I have always felt strongly as a student and educator that making the decision to pursue a college education should never be considered as a mission of mediocrity or grade 13 so to speak. How true that my adult life story which began as a curious learner at the University of South Florida provided the impetus to live a true version of the “American Dream” intelligently and independently.
I can fondly recall my efforts to instill respect for higher education in my instructional planning. On the first day of college class as a Reading/Writing Professor, I would typically explain to my immature and life challenged students that to to embrace learning excellence rather than passive mediocrity in college would greatly help them to pass their classes. To emphasize this point, I would draw a horizontal line 5-6 feet high along a classroom wall and ask my students to imagine how this height would enable them where score points in basketball more easily. Then I would scrawl another line at the raised height of of an NBA basket and hope to solicit a majority response that it would take greater work at this higher elevation to maintain the same scoring chances. As a result of my demonstration, my students understood that the expectation of academic performance would be much higher in this class than they had experienced in high school. As the term proceeded, I would continually remind them of that.
(1) Today, I read that a majority of Republican voters now believe that college education is bad for the country. Polls show that the number of them who believe this fallacy has grown over the past few years. Why would academic smartness threaten us today? Would one wish to select a physician who does not show medical competence in their field? Would you feel comfortable on an airplane of the pilot flew on “wits and guts alone? How is ignorance cool?
A brief sample of research about the general knowledge capacities of our country’s citizenry produces a a picture of dismal failure. Witness the following samples. (2) Recorded responses from a Newsweek survey reveal that nearly half of a group of one thousand U.S. citizens polled do not know what the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship means. (3) Random street interviews throughout the country reveals that many citizens have little prior knowledge of American History/Civics. (4) College students at one reputable university could not recognize through facial observation such notable political figures as Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden yet easily identify celebrities from reality television.
Are you shocked that many Americans are not well informed about the general knowledge required for an informed citizenry? If so, then you might see why higher education pursuit seems important to overcome the current threats to democracy today. today. College may not embrace everyone yet it remains a viable outlet for combatting the damage caused by such ignorance in our politically challenged world. An empty mind or an informed mind; I will always choose the latter.
Street Sample Video
College Student Video
very sad when education is being eroded … we should never stop learning from the day we take our first breath to the day we exhale for the very last time. University education enabled me to save enough to follow my dreams. I was a mature aged student .. meaning that I had worked and travelled first then bored of the brainless jobs undertook further study to use my brain .. now I’m deemed over qualified .. how our world changes 😦
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I would rather be knowledgeable and overqualified than ignorant and underqualified.
It’s like things are coming full circle.
I remember watching a program where the history of film was being discussed. There was a silent movie called “The Freshman” (1925), which was basically making fun of people who attended college. Most people then could not afford it back then, so there was a little bit of resentment.
Now, most people can’t afford college. Either they have to find scholarships or get financial aid. People usually have to compete for the former and the latter is costly, still. And there is no guarantee graduates will be able to find a job in their chosen industry.
There’s also the added rhetoric against knowledge. In some circles, college is denigrated because it’s seen as elitist. Science is also denigrated because scientists are seen as elitists and science itself is seen as a threat to religion. Most of the people who believe these things are being pushed to these conclusions by puppet masters who seek to benefit from people’s ignorance.
BTW, while the first video illustrates a point, it’s from Infowars. That’s a vehicle for Alex Jones, who recently said he was putting on an act for conspiracy theorists.
Here’s a better video from Jay Leno:
Schmaltz: we need to distinguish between Universities and Community Colleges here. The latter is quite affordable and open to all. Nothing elitist about that for sure. I find there is little excuse for remaining ignorant of our citizenship understandings in this country.
The study you mentioned was conducted by the Pew Research Center, so colleges and universities were lumped together. That’s just how the question was posed to respondents.
But you have hit on part of the problem. Most people don’t know about community (or junior colleges). However, those institutions are mainly used for students to knock out their required courses (if those credits are transferable) before working on a major. On the other hand, attending those schools might be a waste of time if someone wants to pursue a trade that only requires training.
Regardless, I don’t think this contradicts my point. There is a growing consensus in parts of the country against extra knowledge. Even this discussion about community college shows that people are sometimes unconcerned with facts. Additionally, since college isn’t for everyone, there is resentment toward people who are pushing everyone to purse it anyway.
Regarding American History: Wouldn’t it be interesting if in one grade, children were to take a citizenship test just to so how rigorous it was?
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I would add that “they” don’t need to discourage post-secondary education to create an ignorant populace. Perhaps, “they” can just dumb down k12 education and then make a college education impossible to afford. Oh wait…lol I think I might be too late with this thought.
Are you in the education field? Perhaps you,know about the K-12 crisis of accountability more than most?
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I am. I taught high school English for ten years, and then went into teacher education (Georgia College, FSU), and now Santa Fe. Anywho…there’s an epidemic, and I’m not entirely sure it’s by accident.
That’s interesting. I will stay in touch with your blog.
Shocking and heartbreaking for educators like ourselves, who have dedicated a lifetime trying to impart knowledge. Sometimes I feel like we are living in the time of Constantine, who took out Biblical passages that might enlighten and create free thinking, and banned any sense of knowledge or respect towards women, keeping the common man ignorant so they would follow blindly. It’s rather like the futuristic society in HG Wells’ book, “The Time Mavhine” where the people were kept unaware so they could be slaughtered and become the food source. It’s horrifying!
I agree Leslie that today’s Trump era parallels science fiction predicting the worst of humankind. Horrified would be the correct tone. So many of my blog followers see it the same way . I appreciate any answers they provide to cope with this crisis.