Monday, May 17, 2010

The Under-education of America: Omission or Design?

Ever since his swearing in, president Obama has talked about the importance of sound education to nation building. He has, because of that conviction, made education reform one of the most important targets of his administration. This is a very welcome development that should be supported by every American because it is a policy that is long overdue. It is overdue given the state of America's education system and the education of the populace.

From public schools that rival those in third world countries, to teachers that barely merit the title, to curriculum that is so outdated that they stink, the American education system has become such a shambles. Schools that lack both infrastructure and equipment coupled with teachers that have become lethargic and a curriculum that is myopic which only teaches about America can only give you graduates that are undereducated. This has been the bane of the American society, albeit insidiously, for a long time. An education that discourages students from studying wide can only give limited knowledge which leads to under education.

Even when American kids are encouraged to read  about other places, it's about Camelot, Oz, Hogworth or Atlantis, all fables, all fantasy, furthering their disconnection with reality. I ask myself whether this is by omission or by design. Is this a premeditated ploy to keep Americans uneducated? I ask these questions because the average American displays an abysmal level of ignorance when it comes to knowledge of things outside of America. Omission?  Design?

All they eventually get to know - and that's those of them whose parents are able to extricate them from video games, long enough to have them listen to cable news - is the sensationalized stories of these places coming from the cable news channels. Stories like those of wars, famine, piracy and general unrest in other parts of the world. They hear stylized stories of socialism and communism in China and Russia and North Korea. Only very few privileged people get educated enough to know the real story. Omission?  Design?
America talks about their students lagging behind other international students educationally. It must be noted that this admission was only made because a president who cares about educating the people was elected. Otherwise, how would people know when they're busy reading about Hogworth and Oz. The problem is that America's education system is set up so that it produces literate but uneducated people.
This is achieved by the implementation of a very myopic teaching system that focuses only on the American society. Elsewhere, students are encouraged to learn, and are taught about the larger world. They learn other languages, other cultures and even the geography of these other places. This gives them very good knowledge about their world and a big advantage over American students in a world that is increasingly becoming a global and interwoven village. Design? Omission?

America accuses certain other governments of media censorship thereby insinuating that these countries' citizens know nothing about the outside world. This accusation is actually laughable because if there are citizens who know nothing about the outside world, they are American citizens. For one thing, most people from everywhere around the globe know, at least, one language other than theirs. The English language is now a requirement in Chinese schools and yet the average American knows nothing more than the English language. Omission? Design?

The sadder thing is that many still believe that it's a thing of pride that everybody else has to learn English while they don't have to learn any other language. To the average American, the world is the fifty one states of the United States. The more intelligent of them know Mexico and, probably, Canada with Russia. Then the brightest of them believe that Africa is a "country" of people who live on trees and fight genocidal wars. I'm not making this up.

I've actually spoken to many people who hold these beliefs. And, for how much China and Russia are in the news here in America, you'd think that people will know more about those places than just the words Communism and Socialism. Sadly, that's all most people know, and many of those don't even know what those words mean. They just know what certain politicians tell them and that's that it's a horrible system of government that takes everything you earn and gives them to the government. Design? Omission?

I think design because an uneducated polity is a very manipulable polity and, left to a certain political party, the American polity will remain uneducated for ever. This is because they depend on the under education of the populace to perpetuate themselves and their dishonest policies in office. An uneducated polity is more likely to take the little baits they cast now and again, when it  suits their purpose, to gain political points. Examples abound like the abortion issue during the health care debate when they preyed on the religious fears of these kinds of people. Or the outright lie they're telling now - about repealing the health care law - if they are voted into office. An educated polity will not fall for these kinds of cheap lies and they know that.

What they forget? is that it's a society that we live in. No one is an island and, therefore, when you keep the people uneducated, you will end up working against your own interests too. That's why they have to give special visas to educated people from other countries to come here and do the jobs that our undereducated citizens can't do.This is called the H1B visa program. That's why many jobs are shipped overseas because our schools can't produce enough of the kinds of graduates needed to fill the job requirements. Would you believe that this is still going on even when unemployment is at an all time high across the country?

It is and that's the price a country pays that under educates its citizens by making real education so costly that only the few rich can afford it. By criminally underfunding public schools which is the only resort of the many poor and letting only the expensive private schools flourish.  It is the price to pay for having a curriculum that is myopic in scope. It is the price a country pays whose leaders place individual or group political and  financial aggrandizement over the needs of the populace. Sadly, it is a price that this great country of ours has to keep paying for the foreseeable future. All because of the design of a very selfish few. This is what I think. What do you think?


  1. "This is because they depend on the under education of the populace to perpetuate themselves and their dishonest policies in office."

    You hit the nail on the head. Education, in it's fullest sense, aims to inspire people to yearn for knowledge. To develop rounded and balanced opinions based on a wide range of information. To question the truths of the establishment in search of their own. To view the world from an eclectic perspective. To walk in other people's shoes.

    An educated America would not vote Republican.

    Thanks for the blog. Very interesting.

    Bob (twitter @inhumanbeing)

  2. You just have to see the childish lies and attempts to deceive they put in their political ads to know that they depend on the under education of the people. Only a dumb populace will take these people seriously and unfortunately, they have been able to create an abundance of such a populace. Thanks for reading and commenting Bob, much appreciated.