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SCIENCE EDUCATION IN AMERICA

Occasionally I've blogged here about the state of America's education - targeting specifically our "doctors of edubabble" and the teacher certification process - as two significant culprits in the educational morass that is America.  I know the morass well, having taught college for a number of years, and being consistently surprised at the overall stupidity of the "education majors" entering my European, Mediaeval, British, or Russian history classes. Not knowing American history, you can imagine what a hash they made of the Tudor Monarchy or the Glorious Revolution(which, incidentally, they identified with the Bolshevik revolution), or of having to learn "all that religion and philosophy stuff" in order to have a precarious grasp of the Middle Ages. To be sure, our history and literature education in this country is more than deplorable. If you know a doctor of edubabble, blame him or her.

But what concerns me most, as technology spirals to ever dizzying heights, is the growing signs of Amerika's looming Third World status, as reflected in its test scores in science and mathematics (after all, we're dealing with a country some of whose population thinks - on the basis of a "literal interpretation of Scripture" - that the Earth is 6,000 years old). I ran across this little article that drives the point home:

Poor U.S. Test Results Tied To Weak Curriculum

Consider that one significant central statement:

  1. By the time our students are ready to leave high school - ready to enter higher education and the labor force - they are doing so badly with science they are significantly weaker than their peers in other countries.
  2. Our idea of "advanced" is clearly below international standards.
  3. There appears to be a consistent weakness in our teaching performance in physical sciences that becomes magnified over the years.

Even the article gives in to the "edubabble", for note, "There appears to be a consistent weakness in our teaching performance in physical sciences that becomes magnified over the years."

Appears to be!?!?

COnsider these astonishing admissions, and the soft-pedaling language they are couched in:

"Curricula The biggest deficits are found at the middle school level. In middle school, most countries shift curricula from basic arithmetic and elementary science in the direction of chemistry, physics, algebra and geometry. Even poor countries generally teach a half-year of algebra and a half-year of geometry to every eighth-grader.

"In U.S. middle schools, however, most students continue to review arithmetic. And they are more likely to study earth science and life science than physics or chemistry.

 "Teachers Among teachers of high school biology and life sciences classes, approximately 31 percent of them do not have at least a minor in biology. Among high school physical science teachers, over half, 55 percent, do not have at least a minor in any of the physical sciences. Again we might question the focus of the teachers on social re-engineering instead of subject areas."

We "might" consider the focus of teachers on social-re-engineering instead of subject areas? We might? At least the article gets one thing right, our higher education isn't higher at all. Our middle schools are glorified elementary schools, our high schools glorified middle schools, and college is...well, a mess.

What we might want to consider is holding the doctors of edubabble and all the phoney baloney educational psychology and methodology professors accountable for this mess (and the politicians who pander to them), and simply fire them. And we might want to consider what's going to happen in a few years when our technological infrastructure literally falls apart from lack of well-trained and competent scientists and engineers to administer it.

Our education system is a reflection of our society and culture, and if that be the case, then what it is telling us is: we have no culture, and are a dying society.

23 thoughts on “SCIENCE EDUCATION IN AMERICA”

  1. The continued “dumbing down” of the U.S. is part of a process begun by JD Rockyfailure – His statement about education in America was:

    “I want a nation of workers, not a nation of thinkers.”

    He and his heirs have done their job well.

    I sit and listen to Masters level presentations on a regular basis, and I am struck by how much they sound like 6th graders.

    It is sad. It is even sadder that these poor people actually think they are educated.

  2. Thank the gods, we live in a country where no one can be forced into a career in science and mathematics, “as technology spirals to ever dizzying heights”. Life imitates art. The brain-damaged and mind controlled kids, parents and grand-
    parents will eventually say enough is enough.

  3. I would say that Timothy Leary is probably right: the educational system is doing exactly what it is designed to. The outcome is intentional. while his idea was that the system produced people motivated by fear and greed, I think another key idea is that most “products” of the American educational system are, what a friend calls, “epistemologically retarded.” You can “analyze” a poem, but don’t you dare analyze all the important stuff you are just supposed to believe. In science, you are taught to “solve problems” (especially in physics), and yet if anyone even thinks about trying to question anything at all in the sacred canon in the textbooks, they are prevented from ever getting a job in the field.

