn
October 27, 2007 4:51 AM   Subscribe

Dumbening.com: Measuring the Dumbening of America for Like 20 Years. With Special Reports: God Clarifies Stance on Radical Islam, Why Children are Stupid, The Elderly: Pros and Cons, Ten Reasons to Bomb Denmark and Guest Columnist Pat Robertson offers This Week in God's Wrath. Fake news not your thing? Then check out Stupid Children, a humor blog with links to real news stories of people behaving stupidly (last post is from 2006, so maybe people have gotten smarter since then). This rash of humor sites is all well and good you say, but some pretty serious people have dared ask: "Is our children learning?" Columnist Mark Morford [SF Gate] responds with a resounding NO: American Kids are Dumber that Dirt. Though the reaction from the reddit crowd has been swift and severe.
posted by psmealey (59 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
A MeFi post embiggens the smallest mind
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:57 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


That website is really, really lame and badly done. I guess they were dumbened too.

Morford's article sounds right about on the money though.
posted by blacklite at 5:04 AM on October 27, 2007


It was done better back in the day.
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:12 AM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Is it really parody if you're parodying the Onion itself?
posted by yhbc at 5:23 AM on October 27, 2007


Young people are so unreasonable. We should stop making them.
posted by srboisvert at 5:55 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was under the impression that a parody of a parody is ironically called a satire.



Naah, I got nuthin'.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 5:55 AM on October 27, 2007


Over 20 years ago I chanced to have lunch at the University of Texas with a pretty, vivacious journalism major I knew slightly -- I think she was a junior in J-school at the time -- who seemed to think El Paso was a state rather than a city. I wonder anew if she got her "MRS degree" and went on to participate in producing a whole new generation of middle-class, good-looking dumb@$$es like herself.
posted by pax digita at 5:59 AM on October 27, 2007


there's a University of Texas?


is it big?
posted by mattoxic at 6:17 AM on October 27, 2007


God Clarifies Stance on Radical Islam is a rather poorly written gloss one of my favorite Onion stories, God Angrily Clarifies Don't Kill Rule.
posted by minervous at 7:16 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


good-looking dumb@$$es like herself

I think we're allowed to say "ass" on metafilter.
posted by jiiota at 7:25 AM on October 27, 2007


mattoxic writes "there's a University of Texas?


"is it big?"


Yes, and yes.
posted by Bugbread at 7:28 AM on October 27, 2007


American Kids are Dumber than Dirt Recently, after giving an assignment that required drawing lines, he realized that not a single student actually knew how to use a ruler.

Why would anyone need to know how to use a ruler when they have Adobe Illustrator?
(sadly, I can't quite decide if I'm being sarcastic...)
posted by Hutch at 7:31 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Buncha ingrates! Let 'em eat dirt!

Wait. That's not right, is it...

The teacher dude's article, taken with a spoonful of salt, is the kind of anecdotal stuff that makes my skin crawl. Not just because it's anecdotal (ask me about blue-collar workers in NYC sometime, I've got some anecdotes that conclusively prove... well, what do you need?), but because I have a very basic fear that the educational system genuinely is failing and kids really are growing up stupid. Which is manifestly bad.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2007


Whenever I read articles like Morford's I wonder how I ever managed to survive this long.

I'm 23 and my parents pretty much did everything Morford says is bad. Video games and television throughout my childhood, little exercise, overprotection, the whole nine yards. By his standards, I should be gibbering idiot serving fries at McDonald's.

Somehow, I managed to graduate valedictorian from high school and then get an engineering degree from a well-regarded tech school. Nowadays, I have a job that pays well, I exercise, barely watch television... So, I wonder what happened. I blame my naturally rebellious nature and my desire to not become my parents.

I'm still a slacker, though.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:41 AM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


The surveys suggest that teens today want to be rich and live the easy life with nothing planned to achieve this. If that's dumb, then we know who to blame.
posted by Brian B. at 8:49 AM on October 27, 2007


Yeah... at the risk of being redundant and saying what has already been said before over again one more time also as well...

So that's where the rejected Onion articles go...
posted by The Deej at 9:01 AM on October 27, 2007


Does stupidity equate ignorance?
posted by francesca too at 9:14 AM on October 27, 2007


You idiots.

