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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Edu-rant/0PEN P0ST

Note the 0PEN P0ST info below the edu-rant.

Found this (just a snippet here) over at Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor. Fits well with Fred Reeed's rant posted the other day as "Enstupiated" Americans.

At one time you could study to be an American, and if you adopted the American Way, which was never narrowly defined but we sort of knew what the American Way of Life was, your origin did not matter a bit. You spoke English, you adhered to Judao-Christian ethics, you vaguely recognized the sovereignty of God and the notion of Divine Providence and some notion that there was a power higher than the will of the people, but mostly the local will of the people and consent of the governed prevailed. Courts decided cases on as narrow grounds as possible precisely to avoid setting out vast and vague rules that enhanced the power of the bureaucracy. But that was long ago.

But, you see, we can no longer require that immigrants learn this stuff, because we no longer know it. Heck, college grads nowadays mostly can't even read or reason through exceptionally simple documents (now labeled "complex reading" in order to make the idiot grads feel better about being stupid, no doubt). From an AP story, "Study: Most College Students Lack Skills"

Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.
Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.
More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.
That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

Well, duh. Anyone who can and does read knows by now that you have, at best, a 50-50 chance of having an intelligent conversation with recent college grads. NONE of those "complex literary tasks" listed above are. Complex, that is. Not. One.

But this is no surprise, is it? After all, all the national adult literacy surveys of ther past 15 or so years have shown that America is becoming an illiterate nation. And that 50+% of college grads who can't handle reading and understanding simple documents? I'll bet you at least 90% of pubschool (prisons for kids) administrators are grouped in that class. And how many of those illiterate dunces are "teaching" in our nation's classrooms?

No wonder, given the assault on Western Civilization mounted by Loony Left Moonbats, Mass Media Podpeople ("disinformation for sub- and illiterate sheeple") and their ilk, that people who can't read and comprehend, don't. And so, it's even less wonder that most American's have no idea what the Founders and Framers were up to; have less idea what a wonderous thing was handed to us in the Amwerican State Papers and other founding documents and acts of those early Americans.

It's not just history, folks, it's a wealth of cultural memes and other gifts that are simply not at all available to people glued to their TVs or listening to cRap "music" (or darned near anything "pop-cultural").

Illiterate college grads? Heck, illiterate college profs. Kris, at Anywhere But Here, cites one example. Why do I call a grad class English prof who had no idea what the story the class was assigned (by her) was patterne after "illiterate"? Read the post at Kris' place.

I have a ton of those myself. My fav is of the head on an English department at a well-respected East Coast university who asked me once if my citation in an (online) argument of "sound and fury, signifying nothing" were a reference to Faulkner. Seriously. This head of a well-respected English department had never read Macbeth.

Let that soak in: head of English department. Had. Never. Read. Macbeth. Or any other Shakespearean work, it turned out...

Second-greatest influence on the English language, and the self-made idiot had never read a word of his work.

Once, simply saying, "Once more unto the breach..." brought a meme into play. Not just the words from Henry V,

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood...
"Henry V" (5.3.44-51)

But also the history of the conflict behind the play and what importance it had for our own culture and system of government.

You can bet your bottom dollar the Founders knew-and understood-the impact Henry had on England, and what his reign meant in terms of an Englishman's (by extension, all Americans) rights and duties... as well as the proper rights and duties of a reigning monarch.

And I know my grandfather knew, for he explained much of my foundational knowledge of such things to me when I was a child.

But people who cannot read, who cannot follow a line of reasoning, will fall prey to anyone who tickles their ears. Exactly like most of our contrymen today.

As I said before, this is an 0PEN P0ST, all weekend long. Link to this post and trackback. TMH tells you how:

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TP-ed at TMH's Bacon Bits (and others as time permits later).