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Americans getting dumber

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    C.J. Werleman, AlterNet, June 4, 2014: The Results Are In: America Is Dumb and on the Road to Getting Dumber

    This is something that some of us have addressed in this website...the dumbing down of America.

    Anyone who has listened to some members of Congress or politicians like Sarah Palin, Paul Broun, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachman or Fox News pundits have to shake their heads in wonderment...what planet did these folks come from? Werleman cites surveys in making this statement:

    "America remains a scientifically ignorant nation for two reasons: the resurgence of fundamentalist religion during the past 40 years, and secondly, the low level of science education in American elementary and secondary schools, as well as many tertiary colleges."

    “Americans continue to poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth.”

    "This week, Gallup released a poll showing 42 percent of Americans still believe God created human beings in their present form less than 10,000 years ago."


    Not only religious beliefs are driving ignorance but also America’s disparate educational system. "The reliance on property taxes to fund public education has produced an ever-widening gap between those educated in the historically more economically prosperous liberal North versus those schooled in the poorer religious South.

    "Today, the South’s slavish devotion to the Republican Party’s corporate profit motive has ensured a continued devaluation of public education, with GOP-controlled states from North Carolina to Kansas inflicting dramatic spending cuts to education to make way for further tax breaks to the rich and corporations. The far right’s solution to a failing education system is to usher white kids into private schools and Christian academies aka “segregation academies.” The Republican-controlled South is where you see the right’s education strategy in action. “Inspired by home-school superstars such as Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, tens of thousands of other southern families have fled their public-school systems in order to soak their children in the anti-intellectual sitz bath of religious denial,” writes Chuck Thompson in Better Off Without Em."

    Whether or not you agree with Werleman's observations about the south, one cannot deny that on a global scale, American kids are slipping as test scores puts us in the lower middle of the pack of OECD nations. That's not to say we are not producing some of the best student minds in the world. Rather when taken all together, it's the "average". When some students are left behind because of local school politics, they are still part of the average...and the dumbing down of America. Many of these religious driven students of today will end up in Congress to occupy science committees while espousing their beliefs that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. Or denying Climate Change.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I can't speak on the status level of education at the national level, but here in Philly, a democratic stronghold for over fifty years and a school system so broke that it's not funny anymore, our democratic leaders have in place a School Board, 2 Education czars for education, deputy mayors?, a State imposed School Reform Commission, plus too numerous to cite discussion and fact finding panels and still the schools are broke and failing and with a high school dropout rate of almost 13%, per last nights news and they drain the States Budget for education monies at a higher rate than any of the other 66 counties, and the city wants more. Just last month we had several educators including principals who are now indicted for fixing grades to obtain bonus's and to allow the kids to be promoted to enhance the performance ratings for those schools, so I don't know if it's the politics, the lack of accountability of parents/ guardians to monitor these kids, the stranglehold the Union has on the teachers and Administrators or a combination of all these things, but the kids are not dumber ,I feel it's a just lack of incentive to learn.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: C.J. Werleman, AlterNet, June 4, 2014: The Results Are In: America Is Dumb and on the Road to Getting Dumber

    This is something that some of us have addressed in this website...the dumbing down of America.

    Anyone who has listened to some members of Congress or politicians like Sarah Palin, Paul Broun, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachman or Fox News pundits have to shake their heads in wonderment...what planet did these folks come from? Werleman cites surveys in making this statement:

    "America remains a scientifically ignorant nation for two reasons: the resurgence of fundamentalist religion during the past 40 years, and secondly, the low level of science education in American elementary and secondary schools, as well as many tertiary colleges."

    “Americans continue to poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth.”

    "This week, Gallup released a poll showing 42 percent of Americans still believe God created human beings in their present form less than 10,000 years ago."


    Not only religious beliefs are driving ignorance but also America’s disparate educational system. "The reliance on property taxes to fund public education has produced an ever-widening gap between those educated in the historically more economically prosperous liberal North versus those schooled in the poorer religious South.