All the children of America need is some maps.

We solved this problem a long time ago.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:16 AM on October 27, 2007


American Kids are Dumber that Dirt.

"are dumber then dirt."
posted by gubo at 9:20 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


just a than/then joke, no hidden meanings intended
posted by gubo at 9:27 AM on October 27, 2007


This is the most cromulent article ever...
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 9:43 AM on October 27, 2007


backseatpilot: I usually like Morford, but I thought his article was pretty lame. On the other hand, I don't buy the 'Everything Bad is Good For You' schtick. If Johnson's thesis were true, reading Cory Doctorow's posts would have won me the Nobel Prize by now.
posted by lukemeister at 9:48 AM on October 27, 2007


gubo: Sounds like the modern version of 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust': dumber, then dirt.
posted by lukemeister at 9:49 AM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


a few years back i was managing a group home. it's not just kids, it's people. out of fifteen staff, three could think independently, the rest were like little children. i couldn't just delegate responsibility, that blew up in my face. saying something along the lines of "i set up this appt, here's the address and time", was asking too much. i literally had to come up w/ an entire itinerary, minute by minute on how to accomplish goals, print out maps, etc. these were people significantly older and younger then me and i was in my mid twenties. the failure of education doesn't seem like anything new, maybe a bit worse these days. also worth noting is that the staff who were generally the best were from another country. they also had an incredible work ethic unlike most americans, the norm of the foreign born staff i worked with were 60 to 80 hrs a week and going to school at the same time. anecdotal, but thought i'd throw that out there.
posted by andywolf at 10:08 AM on October 27, 2007


I think Mark Morford builds his column on blasts of breathless hyperbole -- that's his stock in trade -- and sometimes his shrill invective is fantastic, but this one went over the transom.

At least I hope that's the case. Otherwise, we're headed to the realm of "Idiocracy," and Mike Judge will have been proven a prophet before his time.
posted by blucevalo at 10:12 AM on October 27, 2007


I'm not sure I'd listen to much from a teacher from Oakland about how dumb kids are these days (and yes, this is a direct criticism of Oakland's many terrible schools)

Kids in Kindergarten, now days, get homework--reasonably difficult homework. It gets harder in 1st grade--homework is assigned daily. Kids are writing long stories (and they just learned to write!).

This is much harder than what I remember of elementary school. All we did was arts and crafts in Kindergarten--what kids do now days in day care, before they get to preschool, which nowdays involves academics.

Go into the higher grades and you have kids that go to computer camp, science camp, five different sports a week. This is way beyond what we had in my day. People say that kids are being over scheduled. (Places like Oakland being the exception).

I think in 10-15 years, we're going to see a generation of geniuses--overprotected geniuses, but geniuses nonetheless.
posted by eye of newt at 10:27 AM on October 27, 2007


our system of public education works just fine for turning out eager, covetous consumers and docile corporate slaves.
posted by bruce at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2007


our system of public education works just fine for turning out eager, covetous consumers and docile corporate slaves.

Yep. Speaking as a teacher, I have to agree with bruce.

Trying to get independent, critical thought into the curriculum? Nearly impossible.

Still, I reject Morford's thesis outright. The kids I work with--with all their piercings, iPods, teen drama, and goofy haircuts--are trying their hardest to do well. They WANT to succeed.

It's the system that's letting them down.
posted by John of Michigan at 10:37 AM on October 27, 2007


our system of public education works just fine for turning out eager, covetous consumers and docile corporate slaves.

What, you're saying it does the job it was designed to do? That doesn't sound like any publicly funded institution I've ever had any dealings with. Those teachers should get a goddam payrise.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:39 AM on October 27, 2007


precisely, bruce.

and Morford, though breathless and anecdotal, is not wrong. i read the SAT essays of America's aspiring college goers. Thousands and thousands of them, by now.

they really are painfully, scarily stupid.

but are they more so than they ever were? of this i am not so sure. the difference is that the painfully, scarily stupid now have to get college degrees, and demand them, whether they deserve them or not (because they paid for it, so you'd better pony up, professor-man).

i would say that the population is getting stupider by a rubric of what we consider common knowledge, but they are bombarded with a lot more to know (a lot of it we don't count). add in the worst diet overall that children have ever gotten in a developed, non-starving country, and plug them in without exercise... we get what we've created, natch.

