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Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:08 PM

Did the reduction to ignorance of our citizens begin in the 60s?

I am a septuagenarian. I graduated high school on the mid 60s. Back then, in high school, we have formal classes in arts and sciences, letters and logic, even religion and theology. We also had formal classes in citizenship, government, and civics.

My kids went to school in the late 70s and early 80s. Those classes were watered down. Some were eliminated. Mandatory student testing was just starting.

Today, classes having to do with government are essentially non existent.

Is it any wonder we have the ignorant citizenry we have? Is it any wonder that "alternative facts" are simply accepted? Is it any wonder that the constant lies of Fox News are seen as truth? Is it any wonder our government is peopled by individuals who pander to that ignorance?

Was all of this some long term plan or just happenstance?

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Reply Did the reduction to ignorance of our citizens begin in the 60s? (Original post)
Stinky The Clown Mar 2018 OP
elleng Mar 2018 #1
beachbum bob Mar 2018 #2
niyad Mar 2018 #3
Blue_true Mar 2018 #4
hlthe2b Mar 2018 #5
zipplewrath Mar 2018 #6
dameatball Mar 2018 #7
DavidDvorkin Mar 2018 #8
workinclasszero Mar 2018 #9
FSogol Mar 2018 #10
CrispyQ Mar 2018 #11
Initech Mar 2018 #12
Amaryllis Mar 2018 #13
Codeine Mar 2018 #14
Hekate Mar 2018 #15
fishwax Mar 2018 #16
Nevernose Mar 2018 #17
NickB79 Mar 2018 #18
moondust Mar 2018 #19

Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:11 PM

1. May have done, Stinky.

Same age group as you, and had to send our kids to private schools. Has seemed like a plan to me, even tho in Dem area; lived in DC.

NO WONDER at all we have such an ignorant citizenry.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:13 PM

2. willful ignorance is not what is happening, its outright racism and bigotry

and "victimology"....that has overtaken our country AND the fact that some how white men are "victims" and white people are victims. This has been the underlying message for a couple decades. Todays kids are way smarter and have better access to real information not just alternative facts

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:16 PM

3. as an article I read many years ago pointed out, we could not have been spending the amount

of money we do (however underfunded) for as long as we have, for the ignorance NOT to be the intended outcome.

as I have been saying since I was in school (back before the earth's crust cooled), you cannot control a populace capable of critical thought. the deplorables are living proof of that.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:19 PM

4. Always has been present.

There has always been a core of really ignorant Americans, around 35-40%, depending on the period. Those people have always struck out against knowledge and learning.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:20 PM

5. I don't know, but I am appalled at how little seems to be taught in K-12 public schools--

which were quite good when I went to school in the late 60's to early 80s. I have had a lot of student 'interns' in master's degree programs report to me, who simply can not write. These young adults somehow made it through college (of some type) and into graduate school, with the writing and spelling skills of a fifth grader.

Civics, history, grammar, spelling, writing, basic science, problem-solving, anything beyond basic basic math? Nada

I find it alarming. Like global warming, it only gives me a guilty relief that I don't have children. Relief yes, but guilt, absolutely. I DO care.


That said, the MSD-Parkville kids give me hope. I just wish the education that they are receiving was more widespread.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:22 PM

6. Kinda different

You were probably "well educated" by the standards of your day. People for a long time were put into "tracks" based upon perceptions of who they would become. Some were pushed into liberal arts curricula that would set them up for college degrees. Others were pushed into "trade" paths that would set them up for blue collar or other hourly jobs. It wasn't right in some senses, there was alot of bias in this. But it was also true that people who were educated were admired. We grew up in a blue collar neighborhood and my father had a PhD. He was president of the church council. People on the street consulted him on a wide variety of issues.

Union members followed the lead of their leaders. Yes, people followed the lead of their church leaders. Doctors, lawyers, all manner of professionals were "trusted" to lead.