    "Today, the South’s slavish devotion to the Republican Party’s corporate profit motive has ensured a continued devaluation of public education, with GOP-controlled states from North Carolina to Kansas inflicting dramatic spending cuts to education to make way for further tax breaks to the rich and corporations. The far right’s solution to a failing education system is to usher white kids into private schools and Christian academies aka “segregation academies.” The Republican-controlled South is where you see the right’s education strategy in action. “Inspired by home-school superstars such as Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, tens of thousands of other southern families have fled their public-school systems in order to soak their children in the anti-intellectual sitz bath of religious denial,” writes Chuck Thompson in Better Off Without Em."

    Whether or not you agree with Werleman's observations about the south, one cannot deny that on a global scale, American kids are slipping as test scores puts us in the lower middle of the pack of OECD nations. That's not to say we are not producing some of the best student minds in the world. Rather when taken all together, it's the "average". When some students are left behind because of local school politics, they are still part of the average...and the dumbing down of America. Many of these religious driven students of today will end up in Congress to occupy science committees while espousing their beliefs that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. Or denying Climate Change.
    Thanks, Schmidt; I never did want to say it, but my thought exactly. I always wondered; I live between two teachers, who I think are totally unqualified, since they know absolutely nothing about on how the rest of the world thinks, lives, or is educated in a different way. I also wrote a piece about the enormous gap between schools and qualification for our youth to work in the industry. All they know is how to use their cell phones, I -Pads, and their guns as well listen bravely to their pastor. Also I like to add: the dumber the people, the easier is to influence/indoctrinate them like the Nazi's did.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    ..."All they know is how to use their cell phones, I-Pads, and their guns as well as listen bravely to their pastor"...

    Who are you talking about? The students or the teachers? At least some of the teachers take time out occasionally to have sex with their students.

    Ah yes, public education in America. It just gets better and better: It costs more every year and yet our kids learn less and less every year...funny how that works.

    And the solution by our politicians is to always throw more money at the problem.

    Bad teachers can't be fired...and they STILL can't figure out the problem?
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    Schmidt, the dumbing down of America works both ways from the statements on teachers, politicians with results on children's progress. A large part of the American public are less adult advocates that can serve our country with being examples for promoting success. Americans spend more energy and time on blaming each other with no servitude in helping our children succeed. A classic example is the Boy Scouts of America where now women have taken adult leadership roles because men failed to step up. Men fail to step up being fathers and creating the family unit. Men fail to see that their sexual escapades leads to fatherless children, thus women being more single mothers with children. Men fail their responsibility in keeping mankind evolving for better living. No, we are more spent on blaming others, instead of taking a stand and volunteering to help our children, so that they may make life's decisions for their role in adulthood. America is creating a lost population wandering in limbo and not knowing when their next meal may come from.

    This is one of many reasons that since men come up with the most stupid and selfish agendas for the direction of America, I vote and support more women for the roles in government (local, state & federal). Of course, women can have these type characters shared by men, but it appears that more women than men have a greater desire to save mankind and our nation.

    I attempted to start a thread on "Serving America", but it turned to expose those that think only in their ominous disregard for being servants, but rather another stupid entry to blame military and church (religious institution). Blame the institutions that built America that seems the call of the ignorant ready to expose their greed, selfish and lazy attitudes for serving a purpose. I often think that maybe they are invalid or tied to sick bed, immobile in activity to serve humanity. An older man (90's) than me, once told me that your just too old if you don't work and serve your country. There's a lot of wisdom in that statement, because America offers so much opportunity to serve humanity. This post does not offer the space to numerate and identify all the organizations for serving our civilization. I intend to volunteer more, if I can ever dedicate the long time schedules where needed. Some of the institutions I would like to serve is Veteran Groups at local hospitals or VA, Church Camps, Meals-On-Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Community Assistance Council and the list keeps building. It frustrates me to sit at home in my limited spare time, because anxiety comes and I fidget until I get up and go do something. I already have a long list of scheduled groups I volunteer my time with and of course the only pay I get is the tax deduction on the mileage expended for the activity. It's not much, but pay is not the satisfaction, it's the shear joy of seeing people in need smile or enjoy your presence. I do suffer pain when I see a young man unable to attend Scout Camp or quit for reasons his parents/parent do not give him support. I suffer pain when I see a child that has a severe handicap that does not receive help from an adult/group action. I do suffer pain when I see an old person that suffers financially or medically. While going on Missions around the world and country, you often see the worst-of-the-worse, however, there is always another experience that you will say, "this is worst I have seen". These poor conditions, guess what?........can be right here in America.