which is why homeschooling is growing exponentially, even among single parents and the working class. schools simply do a sucky job for most. teachers admit it in private. administrators admit it over beers. but nobody will do anything about it. not really.
posted by RedEmma at 10:46 AM on October 27, 2007


Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh ...funny! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh sparkly! Duuuuuuuuuuuh! I almost went to the Universtity of Texas but they wouldn't take me. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!
posted by ZachsMind at 10:48 AM on October 27, 2007


Education has "failed" because students mostly hate math and any subject dealing with rigor, because they were timed out with a one-size process and beaten with it. We have taught generations how to despise knowledge and problem solving by making it a source of discipine and punishment based on a finish line. The main solution at this point, counter-intuitively, is to establish open-ended college-type courses in grade school. Use grades quietly, like intelligence tests, upward movement based on final mastery, letting people move on when they are ready. For those stuck in their work, they are never allowed to feel stupid as a child because they are always studying at their intellectual group level, no matter what age they are.

People should wonder why grade schoolers are so keenly aware of their slight age differences and the unrealistic expectations they have with it.
posted by Brian B. at 11:21 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think in 10-15 years, we're going to see a generation of geniuses--overprotected geniuses, but geniuses nonetheless.
posted by eye of newt at 10:27 AM on October 27


Relative to their peers, certainly; by absolute standards-- I don't think so.

There has been a tremendous explosion of 'inflammatory syndromes' over the last 30 years or so, of which allergies, asthma, irritable bowel (IBS), type II diabetes, ADD/ADHD, and autism are merely a few exposed peaks on a very large iceberg, and I have come to believe that almost all of them have a deleterious effect on the brain.
posted by jamjam at 11:28 AM on October 27, 2007


our system of public education works just fine for turning out eager, covetous consumers and docile corporate slaves.

This is why there is no 'fixing' the school system. It's already working. But never mind that, let's continue to scoff at John Taylor Gatto's work. We've come to love the system, at least we do once we're out of it. And that's when we start singing the praises of socialization. As if children raised on a farm in the middle of an extended family and their immediate neighbors, the standard for millenia, made them unable to relate to the world at large. As if being raised inside a coercive institution is normal.
posted by BigSky at 12:04 PM on October 27, 2007


BigSky makes a nearly irrefutable point, in my opinion.

Sending your kid to a modern urban school is putting them in a setting where no one knows them or loves them. Expecting them to turn out anything but completely selfish is to demand that they become feckless chumps.
posted by jamjam at 12:45 PM on October 27, 2007


Brian B: "The main solution at this point, counter-intuitively, is to establish open-ended college-type courses in grade school. "

Dear God in heaven no. The collegiate formula for education is surely no end-all be-all of enlightening stimulus. I agree that problem-solving is becoming a lost art because adults reveal it to children as a chore to undertake in order to enjoy the "finish line" of not having to do it anymore for awhile, whatever 'it' is, but the answer is not to revert to a collegiate modus operandi.

The answer is to completely revamp how we approach education, and start teaching what they need to know at THEIR level. Not the level of the majority. Not the level of political or economic requirements. Not the level of arbitrary sociological reactionary determinants. The reason why kids don't learn is because they don't want to learn. They haven't been given sufficient reason to care.

Parents and teachers say "because I said so" and foolishly think they win the argument. This is NOT, nor has it ever been, a sufficient answer to the question of "why." It his however, what we use to bludgeon the minds of children with, and then we have the gaule to be stunned that they don't care and they don't know and they don't succeed. How dare we.

Children must be educated one on one, each according to their own speed. This can admittedly only be done via homeschooling. Children are not cattle. Public schooling has no choice however, but to treat them as such.

Now I'm no proponent of current homeschooling standards either, because that leads to entirely new problems. If the parent is a racist freak, that's what he'll teach his children. Without checks and balances, we'll be back to a rural backwoods mentality... wait a minute. In some parts of America that's already happened! Parents can't teach children what the parents don't know.

We need to make parents better teachers, better disciplinarians, and better Americans. This way they can instill those improvements in their children. What I propose will never happen, but it must if this country is to truly succeed.