    The idea that the educational system “trains people to think” is just rhetorical. Students are trained all right, but to think ONLY in appropriate ways and about APPROVED subjects ONLY.

    Another key idea is that there are some kids who do well IN SPITE of the system. They are the ones who work hard and succeed. That’s all it takes for most of us: hard work. I think a powerful argument can be made that the culture has as much to do with the quality of students as anything. The idea of “effort” has almost vanished from American culture. It is all about just winning the lottery, or getting a “good job,” becoming a famous sports star or movie star, or some other sort of free ride: anything EXCEPT actually working for what you get. That ‘ole “Protestant work ethic” has all but disappeared. And guess what: “education” is something that takes a whole lot of EFFORT. You literally get out of it what you put in it. I am 50 years old and I remember how few kids in high school put ZERO effort into school.

    Most kids spend their whole lives watching TV, playing video games, “going to the mall,” playing sports, and now even just talking on the phone. Few parents make their kids put forth sustained effort for anything serious (sports not included), especially education. The dominant paradigm is still to tell young people that they can “do whatever you want to,” instead of planning out a useful career that might actually be marketable in the here and now as well as the future. As long as these sorts of things define our culture, there is not much that education will be able to do to change anything (imho). The few who work hard will succed as they always have, but most will be “epistemologically retarded,” AKA “easily manipulated by the powers that be.” Gee, the system IS working!!

    1. OOPS: this sentence:

      “I remember how FEW kids in high school put ZERO effort into school.”

      should read:


      I remember how MOST kids in high school put ZERO effort into school.”

  4. Science and History ignorance seems to run in the family I have read articles in New Scientist complaining of science illiteracy in Brittian about as bad as in the USA and a Australian commented and education is as bad in their country. Fprget about our elites being better educated than us proles dream on only difference is between those who know they being lied to and those who believe the lies.

  5. The good Dr. Farrell is probably right about the American education system in general, however i think you have to look at the big picture here.

    The fact is that we are being lied to on a monumental scale, ie politically, religiously, economically, scientifically, biologically, and just about every other facit of human activity.

    Schooling of the young is so important, because it gives the overall basis of or the bedrock of what each individual needs to even try to have a go at life in general.

    So one can imagine what the kids of today are going to be like in say 20 years, they wont have a chance, the lies will finally take their toll.

  6. I believe in self education. I know people who went $50,000 in debt to student loans they will be paying interest on for the rest of their lives from their near minimum wage jobs in the closest job they could find in their feild of study. My college education in subjects that interest me is about $10 dollars and I apear to know more about the subjects than those graduateing from the colleges. And I am doing more with the knowledge I glean from second hand college books and online university papers than many graduates. People need to become self suficient and learn to love useing their mind for themselves. The mind is a beautiful and powerful thing and useing it is a rewarding and incredible art few seek to develope. This comes from a lack of role models and social recognituion of such artists in our materialistic, sex orientated society.

  7. Our education system is not failing. It is succeeding brilliantly at the purpose for which is was designed, to gradually decrease intelligence and reduce the ability of people to survive independent of governmental control and wealth extraction systems.

    Nineteenth century Fabian socialists describe in their papers how this process would work. The adopted the Prussian educational system and adapted it for installation world-wide. The results are there for all the see, especially in the Doktor of Philosophy credentialing and censuring process at the top of the thing.

    1. Timothy Leary had a great quote that went something like this:

      “The educational system is not failing: it is doing exactly what they want it to: it produces people motivated by greed and fear.”

      That is a gross paraphrase from distant memory. But you get the idea.

      1. Indeed !
        Some of US surely do.
        Leary was owned by, bought and paid for by
        “THEM,” those giant ants in New Mexico
        ro do exactly what HE did !!

  8. lets see, they give economic theories known to be false and present them as facts
    present gravitational theories as fact that fail with 2 bodies let alone a solar system.
    present a materialistic lifestyle as utopia….
    teach children silly games of chasing balls as exercise and thus ensure future entertainment revenues.
    and then of course that a guy named columbo discovered america.
    that proper grammer is of the utmost importance as they hand out the new word changes
    and that war is a glorious and noble cause that we owe our existence too.

    in hindsight i am proud that i got expelled as often as i did for telling the indoctrinators to f*&^ off as often as I did.

