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American kids, dumber than dirt; is it really this bad? - Page 2

post #16 of 163

Let's clarify that this isn't about making universal claims that all kids nowadays are dumb.  But it is fair to look at trends and demographics.  There will always be bright kids out there regardless.  I still think the trend has been and is negative.  I also don't believe people are 'more' educated.  Learning breadth has declined and specialization has increased because it has had to.  Market conditions demanded it.  Some may appear to be better educated simply because they are forced to have a narrower focus so they laser in.  Regardless, my experience is that there is a per capita decline overall and it does not bode well.  American society needs to reshift its focus from protecting special interests and put it back on children.  Otherwise the market will create a demand for a better service, which will be met, or the system will fail and destroy itself.   

post #17 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 

The Office of Education was part of the federal government, and it's original name was the Department of Education. The first Commissioner of Education changed the name to the Bureau of Education. The official names was "Office of Education" from 1870 to 1929.  My post has been amended in respect to these semantics, I hope it makes more sense to you now.

 

If it didn't have much influence, how did they require all high school students in the US to learn Latin, the international language of law (for example) as recently as the 1950's?
The United States Department of Education, also referred to as the Education Department, is a Cabinet-level department of the US federal government. Local school boards are largely responsible for enforcing federal mandates.


You have cite for the Latin requirement? I have been unable to turn up any sources that indicate Latin was a requirement for high school students as mandated by the Office of Education. Latin was certainly a popular language to fulfill foreign language credits before the 1950's, but as far as I can tell, it was never a hard requirement.

 

Also, strong federal primary education mandates are a recent thing. It wasn't until Bush II's NCLB that the Department of Education had the muscle to start exerting significant amounts of control on America's primary education system. Obama's RTTT initiative has expanded the Federal Government's reach even further, but the bulk of school system control still happens at the state and local level.

post #18 of 163

Being a teenager in todays society is indeed discouraging. 

 

There are three types of students in my school.

 

1.) The kids that legitimately do not give a sh*t about anything. 

2.) The kids that actually worry about their grades and copy off the smarter kids

3.) And the intelligent students that study hard and want to make something out of their life

 

I get the impression that this divide has always been in place, however the percentages of students that study hard is decreasing at a startling rate. 

 

I myself fall in the two top categories, depending on which class I'm in. I haven't done any homework in 9 weeks in a few of my classes. Public School is that bad in Texas.

 

My kids, unless they are significantly extroverted, are going to be home schooled or be in a private school. And this is coming from a 16 year old.

post #19 of 163
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin View Post

You have cite for the Latin requirement? I have been unable to turn up any sources that indicate Latin was a requirement for high school students as mandated by the Office of Education. Latin was certainly a popular language to fulfill foreign language credits before the 1950's, but as far as I can tell, it was never a hard requirement.

 

Also, strong federal primary education mandates are a recent thing. It wasn't until Bush II's NCLB that the Department of Education had the muscle to start exerting significant amounts of control on America's primary education system. Obama's RTTT initiative has expanded the Federal Government's reach even further, but the bulk of school system control still happens at the state and local level.

 


I may have said that wrong, high schools were required to offer Latin, while students were required to learn a language. This information is from my parents who went to HS in the 1950's, and I can't find a reference for it either so I apologize if it was wrong. Neither is required now, while most kids in other parts of the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America) are multi-lingual. The Latin thing was just an example of what options used to be available in public education.
 
Where we are really falling behind the rest of the world is in advanced degrees achieved in the hard sciences per capita. As our college professors reach retirement age, we are appointing more and more foreign-educated intellectuals because of a lack of domestic supply. The rest of the world used to come here for advanced academics, and that is happening less and less as time marches on.
 
It may have been federal guidelines instead of mandates before Bush, but these requirements didn't vary that much from state to state. Now many schools can't afford to teach languages, arts, humanities etc. because of federal mandates designed to make us more relevant in the world again intellectually. But the point of the article is that we keep falling farther and farther behind the rest of the world intellectually, and to explore what we need to do to fix that.
 
Executive policy in the 1980's first wanted to abolish the Department of Education, and later tried to define ketchup as vegetable in school lunches to save money. This all happened as the US exploded the military budget in order to outspend the Soviets during the Cold War.
 
Let's keep the political part of this discussion historical rather than contemporary if possible, in order to keep this thread from being locked.

Edited by grokit - 10/22/10 at 1:15am
post #20 of 163

I'll just say it one more time.  Watch this movie, it will lift most of the veil.  Unlike 'Inconvenient Truth' this is far more accurate and didn't have to use Photoshop to manufacture arguments.

 

@Grokit - Money isn't the problem.  California spends more for each student and teacher yet performs worse than practically every other state. 

 


Edited by Anaxilus - 10/22/10 at 9:35am
post #21 of 163

 

 

It is a fact of life that the more intelligent amongst us have far less children than the run of the mill dumbo.

 

This results in an ever increasing number of dumbo's.

 

No amount of education will correct this imbalance.

post #22 of 163

Quote:

Originally Posted by ford2 View Post

 

 

It is a fact of life that the more intelligent amongst us have far less children than the run of the mill dumbo.

 

This results in an ever increasing number of dumbo's.

 

No amount of education will correct this imbalance.


That seems to be clear.

 

Those on welfare get more money the more kids they have. But barring mandatory sterilizations for welfare enrollees I'm not sure how this could be fixed...
 

post #23 of 163
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post

 

It is a fact of life that the more intelligent amongst us have far less children than the run of the mill dumbo.

 

This results in an ever increasing number of dumbo's.

 

No amount of education will correct this imbalance.


Very good point 

 

 

@Anaxilus, money isn't the problem, it's the excuse IMO. Great trailer, very illustrative. Analysis toned down, good advice.


Edited by grokit - 10/22/10 at 2:42am
post #24 of 163
Thread Starter 

I'd just like to add that kids today are facing many unprecedented challenges that have an impact on their educational achievement. Between the challenge of offering cost effective nutrition in school lunches, the lure of fast food, and an overabundance of processed food at home, many kids are suffering nutritional deficiencies in their diet and as a result are having a hard time maintaining any kind of mental stamina in class, specifically challenges to maintain attentive focus.

 

Nutritional deficiencies in this kind of diet include preservatives/additives/toxins, too many sugars and other simple carbs, too many trans fats, and not enough omega-3 fats.

 

According to the CDC, 8% of our school-age kids on average (ranging from 5% to 11% by state) have been diagnosed with ADHD, and boys are at about a 30% higher risk than girls. There are many undiagnosed ADHD kids in our schools as well. Not only do these kids have a hard time learning, they can be quite disruptive and distracting to the other kids that are actually trying to concentrate on their lessons. These diagnosises are increasing at around 3% per year since 1996. In addition to ADHD being at epidemic levels, these deficiencies also correlate into unprecedented rises in childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes.

 

Basically our food has been dumbed down just like everything else and our kids suffer the most, because so few of them know any better, or any different. Yes the parents can be blamed, but there are also socio-economic factors at play. Not enough exercise also contributes.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_and_attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder


Edited by grokit - 10/22/10 at 2:44am
post #25 of 163

I blame the parents. The baby boomers and Generation X have shown a level of disregard for the future of the next generation and the environment that history will show them to be the most selfish, inconsiderate generations of them all.

post #26 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

I'd just like to add that kids today are facing many unprecedented challenges that have an impact on their educational achievement. Between the challenge of offering cost effective nutrition in school lunches, the lure of fast food, and an overabundance of processed food at home, many kids are suffering nutritional deficiencies in their diet and as a result are having a hard time maintaining any kind of mental stamina in class, specifically challenges to maintain attentive focus.

 

Nutritional deficiencies in this kind of diet include preservatives/additives/toxins, too many sugars and other simple carbs, too many trans fats, and not enough omega-3 fats.

 

According to the CDC, 8% of our school-age kids on average (ranging from 5% to 11% by state) have been diagnosed with ADHD, and boys are at about a 30% higher risk than girls. There are many undiagnosed ADHD kids in our schools as well. Not only do these kids have a hard time learning, they can be quite disruptive and distracting to the other kids that are actually trying to concentrate on their lessons. These diagnosises are increasing at around 3% per year since 1996. In addition to ADHD being at epidemic levels, these deficiencies also correlate into unprecedented rises in childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes.

 

Basically our food has been dumbed down just like everything else and our kids suffer the most, because so few of them know any better, or any different. Yes the parents can be blamed, but there are also socio-economic factors at play. Not enough exercise also contributes.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_and_attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder


ADHD has a strong correlation with parenting, or lack thereof. Also, bear in mind that it is a "disease" limited to North American and some of Wester Europe. As far as the Japanese are concerned, it does not exist. Stupid parents = stupider offspring, and (no offense) Americans really don't rank that high in the eyes of the world in terms of education and common knowledge. Sure, you guys do most things best and have lots of the most brilliant minds. But for each genius, there are thousands of Darwinian nightmares. Admittedly, you could argue Canada is catching up with the US in this respect, but then again we have had an American-esque conservative government that has wreaked havoc in our country during it's short time in power. :P I blame them!

 

There is only so much you can do through diet. There are many other factors such as exercise and parenting. Omega 3 deficiencies effect like 100% of people in the world. To offset omega 6 you should be getting a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. North Americans tend to get infinite levels more of omega 6 which causes inflammation and all kinds of other issues.

 

ADHD medications are ampetamines, or amphetamine analogues and they funtion in all people the same way. Ritalin (Concerta too) is chemically almost identical to Cocaine but it lasts for 3 hours instead of 20 mins, and Dexederine, Adderall, vyvanse are all amphetamine salts. The reason why these medications work is because they would work no matter who took them ADHD or no ADHD. It is not some sort of miracle cure, but they do work to help the kids perform. It doesn't change what is causing these problems.

 

And since when have (North) Americans ever eaten well? Sausages with hashburns and corn with maple syrup is a balanced diet? Steak potatoes and peas and beans is a balanced mean? North Americans have always eating horribly and the rollercoaster effect on our insulin levels is what is responsible for the diabetes and obesity. Carbs from potatoes or coke are all the same in your blood stream. You are just slightly better off eating potatoes.

 

Nutritional retardation has been a long standing thing in our continent, but you are right that the level of processed and refined foods makes it all the more easier and rewarding to get simple carbs, transfat, and salt -But hardly the sole factor.

 

FWIW as a Canadian it blows my mind when I got down to Vermont. In US grocery stores the Cookie section is like the size of the entire vegetable section in a Canadian one and vice versa. The amount of store space dedicated to actual food to prepare is really small. Could be I just don't know where to go though, but it is very striking.

post #27 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Permagrin View Post

Quote:


That seems to be clear.

 

Those on welfare get more money the more kids they have. But barring mandatory sterilizations for welfare enrollees I'm not sure how this could be fixed...
 

The Americans (as well as many other countries) have already done this sort of eugenics extensively with mentally challenged people in the not so distant past. Who knows maybe they will try it again.
 


Edited by sokolov91 - 10/22/10 at 3:27am
post #28 of 163

Quote:

Originally Posted by grokit View Post

If it didn't have much influence, how did they require all high school students in the US to learn Latin, the international language of law (for example) as recently as the 1950's?


Latin is not used as an international language of law.  Quite a few Latin terms are used in law, but the language itself is not used.  I took two years of Latin in undergrad before proceeding to law school.  It was helpful to recognize the phrases, but you still had to learn the thinking and doctrine behind them.

 

Also, there's very little that is universal among systems of laws.  Ours was based on (and still uses, believe it or not) the English common law system.  Canada, Australia, NZ, and a few others use common law, but there are codes and all sorts of other systems in place around the world.

 

Quite a few treaties are written in French, but more often, English is used.

 

As for the school system, well, it's not terribly good.

 

However, I don't blame the majority of morons and idiots on the school system.  So many people assume that everything you know must be learned in school.  Nonsense.  Whatever happened to being curious and learning things that interest you?

 

People are a bit curious still, but they fill up on celebrity crap and entertainment trivia.  It used to be that people would read up on and learn things that interest them.  That used to be expected in the educational system, as well.  The reason you were taught the classics and fundamentals was to make sure everyone had a background in them.  What went without saying was that you were expected to explore popular culture on your own.  These days, pop culture has become academic and quite a few have lost their curiosity.