That pretty much died with Nixon and Reagan. It was the beginning of the dumbing down of politics and the failure of trust in knowledge and leadership. The Vietnam War with their Friday Follies didn't help either. For a while the only thing left was folks like Walter Cronkite. Even that is dead now. And knowledge and education aren't valued anymore. People wear their ignorance as a symbol of pride. (I'm no scientist but...). No one is embarrassed to be shown to be wrong. "Well it seems true...". You can shoot someone on Park Avenue in broad daylight and you will lose no admiration what so ever.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:22 PM

7. Nice theory but it doesn't explain all the professionals that are staunch conservatives.

Including some of my relatives. But I do agree we have shortchanged our kids by not teaching those subjects, yes. As for the public/private debate I think the differences are mostly in specific circumstances. Private schools can also be more selective about who they enroll.
On the other hand, Trump went to a private military school and look how that turned out.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:24 PM

8. The decline always began after our youth

Kids these days.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:24 PM

9. It started with the repeal of the Fairness doctrine

And gained speed when monopolies were given the go ahead in TV, radio and newspapers.

Fox "news" and Hate radio and unlimited secret funding of politicians were the final nails in the coffin.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:26 PM

10. Not true: "Today, classes having to do with government are essentially non existent."

Every high school student in Virginia takes 2 years of US/VA Government classes.

As for your other points, I have a book at home where the author complains that children spend too much indoors and don't do the fun kinds of things outside that he and his friends did as a kid. The book, by Ernest Thompson Seton was written in 1890s.

I point this out because as we age, we feel education is watered down. The opposite is true.

That said, there is a group of people in our nation that are anti-education and anti-thinking. They are against change to the point that they don't want anything to improve. Fox News and the GOP pander to those people.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:30 PM

11. Republicans started to focus on filling school board positions back in the early 80s.

Hence, this is where we're at:




Thanks to the DUer who posted this originally!

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:33 PM

12. I think the internet helped to unite hate groups.

And hate is generally a byproduct of ignorance. But it was definitely a long, slow build to get what we have now.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 09:24 PM

13. WHen did cable TV start? Faux in particular. It started with that and conservative talk radio.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 09:29 PM

14. Then why are so many of the ignorant

older people who were part of that Magical Happy Funtime Education Utopia?

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 09:53 PM

15. KHS Class of '65 here. I agree. I remember the push for "relevance" in required coursework...

This showed up simultaneously with a push to save money.

So Art and Music were not especially relevant (never mind they educate critical parts of the brain), and Latin certainly was not, and who but those silly eggheads would ever need pre-calculus? And Civics? Oh, please, so dull and boring (actually that part was true, given the textbook!) -- clearly not relevant.

By the time my kids were half-grown there were school districts in Florida where parents would pitch a fit at the thought of their precious snowflakes being required to take Spanish at an early age. "It's too hard!" whined the adults.

Anyway... Every so often I find myself grumbling that my fellow Americans are really stupid, and that by choice.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 10:09 PM

16. Back in the 60s barely more than half the adult population had a high school diploma

And while I wasn't around for it, based on what I know of history I'm willing to bet there was plenty of ignorance back in the day.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 10:26 PM

17. The more politicians try and fix schools

The worse the schools seem to do. Anyone else notice that? I think the current phase began with Reagan and “A Nation at Risk,” as well as a few other “reform” movements that started in the late 70s.

Those schools of yore were supposedly terrible, producing terrible students. They put a man on the moon using slide rules; they invented the communications satellite and television; they split the atom, invented the microprocessor, connected humanity with the Internet and cellular phones; they fed the world with modern fertilizers and agricultural methods.

Regardless of test scores, we have an education system that is the envy of the world. I’ve seen experts and researchers from all corners of the globe come to see how we do it: teaching ALL students to their highest possible ability, teaching students to think creatively, teaching students from impossibly diverse backgrounds.

There have always been stupid people. There always will be. Mark Twain complained about them. Plato complained about them.

It’s not our job to complain about them. It is our obligation — our moral duty — to educate them. We ARE our brother’s keepers.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2018, 11:15 PM

18. My school still taught civics class in 1995

When I was 15. And I thank God for it, because it was such a valuable experience.

Of course, my school was in a rural part of Minnesota that felt like it existed in a secluded bubble of time, though.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2018, 01:15 AM

19. Primacy of business

and disparaging of government were part of anti-communist hysteria but were especially big during the 1980s neoliberal crusade of Reagan and Thatcher:

...it was in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States that privatization gained worldwide momentum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatization#20th_century_onwards

Bill Clinton proclaimed "the era of big government is over."

I think it's even possible that executive pay has been jacked up to absurd levels partly to motivate young people to go into business and forget about lowly government careers.

Primacy of business.

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