  9. EL-ementary, Dr. Watson. … The hope-less begin babbling & gibbering ‘love-speak,’ having no idea it is what they are composed from, and which has been turned into a remarkable apathy (-), instead of a resistant dynamic (+). … Nothing like Watching a “good plan” come together. Those EL Spirits sure can Round up the Herd – “Head ’em up, move ’em out, Bla’hideee!”

  10. Robert Barricklow

    A signpost up ahead, “Banker Occupied Territory”.

    There you will find a dumbed-down cheaped-down Rockefeller educated product known as the Amerika labor market.

    History was/is Orwell’s “memoy hole”.

    Newspeak/Double think is the new language.

    The only hope lies in the proles.

    He who passively accepts evil, is as much involved in it, as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against against it, is really cooperating with it.

  11. “Teachers” may find themselves out of a job.

    Ever more frequently, students now have to do homework on-line. When the on-line programs don’t function properly, the student gets stuck in a never ending loop of passing the buck. The teacher doesn’t understand anything about the on-line program, the network honchos at the school pass it off to the on-line providers, they in turn, pass it off to the student…..and on it goes. Never mind the total inadequacy of the system to recognize a perfectly legitimate path to an answer, because it’s only programmed to accept one- and that one might not be the one the instructor is teaching. (Think higher math and physics here)

    Grad students grade the tests, who may have their own narrow version of how to do things and instructors, by and large, seem to only accept their version of how to solve a problem, therefore, the student is not taught to think so much as to figure out which version of solving a problem this particular instructor wants, or which grad student grading the test wants, if that grad student even really understands the material. Then, said instructors can’t even be bothered to keep their office hours when students could, theoretically, ask for help.

    This is what happens at one institution of “higher education” I know of. If I stepped on the toes of good university instructors, my apologies.

    In my opinion, while an on-line education can work in some areas, it has certain, very large limitations in others. This is happening in the very basic classes of higher math and physics where the groundwork is laid for the upper level courses.

    Ultimately, the goal may be to phase out human instructors.

    Please help correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it one of the Bush brothers that was involved in selling on-line programs to education?

  12. PHDs = Badges of Compliance!

    Grad School is nothing but a WEEDING out process.

    For the Kiss-ups – Theirs is the Crumbling Empire!

    So honk your horns,

    It’s Howdy-Doody time

    Little boys and girls.

    for the Masters of Ed!

  13. kids are learning to type, but not spell
    arithmatic, but not math
    third grade reading, but not how to write
    that’s it !!!!!

  14. Brendan Lawrence

    I cannot comment on the American education system and to a bigger extent the Australian.

    However, an observation of mine is that having being a recipient of the Australian public school system, and insofar as how much it has changed (progressed or deteriorated) since then, is that the education system seems to be a professional babysitting institution for post-preschool children and adolescents. And a lot of students in this system don’t seem to be motivated (or are motivated by teachers) to do their best but rather to just go through the motions. There are a few teachers who are passionate still about the children (rather than bettering their own careers), however those are now few and far between as we roll out the post-graduates eager to envelope themselves in the public education system.

    However for the elitists their children go to private exclusive schools, away from the drudgery of the public system, so those making the rules and helping pass the laws, from the politicians to the bureaucrats, merely give the appearance of addressing public education, whereas their faith in it is indicative in their own children being educated privately.

    Like most government institutions, whether it be health, education or welfare, is just a band aid solution to deceive the public into thinking something is being done about it, whereas there is just the appearance. of it being addressed. Government tends to regard us as small children in a school yard that is the world stage, who won’t be able to handle the reality. The reality is that most of us are aware of what it is like and want to address it, such as on forums like this one.

    Personally I learned more when I left school. I got my education out there in the real world, and education during my schooling years did not offer me the opportunity to better myself (then again I was not really a motivated teenager, as I regarded my teachers as idiots).