We don't need public schooling for children. We need public schooling for adults. Parents need to learn how to be better parents and better Americans. Otherwise, how can they better their children?

This will not happen, so I for one look forward to America receiving the future it has paved for itself. Hopefully by then I'll be able to afford to escape to Canada.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:08 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a tradgedy. I received what I consider to be a good education from going to public school, but back in the 60's and 70's schools were well-funded and staffed with bright, dedicated people. Those were also the decades that TV really started to sink its teeth into the collective neck.
posted by telstar at 1:15 PM on October 27, 2007


Dear God in heaven no. The collegiate formula for education is surely no end-all be-all of enlightening stimulus. I agree that problem-solving is becoming a lost art because adults reveal it to children as a chore to undertake in order to enjoy the "finish line" of not having to do it anymore for awhile, whatever 'it' is, but the answer is not to revert to a collegiate modus operandi.

You may have assumed something about "college-type" that I did not. The point being that there is no strict age-related grade level per course and mastery of the material is implied as a prerequisite to others, and choice of emphasis is allowed.
posted by Brian B. at 1:21 PM on October 27, 2007


"You may have assumed something about "college-type" that I did not."

Here I am not speaking on assumption: in my experience, "college method" means lecturing to students for an hour at a time and then giving students arbitrary chores to accomplish in order to prove that they listened.

Color that lame. What I propose is that parents are taught to listen to their children, and build an improvisational syllabus based on the questions children have AS they have them. Mold the education around the interests of the student, while simultaneously leading them to things that don't initially interest them through the things that do, because it's all connected.

Why should an artist care about history? Why should an athlete care about mathematics? Why should a fashion conscious teenager care about anything other than fashion? Because art and history and math and health will all help a fashion conscious teenager become a fashion designer, or a politician. or an astronaut. or whatever she chooses to be, but only if she's given a groundwork of education based on who and what she truly is.

"...TV really started to sink its teeth into the collective neck."

Television hasn't failed us. We have failed it. Just as a carpenter fails the wood if he doesn't know how to use a hammer. Not much of a carpenter if he doesn't use his tools properly. If you don't think television can be a useful tool, you've never heard of Sumner. or Henson. or Rodgers. Television can be an excellent educational tool, but only if we used it properly. Instead we expect it to do all the work. A hammer doesn't build a house without guidance.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:31 PM on October 27, 2007


♫ Why can't they be like we were
♪ Perfect in every way...
posted by MtDewd at 1:49 PM on October 27, 2007


Dumbening is just terrible, and that teacher is an ass.
posted by LarryC at 2:13 PM on October 27, 2007


worth noting is that the staff who were generally the best were from another country.

But of course. They're the self selected self starters who had enough guts, drive, and gumption to knuckledown. The foreign useless slackers are back in the other country.

Waiting for instructions.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:40 PM on October 27, 2007


Here I am not speaking on assumption: in my experience, "college method" means lecturing to students for an hour at a time and then giving students arbitrary chores to accomplish in order to prove that they listened.

That's no different than current grade school. I'm suggesting tests and reports given when ready, not on a specific timed basis. Consider the personal modular structure instead, being able to take classes free of annual tracks based on mass production models, not timed. There are practicalities to consider in mass schooling, and personal tutors surrounding a student are where reformers are just dreaming (not that you made such a point however). My proposal simply lets the student to go forward or behind as their ability to concentrate demands, which put teachers squarely in a collegiate personal mentor role, rather than as an impersonal lecturer role to a whole class on an annual track. We should own up to the fact that grades are a convenience for timed instruction only, and it is theoretically conceivable that everyone can get the same A if they were allowed to, if that's what they want. If so, their exit exams and ages will serve enough special status for them if they need it for special consideration for going to college.
posted by Brian B. at 2:49 PM on October 27, 2007


For those stuck in their work, they are never allowed to feel stupid as a child because they are always studying at their intellectual group level, no matter what age they are.

Uh-huh. Billy looks around the room at the other students, all 2-3 years younger than him. But hey, they're at the same level of ability so he doesn't feel stupid.
posted by dreamsign at 2:55 PM on October 27, 2007


Uh-huh. Billy looks around the room at the other students, all 2-3 years younger than him. But hey, they're at the same level of ability so he doesn't feel stupid.

