Wednesday, January 18, 2006

State of the Nation: Dumb as a box of hammers

Dick and Jane can't read and I don't feel so good myself;

We’re returning to subhuman status in a pincers movement. While the Indians and Chinese and all are getting smarter, we’re getting enstupidated at a hell of a pace. It shows that international cooperation is possible.

There’s this thing called the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, which just came out and said that Americans not only can’t read but are vigorously getting worse. Here it is, from the Washington ever-loving Post, December 25 in the Year of Our Decline 2005:

“Only 41 percent of graduate students tested in 2003 could be classified as ‘proficient’ in prose—reading and understanding information in short texts—down 10 percentage points since 1992. Of college graduates, only 31 percent were classified as proficient—compared with 40 percent in 1992.”

That’s college graduates, brethren and sistern! They can’t read simple stuff. “See Spot run. Run, Spot….” What you think them other scoundrels can’t do that ain’t graduates? Halleluja, dearly beloved, idiots are us. Am us, I mean.

Now, sure, you can make excuses, and say, well, this dismal revelation counts all the Permanently Disadvantaged Minorities and affirmative-action nonstudents and all the other people who shouldn’t be anyway in what ought to be colleges but mostly aren’t. But you’re supposed to be able to read when you get out of freaking high school, aren’t you? If they can’t read, how did they into college, much less out the other end?

The Post goes on, thump, thump, thump. “Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of [the] recent adult-literacy assessment, which shows that the reading proficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no obvious explanation.”

No obvious explanation? Oh no, not at all obvious—no more obvious than, say, advanced leprosy on a nekkid prom queen. How about: They can’t read because our schools are in the hands of low-IQ social engineeresses with the academic inclinations of cocker spaniels? If this darkness is the result produced by “literacy experts and educators,” what might we expect from them as ain’t? I taught my three-year-old daughter to read phonetically in about a month of a few minutes a day. It’s easy to teach kids to read (phonetically). It takes genius to waste twelve years of their lives, sixteen in the case of college graduates, and keep them from learning to read.
Some thoughts. Fred is kidding about the weasels who run the schools, but if my association with them was any indication, not very much. Thought the second - Tom wants to home school Dorothy, we home school our youngest .. the well educated child of the 21st century is going to be a home schooler, bet on it.

Yet Dorothy's parents are products of public schools, my wife and I are as well. We have no small sentimental attachment to 'public school' as an institution. What this means for public schools when the well educated of the next generation have no connection at all with them ... it can't be good. Probably a self-reinforcing circle of mediocrity.

Thought the third - we really need a new frontier. Someplace straight up for preference, and as expensive to get to as Australia was at the turn of last century. Working on that ...

2/2/06 Update: Tom is a product of the tender arms of private schooling. Elizabeth, however, hails from California so that (to my stolid Okie mind) counts double ...
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