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View Diary: Abu Ghraib? What's that? (15 comments)

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  •  How long have you been teaching? (4+ / 0-)

    Civic illiteracy has been a problem for years. I've been teaching at the university level for 15 years, and it's never been any different – at least not since the '60s, and maybe not even then.

    But let's not blame our young people for their indifference. They are a product of the culture that we made for them. And there's really very little in the larger culture that promotes civic literacy. There's very little in our culture that supports civic activism.  

    I certainly wasn't politically literate at their age. Maybe you were, I don't know. The media feed our kids with distractions. Our schools shelter them from uncomfortable truths. And most of us, as parents, do little to interupt the "programming" they receive.

    Why does the media numb their minds? That's obvious. Those in power fear an educated public. They benefit from the ignorance of citizens, no matter what age. Hence, the media promote ignorance. They even make it look cool.

    Why do the schools numb their minds? Some teachers DO try to be different, but most just teach the textbooks or, now, teach to the test. Even the textbooks are being written to the test. In some places, textbook publishers give teachers scripts to read from in class, and administration forces teachers to "stay on script."  You think the kids today are bad? Wait until we have to deal with the students who went through school under the impress of No Child Left Behind.  Bottom line, schools are pushed to numb kids' minds for the same reasons as media.

    Some of us have a different vision for education, but grown ups in our society don't seem to take us any more seriously than their kids take their teachers. Nobody seems to get it. Nobody seems to understand how vital public education COULD be to a vital democracy. But again, those in power fear an educated population. Hence, most of what gets done in schools is dumb and getting dumber.  We tolerated it just because we wanted to get to the next stage in the game.

    We train our kids to view school as an economic exchange. On that first day of class when you hand out and explain the syllabus, thye sit in their desks and calculate an economic equation. "How much energy will I have to expend in order to get what I wnat from this course?" But don't get  them wrong. What they want is not LEARNING.  Learning is only incidental to the process. What they want are credit hours, which they a trying to accumulate as fast as they can so they can get out of school/college as fast as they can.

    Bottom line, our culture does not value education. I have no idea how, when, or if it will ever change. It's messed up, but that's as honest as I can be.

    I love the smell of impeachment in the morning!

    by gabbardd on Sat Sep 16, 2006 at 06:25:54 PM PDT

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