Since when is Billy unique? There would be a distribution of ages, all on the same level. Projecting age bias is a holdover of the system I'm criticizing.

I should add that the internet and recorded lectures make my approach an option. Every year teachers are reinventing the wheel with their base lectures, when they could be mentoring instead.
posted by Brian B. at 3:02 PM on October 27, 2007


I'll throw another thought out there. Most continuing education for adults is just more evidence that the childhood system failed them, and there they are doing it differently at their own pace much later in life trying to catch up.
posted by Brian B. at 3:07 PM on October 27, 2007


Brian B.: Since when is Billy unique? There would be a distribution of ages, all on the same level. Projecting age bias is a holdover of the system I'm criticizing.

Yeah, a bell curve. There would be a lot of people at the 'normal' age (the statistical majority), a few younger people, and a few older people.

It would be exactly as it is now. The people held back are considered stupid, and the people who push ahead are preyed on because they're smaller and weaker.

Do you think age bias was meant to be built into the current system? It naturally develops in any system where children progress by their ability level.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2007


Can't have it both ways, Mitrovarr, just because you want to. I didn't feel stupid in the last college course I took as an adult, and many of my classmates were current students of mine. Maybe those who did feel stupid never enrolled, wherever they got that idea from. Anyway, there would be those existing the system at a very early age, with honors, and those I would tap as student tutors, giving them some maturing responsibility over the so-called stupidity, and saving costs in the process. Moreover, everyone has different talents, the sooner we know it about ourselves, the better.
posted by Brian B. at 3:33 PM on October 27, 2007


Brian B.: I didn't feel stupid in the last college course I took as an adult, and many of my classmates were current students of mine.

College is not the same as elementary school. If everyone is forced to start at the same time and starts at the same level, slow people are thought to be stupid. In college, everyone starts at different times and at different levels, so it isn't obvious who's speeding along and who is dogging it. Also, adults (yea, even college students) are more mature and less likely to single slow people out for abuse instead of helping them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:41 PM on October 27, 2007


College is not the same as elementary school.

Which was my point, and it wouldn't matter in the first few grades. Additionally, homeschooling is popular for most because it allows accelerated momentum, but lacks the benefit of the local "homeroom" of their peers, which may as well be the same age group (because some instruction, and many classes and activities, are not related to academic progress. There's simply no reason to keep the current model and enforce the failure rate and an age-related academic bias from timed instruction, when should be instilling a life-long love of learning. Currently we inadvertantly teach most kids to dislike knowledge and smart people, because they weren't allowed to succeed at it.
posted by Brian B. at 3:55 PM on October 27, 2007


I still don't have it figured out, but it's definitely not the educational system.. that's just a symptom. It's something rotten at the core of our culture. Maybe it's just that the technology-heady 1950s/1960s conformity and the war culture inspired a competitive spirit and a drive to learn. Perhaps intellectualism is just falling back to what it was before those years.
posted by rolypolyman at 4:10 PM on October 27, 2007


I agree with rolypolyman that it's not necessarily the organization of the system that's the problem. Educational systems in other countries work basically the same way (i.e., without that grade-as-representation-not-as-cohort thing Brian B is talking about) and I don't see the same decline there.

And, Brian, it's an interesting idea, and I think it might work in theory ("I just passed my grade 7 math exam, I'm in grade 8 for math now, and grade 10 english" e.g.) but when you allow people to go up grade at any time of the year, and it's an organic progression, what do the teachers do? How do you know what to talk about? How do you progress, if you've got to teach factoring to these 10 kids, but these 2 new ones are still vague on algebra? I don't think that electronic instruction is the answer – it totally blows, compared to having a person right there in front of you. It might work for you but it doesn't work for very many people, as far as I can tell.

I think there probably are alternative educational systems that work better than the status quo (there must be, really) but until we have something demonstrably guaranteed as better, I don't think talking about massive overhauls is going to help anything. The problem seems to be ... meta-systemic. It's not the system that sucks necessarily, it's the system that the system is located within – modern television/consumer don't-care alienating culture really can't be helping, and teachers are paid so badly. But no one with money seems to care too much, since they can just pay for something private. Or move.