    I think an individual has to want to learn and if they love the subject enough will do best in the subject of their choosing. We do get to develop our love of skills, whether academic or artistic, in our early years however some of us don’t realise our real skills long after we have left the school yard and are in the real world. We may become writers, painters, or academics. The reality is that the education systems in general tend to force us to learn maths (which most times we don’t apply to the outside world – when do we use trigonometry to pay bills?), and science (which can be applicable when for example a student wants to study medicine).

    Having said all this, I am a strong believer in education and I regard it as obscene in the way the government and elected officials, irrespective of country, measure their regard for our children’s education by the amount of resources spent on the system that supports it. Then again, as I said earlier, their children are educated privately, so why should it be their problem apart from election time?

    So, education is very important, but even more so if a person is passionate enough about it. Otherwise a person is just wasting their time.

    1. Brendan,

      As an Australian teacher I can agree with you on many points, and disagree on a few as well. It is true that our system is at a cross-roads, we either head towards an innovative 21st century system, or the disastrous Amerikan system (both of which are manifest here at present).

      I was a product of the public system-it was SHITHOUSE; few teachers encouraged ingenious thinking and fewer still understood what ‘gifted and talent’ was. Thankyou Mr Whilstonholme(my year 3 teacher), one of the great ‘old school’ teachers who taught me Geography, HIstory, Mathematics (yes he taught me algebra in year 3!!!), Grammar, Science and Art. They don’t make them like that anymore.

      I succeeded because I had a dream and had parents who were a product of ‘the old British’ way of doing things that we had in Australia from 1900 to 1970. Now we have these ‘edubabbling’ failures who are more interested in a teacher’s programme format than the actual art of pedagogy.

      Currently I am teaching in the private system and loving it. I have been fortunate to work with great teachers who are academically trained in real disciplines-not (de)eduction. We work very hard at welfare and ‘fixing’ the mess other institutions have created-and it is hard. I take great pleasure in pushing the really talented students to their ‘nth’ degree.

      It is not perfect however; ridiculous paperwork thanks to the babbling morons at the Board of Studies, budget constraints (yes private schools have these issue to-not just public schools), and currently a middle school system imported from Amerika that I can say is a DISASTER. I am fighting to have this removed as it is a shelter for the few teachers at my present school who should be working at McDonalds and not teaching.

      More money won’t solve anything (keeping in mind that Australia still has an excellent system (though it is sliding downhill). GET RID OF EDUCATIONALISTS AND FORCE TEACHERS TO HAVE TERTIARY QUALIFICATIONS IN AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE BEFORE THEY RECEIVE A TEACHING LICENSE.

      BAN EDUCATION DEGREES

      BAN TEACHER ACCREDITATION INSTITUTIONS

      FORCE PUBLIC TEACHERS TO WORK THE SAME HOURS AS PRIVATE TEACHERS

  15. One other area of considerable concern in the “edubabble” (great name) system is the teacher’s colleges themselves. It is in teacher’s colleges that the indoctrination into globalism is first implanted. There, future teachers are taught to think of themselves as “change agents” of the global community, literally creating a New World Order mindset in generations to come.

    This is why the current group of young people, graduating from High School, unversally accept as inevitable the idea of the demise of nationalism and rise of world governance. Unfortunately, this indoctrination of teachers has been going on for several generations now and would be extreamly difficult to reverse in a timely manner.

    1. romanmel

      Quoting you, from above:

      “There, future teachers are taught to think of themselves as “change agents” of the global community, literally creating a New World Order mindset in generations to come.”

      “This is why the current group of young people, graduating from High School, [universally] accept as inevitable the idea of the demise of nationalism and rise of world governance.”

      Provide sourced evidence for such claims.

      1. Sourced evidence? Sure…just do a google search for [teacher college “change agents”] and [teacher college “global citizen”] and [teacher college “world govenment”] You’ll find about half a million sourced articles. Happy reading!

      2. brave new world by Adolphin Huxley and his french language student George (tiller in ancient greek coincidental) OrWell s 1984.

        kind of keep sheeple in a baby frame of mind for there entire life, then reintroduce the dictator…

        Baby boomer generation coincidental ended 11 22 63 the day ole Abolphin died……for further spoofing listen too bye bye miss american pie (vagina)…..please note all the beautiful women in Lifes special edition on the JFK assassination.

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