    Life is cruel, but at the same time, America needs help from servants dedicating their time changeing the course in educating and supporting our youth and adults. There is just too many lazy people in America that feed off their greed and selfishness to blame others for their own problems in not doing more for America. So, I can say to everyone, just get up off your ass, spend less time at the gold course, and serve America with your finances and time (most important).
  • Independent
    Mobile, AL
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    During a recent conversation with a friend about Common Core, I was amazed to learn that the purpose of standard education levels is to influence children into a gay lifestyle. When I asked if he had actually gone to the CC site, I was told that he didn't have to...'someone' had told him it was promoting the LGBT lifestyle and he didn't have to question his source...and we wonder why the south has such a dismal record in education. Other friends have removed their children from public school in favor of homeschool...don't want them influenced by sinful outsiders. After all, they watch some show on TV about a family that homeschools with 19 children and they are doing so well so it couldn't be difficult with 1 or 2. Most of the homeschooled children I have encountered are leaning how to go shopping with Mom. In Alabama our state leadership spends most of their time trying to find a way to put the 10 commandments on every classroom wall and make sure everyone prays long & loud during class. I don't see a lot of concern about educational levels anywhere except when the teachers can talk among friends...after all, if it becomes known they would rather teach math or science instead of fundamentalist religion, they would find themselves out of a job. I have suggested they make sure their children learn to speak Chinese...that way they will have no problem learning to ask "do you want fries with that order" as that will be the only jobs available for them because Asia is gonna leave us in the educational dust.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    AmcmurryFreedom Wrote: Schmidt, the dumbing down of America works both ways from the statements on teachers, politicians with results on children's progress. A large part of the American public are less adult advocates that can serve our country with being examples for promoting success. Americans spend more energy and time on blaming each other with no servitude in helping our children succeed. A classic example is the Boy Scouts of America where now women have taken adult leadership roles because men failed to step up. Men fail to step up being fathers and creating the family unit. Men fail to see that their sexual escapades leads to fatherless children, thus women being more single mothers with children. Men fail their responsibility in keeping mankind evolving for better living. No, we are more spent on blaming others, instead of taking a stand and volunteering to help our children, so that they may make life's decisions for their role in adulthood. America is creating a lost population wandering in limbo and not knowing when their next meal may come from.

    This is one of many reasons that since men come up with the most stupid and selfish agendas for the direction of America, I vote and support more women for the roles in government (local, state & federal). Of course, women can have these type characters shared by men, but it appears that more women than men have a greater desire to save mankind and our nation.

    I attempted to start a thread on "Serving America", but it turned to expose those that think only in their ominous disregard for being servants, but rather another stupid entry to blame military and church (religious institution). Blame the institutions that built America that seems the call of the ignorant ready to expose their greed, selfish and lazy attitudes for serving a purpose. I often think that maybe they are invalid or tied to sick bed, immobile in activity to serve humanity. An older man (90's) than me, once told me that your just too old if you don't work and serve your country. There's a lot of wisdom in that statement, because America offers so much opportunity to serve humanity. This post does not offer the space to numerate and identify all the organizations for serving our civilization. I intend to volunteer more, if I can ever dedicate the long time schedules where needed. Some of the institutions I would like to serve is Veteran Groups at local hospitals or VA, Church Camps, Meals-On-Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Community Assistance Council and the list keeps building. It frustrates me to sit at home in my limited spare time, because anxiety comes and I fidget until I get up and go do something. I already have a long list of scheduled groups I volunteer my time with and of course the only pay I get is the tax deduction on the mileage expended for the activity. It's not much, but pay is not the satisfaction, it's the shear joy of seeing people in need smile or enjoy your presence. I do suffer pain when I see a young man unable to attend Scout Camp or quit for reasons his parents/parent do not give him support. I suffer pain when I see a child that has a severe handicap that does not receive help from an adult/group action. I do suffer pain when I see an old person that suffers financially or medically. While going on Missions around the world and country, you often see the worst-of-the-worse, however, there is always another experience that you will say, "this is worst I have seen". These poor conditions, guess what?........can be right here in America.