It would take a concerted effort from the top, to start making massive funding adjustments, and ... that's not going to happen for a long, long, long time. Not with the leadership we've got now.
posted by blacklite at 4:48 PM on October 27, 2007


Just as a detail, I wouldn't give grades, but honors instead, slowing down the faster ones with longer papers and more problems, and tutoring positions. Grades currently don't reflect this, but reflect a level of falling short in the education process. And I would seamlessly blend junior college with high school, making the transition effortless.

but when you allow people to go up grade at any time of the year, and it's an organic progression, what do the teachers do? How do you know what to talk about? How do you progress, if you've got to teach factoring to these 10 kids, but these 2 new ones are still vague on algebra?

That was the point to modularizing much of the rigorous stuff. The fast learners are more independent. The classroom is still structured for the average. Special ed wouldn't exist as we know it because those kids are just part of the class they belong in. I don't even see it as a radical change besides the lack of grades and quarter credits. Teachers today slow way down when people don't belong in their class, and students feel dumb for not being able to ask questions on their level. We should maximize that opportunity both in and out of classrooms.
posted by Brian B. at 5:12 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


and it's an organic progression, what do the teachers do? How do you know what to talk about? How do you progress, if you've got to teach factoring to these 10 kids,

Well, you'd have classes organized by level of attainment, not by age, of course. In math, the idea would be that you'd teach a rotating series of algebra/geometry/logic repeatedly over a given year -- you'd get three chances a year to get promoted.

For something like English composition, you could get promoted pretty well at any time.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:30 PM on October 27, 2007


I work with these kids every day, and most of the kids coming out of high school today are dumber than dirt. (Certainly dumber than previous generations. And proud of it.) Most, not all. The referenced reaction by the readers of reddit is probably by a combination of those on the far right side of the bell curve and those too dumb to realize how dumb they actually are.

This is why there is no 'fixing' the school system. It's already working.

Corporate America is finding out that it is working too well. New hires require more fundamentals training at all levels than any group in history. Sheep may be easy to herd, but they can't make change.

our system of public education works just fine for turning out eager, covetous consumers and docile corporate slaves.

We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.-Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, to the New York City School Teachers Association, 1909
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:21 AM on October 28, 2007


Children must be educated one on one, each according to their own speed. This can admittedly only be done via homeschooling.

Or perhaps by something like Neal Stephenson's individualized "primers".
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:47 AM on October 28, 2007


The real question is why old people are getting so dumb that they believe their anecdotal experience means anything?
posted by srboisvert at 5:50 AM on October 28, 2007


(Certainly dumber than previous generations. And proud of it.)

I would disagree. I don't believe they are proud of it.

I teach in a small college -- almost all my students are from public school. (Public schools are so bad in Hawai'i that we have the highest rate of private school attendance in the nation -- we have a long history of grooming the "masses" for 'plantation mentality' -- tourist-service employment.) Most of my students are painfully aware of having been cheated and lied to. Most are bitter and angry about it.

Recently one student spontaneously wrote about his 'no child left behind' schooling of the past five years (a huge chunk of his life!). He was furious to tears.

Yes, these 'mutants' text; they don't write. Yes, they see but don't say. That does not mean they don't or can't think. I can't but help remind them of their great grandfathers who -- as unschooled plantation workers and immigrants -- rioted, protested and overthrew the oligarchy. Now it is their turn.

I tell them that they will have to do the repairs on the gaps in their education themselves now. Meanwhile, in my classes, I have all but given up on writing. Instead, they are turning out well-researched, structured, visually rich and passionate documentaries. I call them 'filmmakers' (we use whatever media we can get -- looped, animated PowerPoint for now). They are like 'mini michael moores'. They are embracing their own power.

The revolution will be televised -- on youtube.

As an aside ... I think their anger could make them a powerful force in our future -- I hope they use it well. Some just want to kill all the boomers.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2007


Yeah, and they can't even recognize portabello mushrooms.

Seriously though, what about the fact that college enrollment is rising? I'm seeing a whole lot of anecdotes here about our increasing dumbness, but not a whole lot of data. Meh.
posted by naoko at 7:39 PM on October 28, 2007


« Older Rockman Rock buys a lemon....  |  For Better or For Worse has be... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments