The Dumbing Down of America

Changes for the New Year

As the New Year approaches and arrives, it’s natural to reflect over the year and speculate toward the future.  People despise change but every minute change happens.  It is inevitable.   But, how we change is the real focus.  As I have alluded to in past blogs, I not only enjoy but demand that I live my life according to my choices as I’m willing to accept the responsibility of those choices.  And, I think that is where one of the problems lies with the Second Amendment.  We are teaching our children to allow themselves to be taken care of and in most cases demand that someone else take responsibility.  As a teacher, I try to guide my students to a place where they look at the evidence, weigh it and then make their own choices each time willing to accept the consequences and responsibility of those choices.

For me, I didn’t know how successful I was until this last election.  Of course, I voted for the other guy but I encouraged my students to vote and not just as their mother or father voted but really looked at the issues that concerned them and voted what “they” thought was right for the future.  After the election, students were talking about why they voted for whom when one of the students said it was something I said (he voted for the current guy) I was shocked, thinking “OH MY – what have I done?”  As he explained his reasoning, not that I agree, but he had sound reasons.  He explored the issues that were important to him and acted on them.  So, where did I go wrong I thought?

I didn’t!  I did my job as I saw it.  That is where an idea started to form.  People want something for nothing.  Not just a few people but generations after generations of people believe they are entitled.  They should “get” something from others without working for it.  The first point to the problem as I see it is they (people) don’t know where to get the something nor do they know “what” that something is.  The one thing they do know is – they want someone else to care for them, take care of their problems and fix it, whatever ‘it’ is at the moment.  And with the media bombarding us with gun violence in the news – THEY want no part of the responsibility, they want the blame to go to something else.

So, how did we get here?

I am sure, without a doubt that the beginning started somewhere else but for my purpose I’m starting with a little known book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt.  I’m not sure I believe all of what she said, but there was one point that rings true.  Written in the foreword of her book, “Mrs. Iserbyt has also documented the gradual transformation of our once academically successful education system into one devoted to training children to become compliant human resources to be used by government and industry for their own purposes.”  I don’t see myself as a conspiracy theorist but I do understand and believe power and money corrupts, well most of the time.  And, I can see the powerful, the movers and shakers of the world wanting the masses to be who we are becoming…..

I grew up in the 70s and remember a movement starting in schools where everyone got an opportunity to play and no one failed.   They didn’t just come out and say it but I could see it in small things that happened.  I started college and decided to become a Criminologist.  I had to have a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale to get into the Master’s program of which I did but three events occurred that continued this belief of the “dumbing down” of America while in the Master’s program.

Memo from a college president

The first was a memo from the college president saying that ‘the students are our clients and the client is always right.’  I just happen to be in one of my professor’s office when she opened the mail, it was all hard copies then.  The overall jest of the memo was to remind teachers that if they were too hard on the students that new students would go somewhere else.  It was about the money not necessarily about the quality of education.

I had professors that I argued with, professors that I learned a great deal from and professors that were more interested in publishing than teaching.  But, all students had the same opportunity but not after this memo.  I talked extensively with this professor about the memo.  She indicated that with each passing year the colleges catered more towards the student than education.

Lowering the bar

The last two points were during the final year of my master’s program.  As I talked about previously, I had to have a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 to get into the program.  Another memo from the college administration stated that the entrance criteria for the master program would be dropped to a 3.0 for future students; I think in some programs a 2.5 is acceptable now.  It is pretty straight forward – you don’t have to try as hard nor be at the top of your class to get into programs today.  I thought to myself at the time, my Master’s Degree is now worth less than when I started.

The last point is more personal – I know that might be hard to believe but it was and is for me more personal.  I was working on the Master’s Proposal.  It still “sticks” in my “crawl” although I laugh about it now.  I had a theory that our government – yes the United States government, was growing at such a rate – becoming so large and controlling that eventually it would collapse.  The government would grow so large that there would be nothing to sustain it.  I had done my research, complied my data and made my arguments.  I waited, and waited – but no word from my committee.  My chair was taking a sabbatical I found out and he directed me to the department chair.  I dutifully made my appointment, introduced myself and explained why I was there.  “You must be living in a fantasy world to think you could predict the collapse of the United States government”, was the first thing out of his mouth. He continued with, “Not even the great scholars would be able to figure that out.”  To say the least, I was devastated.  Today, I know it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that with the deficit growing – we’re in trouble.  He gave no direction – no explanation – did not care.  What a difference those memos were from this uncaring person.

However, it went right in line with the thought of “dumbing down” America.  If he could make me think of myself as less – well maybe I wouldn’t try so hard.  And, he was right.  I proposed some other subject – wrote the paper in a week and WOW – they accepted it.  But, I remember the feeling I had when he implied that I was stupid.  Some students would give up while some like me would conform to what was needed to “get on” with her life.  And then there are some who would have challenged and won.  Please don’t judge me for “getting on” with my life.

So what does that have to do with anything?

You might ask, is she ever going to get to the point?  Well, I hope so – change is happening with every breath we take in life.  For most of us, we don’t like the changes that seem to be happening in America these days.  If we’re going to change the thinking, we have to understand where it comes from.  It starts with our children!  They will be the ones that make the changes in the future.  If they are taught that everyone is at the same level, then why try?  If everyone is allowed to play with no losers, then where will our great athletes come from?  Where are the great thinkers, inventors, doctors and researchers?  We need to start challenging our children to be better, not settling for average.  We need to expect better from our children – not allowing them to “get by”.

We are teaching them to “get by” allowing others to “think” for us today.  When we can’t reason then they will tell us what to do.  …tell us that the Second Amendment is not needed.  …tell us that the masses would be safer without guns.  This is the first of several blogs dealing with the New Year, the changes we are seeing and the Second Amendment.

Until the Next Time…..

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