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