 

If we want to improve people, they have to become curious and develop a desire to learn on their own.  That is whats really missing.  Spending $3,000,000 on a new performing arts center at a high school won't make kids pick up interesting books on their own or muck around in a workshop to figure out how to do something.  Funding is not the problem.

post #29 of 163
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sokolov91 View Post


ADHD has a strong correlation with parenting, or lack thereof. Also, bear in mind that it is a "disease" limited to North American and some of Wester Europe. As far as the Japanese are concerned, it does not exist. Stupid parents = stupider offspring, and (no offense) Americans really don't rank that high in the eyes of the world in terms of education and common knowledge. Sure, you guys do most things best and have lots of the most brilliant minds. But for each genius, there are thousands of Darwinian nightmares. Admittedly, you could argue Canada is catching up with the US in this respect, but then again we have had an American-esque conservative government that has wreaked havoc in our country during it's short time in power. :P I blame them!

 

There is only so much you can do through diet. There are many other factors such as exercise and parenting. Omega 3 deficiencies effect like 100% of people in the world. To offset omega 6 you should be getting a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. North Americans tend to get infinite levels more of omega 6 which causes inflammation and all kinds of other issues.

 

ADHD medications are ampetamines, or amphetamine analogues and they funtion in all people the same way. Ritalin (Concerta too) is chemically almost identical to Cocaine but it lasts for 3 hours instead of 20 mins, and Dexederine, Adderall, vyvanse are all amphetamine salts. The reason why these medications work is because they would work no matter who took them ADHD or no ADHD. It is not some sort of miracle cure, but they do work to help the kids perform. It doesn't change what is causing these problems.

 

And since when have (North) Americans ever eaten well? Sausages with hashburns and corn with maple syrup is a balanced diet? Steak potatoes and peas and beans is a balanced mean? North Americans have always eating horribly and the rollercoaster effect on our insulin levels is what is responsible for the diabetes and obesity. Carbs from potatoes or coke are all the same in your blood stream. You are just slightly better off eating potatoes.

 

Nutritional retardation has been a long standing thing in our continent, but you are right that the level of processed and refined foods makes it all the more easier and rewarding to get simple carbs, transfat, and salt -But hardly the sole factor.

 

FWIW as a Canadian it blows my mind when I got down to Vermont. In US grocery stores the Cookie section is like the size of the entire vegetable section in a Canadian one and vice versa. The amount of store space dedicated to actual food to prepare is really small. Could be I just don't know where to go though, but it is very striking.


I agree about the parenting as well as nutrition but currently accepted studies say that ADHD is 75% genetic. I don't buy it.

post #30 of 163
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Quote:


Latin is not used as an international language of law.  Quite a few Latin terms are used in law, but the language itself is not used.  I took two years of Latin in undergrad before proceeding to law school.  It was helpful to recognize the phrases, but you still had to learn the thinking and doctrine behind them.

 

Also, there's very little that is universal among systems of laws.  Ours was based on (and still uses, believe it or not) the English common law system.  Canada, Australia, NZ, and a few others use common law, but there are codes and all sorts of other systems in place around the world.

 

Quite a few treaties are written in French, but more often, English is used.

 

As for the school system, well, it's not terribly good.

 

However, I don't blame the majority of morons and idiots on the school system.  So many people assume that everything you know must be learned in school.  Nonsense.  Whatever happened to being curious and learning things that interest you?

 

People are a bit curious still, but they fill up on celebrity crap and entertainment trivia.  It used to be that people would read up on and learn things that interest them.  That used to be expected in the educational system, as well.  The reason you were taught the classics and fundamentals was to make sure everyone had a background in them.  What went without saying was that you were expected to explore popular culture on your own.  These days, pop culture has become academic and quite a few have lost their curiosity.

 

If we want to improve people, they have to become curious and develop a desire to learn on their own.  That is whats really missing.  Spending $3,000,000 on a new performing arts center at a high school won't make kids pick up interesting books on their own or muck around in a workshop to figure out how to do something.  Funding is not the problem.


That's what I meant, that Latin terminology is used extensively in the legal system, I shouldn't have said it was "the language of law".

 

But I don't think that kids today don't have the innate desire to learn worthwhile things (quite the opposite in fact--check out that movie trailer above), but there is an institutionalized apathy in our public schools that can certainly affect a kid's attitude about learning. I started out in private school, and when my family moved to the suburbs was put in public school. Literally everything was different, but the biggest change was the transformation from the idea that anything was possible, to the attitude that everything worth doing had already been done, so why bother. That difference can be a literal mind-blower for impressionable youth.


Edited by grokit - 10/22/10 at 3:59am
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