Archive for February 15th, 2008

Spencer High School gave me an education that took me places. Places even my high school guidance counselor didn’t think I’d go. In fact, upon reviewing my ACT score, my guidance counselor sat me down and, I shit you not, he said, “You should probably think about a vo-tech school for when you graduate.”

So I didn’t have the best of ACT results. That didn’t stop me.

Upon graduating high school, right in the middle of a class consisting of 176 seniors, I went with my best high school friends to the University of Iowa. Once there, I proceeded to have one of the blurriest years of my life. Twelve months later I was sitting out the fall semester at home contemplating my future. I did go back to Iowa…for a semester, which was much better educationally for me.

Finally, in Dec. 1988, I graduated from a small liberal arts college, Buena Vista University. I, proudly, finished in the top third of my class with a grade point north of 3.5. I had made the freakin’ Dean’s list on several occasions. So eat that, my high school guidance counselor.

Why the trip down Educational Lane?

Yesterday in The New York Times, an article entitled: Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile To Knowledge, suggested that here in the U.S. there’s an anti-intellectual movement. The writer’s theory was that cases like the Miss Teen U.S.A. fiasco last year and American Idol blonde bimbo Kellie Pickler (who had never heard of the city Budapest when questioned on the show, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”) serve as proof that kids today view education as a pox. The Times article states:

Ms. Jacoby…doesn’t zero in on a particular technology or emotion, but rather on what she feels is a generalized hostility to knowledge. She is well aware that some may tag her a crank. “I expect to get bashed,” said Ms. Jacoby, 62, either as an older person who upbraids the young for plummeting standards and values, or as a secularist whose defense of scientific rationalism is a way to disparage religion.

A hostility to knowledge?

I’m not buying it. I think throughout time some kids take issue with books and education while others soak it up like a sponge. That doesn’t mean kids and young adults today are anti-intellectual. Are they different than the kids I went to school with in the ’80s? Why yes. Yes they are. Just as I was different than my Dad or Mom as a young adult. And they were different than my grandparents. And so on. And so on. And so on.

Plus, let’s face it, while the vast majority of us should be able to find Hungary on a world map, how imperative is it to our daily living that we know its capitol city? For trivia questions, maybe, it’s significant. But with all the pages of history that have been added to the history books since the ’70s, do we expect next generations to know every detail of every worldly event that’s happened since the dawn of time?

Please!!! A little bit of reality with that reality show!.



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