    Life is cruel, but at the same time, America needs help from servants dedicating their time changeing the course in educating and supporting our youth and adults. There is just too many lazy people in America that feed off their greed and selfishness to blame others for their own problems in not doing more for America. So, I can say to everyone, just get up off your ass, spend less time at the gold course, and serve America with your finances and time (most important).
    Yes, I agree, Boyscouts and Church Camps, Meals on wheels makes America much smarter; Where is my little flag so I can learn waving it?
    Shaking my old head again.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    amc -- Yes I agree. Volunteering has its own rewards...the satisfaction of helping others. There are many local, state and national organizations for volunteering opportunities, but probably some of the best are those within one's own community. Community volunteering brings together neighbors that you might not otherwise meet. Obama was a "community organizer" and that title has been mocked by certain Republicans as somehow not being a worthy experience to qualify him for President. I would argue that it is the perfect experience as one can identify at a grassroots level the difficulties of making a neighborhood work.

    Presidents don't need corporate CEO experience or military experience, but working with people, whether within a faith based group or a larger community effort, not only helps those in need but it fosters friendships that can cut across party lines.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    johnnycee Wrote: I can't speak on the status level of education at the national level, but here in Philly, a democratic stronghold for over fifty years and a school system so broke that it's not funny anymore, our democratic leaders have in place a School Board, 2 Education czars for education, deputy mayors?, a State imposed School Reform Commission, plus too numerous to cite discussion and fact finding panels and still the schools are broke and failing and with a high school dropout rate of almost 13%, per last nights news and they drain the States Budget for education monies at a higher rate than any of the other 66 counties, and the city wants more. Just last month we had several educators including principals who are now indicted for fixing grades to obtain bonus's and to allow the kids to be promoted to enhance the performance ratings for those schools, so I don't know if it's the politics, the lack of accountability of parents/ guardians to monitor these kids, the stranglehold the Union has on the teachers and Administrators or a combination of all these things, but the kids are not dumber ,I feel it's a just lack of incentive to learn.
    Johnnycee --

    Fund Philly Schools

    "Since Gov. Corbett took office, it has become clear that when he must choose between tax breaks for corporations and much-needed investments in our children, he picks corporations and wealthy donors every time. The crisis in Philadelphia public schools has been manufactured by Corbett. He is starving the city of resources and then using teachers as scapegoats and Philadelphia families as pawns.

    "The state has passed a series of devastating budget cuts that disproportionately affect Philadelphia. Since taking office in 2011, Corbett has expanded tax breaks for corporations and the energy industry while cutting $1 billion from education statewide.

    "Schools are operating with bare-bones resources and without counselors, nurses, music teachers, librarians, administrative assistants and even copy paper. Twenty-four schools have been closed, and thousands of teachers and school support staff have been laid off."


    Okay that's just the start. There's much more at that website...Facts. When one looks at the Republican "war on education", the cuts that Governor Corbett has made to the Philadelphia school budget are probably some of the worst in the nation. That's why he will be tossed in the next election.

    This is what Republcans do...cut taxes for corporations and then slash school budgets to pay for them...and then heap the blame on the teachers.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I am not a fan of Tom Corbett but the abuse committed by our local officials here in Philly does not help the cause for more funding, the State has allowed Philly to impose an additional 1% sales onto the State Sale tax, strictly for the schools, they (Philly) just barely made the deadline for filing for the extra funding by the State, our school board spends as if it has money, there is only 47% of Phila. that are homeowners, which is where a big chunk of the school funding is raised, the rest are either low income housing, no tax revenue, or apartment dwellers, again not enough of a tax base there, the business tax is brutal so many of our new business has chosen to operate just outside of Phila in the surrounding counties to avoid the onerous taxes, Phila also has a Wage Tax, which is an additional tax only in Phila btw, which is a tax on wages earned in Phila, and charged to residents also who work out of the city, of course if you rent and work out of the city, it's easier to avoid the wage tax, this has broken down the tax revenues even more, yes Corbett (Rep) is a bit of a scrooge when it comes to Phila. but as long as the schools offers free meals ( 3) all year long, even though we have a DHS agency, whose primary job is to ensure that the children are well cared for and are safe, but for some reason the schools have taken on a portion of that mission, most of the schools meals are thrown away as the kids don't eat them, the school system will always be broke, Corbett has demanded of the school board a better monitoring system and of course a higher rating for classroom achievement in order to qualify for the higher funding, which the school board has yet to comply. Tom Corbett has reminded everyone that there 67 counties in Pa. and that Phila. is just one of them, the worst mind you, but those other county school boards some of which have met the criteria and in some cases surpassed it deserved funding also. So its not just a Republican issue this problem has been festering even back in the Ed. Rendell ( Democrat) era .
  • Democrat
    Athens, GA
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    I have no doubt that Americans are getting dumber. As Werleman has noted, too many of our politicians (supposed leaders) are dumb.

    And, right-wing religions that the GOP adores also promote ignorance.

    And, I'm guessing that ignorance about money management also rewards the dark money folks in the GOP.


  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    johnnycee --

    I see where the state of Pennsylvania is spending $400 million to replace the aging Graterford Prison. Governor Corbett hasn't decided what to do with the old prison, but I read where it's not going to be torn down. Maybe they can use it for a school and bus the students there. The state doesn't have money to build new schools but a prison yes.

    Just a thought...
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    Only by serving our youth and fellow mankind with our abundant time and finances, can we begin the process of educating and developing our society. Most people have no connection to serving humanity, thus we diminish as an intelligent species. The dumbing down of America will continue until we start helping one another to succeed. Those of you that are too lazy to bother with to spend time helping youth and people in need are the reasons why we get dumber each year. A program that is popular in grade schools is "READING" to youth. Helping the youth learn to read is one of those First Starts toward success. Another is Math, Art and many other choices. Our teachers enjoy the volunteers that come in at specific times to give extra help to those in need of assistance. Don't even try to say that's the teachers job, because you are in denial of what is needed to help our society. Since less parents seem to not care to be part of the PTA or assist their children at home, these students get lost or behind a curriculum that must be mastered. So, if your not helping, quit blaming others for the Dumbing Down of America. You only need to look in the mirror, because you are part of the problem.

    This goes for older adults and those are shuttered away in their homes. We can all help people in need, as we can change the momentum and course of Dumbing Down America.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Schmidt Wrote: johnnycee --

    I see whee the state of Pennsylvania is spending $400 million to replace the aging Graterford Prison. Governor Corbett hasn't decided what to do with the old prison, but I read where it's not going to be torn down. Maybe they can use it for a school and bus the students there. The state doesn't have money to build new schools but a prison yes.

    Just a thought...
    Maybe your right about Gratisford prison being re-tooled, but the building of new prisons is so expensive and the cost of rehabbing the old prisons sounds pretty cost effective to me, Gov. Corbett can't control the raising prison population,. whether it's because of mandatory sentencing guidelines or the economy or whatever else they can blame the increased population on, and the female population is raising even faster, which means more female prisons, also I believe the State Budget for the Schools/education is a different line item than Corrections, although the Gov. does sign off on the Budget, it's the legislatures job to pass the Budget, so by saying that taking money from one area of the Budget to another area is what is needed is just what is known as feel good talk.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: amc -- Yes I agree. Volunteering has its own rewards...the satisfaction of helping others. There are many local, state and national organizations for volunteering opportunities, but probably some of the best are those within one's own community. Community volunteering brings together neighbors that you might not otherwise meet. Obama was a "community organizer" and that title has been mocked by certain Republicans as somehow not being a worthy experience to qualify him for President. I would argue that it is the perfect experience as one can identify at a grassroots level the difficulties of making a neighborhood work.

    Presidents don't need corporate CEO experience or military experience, but working with people, whether within a faith based group or a larger community effort, not only helps those in need but it fosters friendships that can cut across party lines.
    Schmidt, what has happened to you? Sorry you started this thread; I guess it was about getting more "smart" people; not about community service.
    Sorry AMC lives in la la land. Bible class, and learn to tie knots in a rope and learn to march and salute, handing out food or clothes, does not make people smarter. Wow you are smarter than that.