Saturday, May 17, 2008

Don't Blame Public Education

I just started reading The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby, and it seems that the book will be a high-volume polemic against the widespread stupidity running rampant through our society--in short, I'll love the book.

However, on the second page of the introduction, she already begins placing the blame for America's stupidity on education. To wit:
One in five adults is convinced that the sun revolves around the earth. Such responses point to a stunning failure of American public schooling...

I don't understand how this type of ignorance can be blamed on schools. Does Jacoby think schools actually teach that the sun revolves around the earth? Of course not, so that can't be why she blames public schooling. The only other explanation could be that she thinks schools teach that fact, but not very well. That may be the case, but how many times do students need to be told that the earch revolves around the sun before they remember it? Once? Twice?

The fact is, I would be willing to bet that every student in the United States has been taught that the earth revolves around the sun, and 20% of them forgot. That is the same twenty percent who were, somehow, not able to pick up this information on their own while growing up.

We can't blame this kind of ignorance on schools. We can blame it on congenital stupidity.

1 comment:

dave starry said...

Oh great, next you'll be telling me that the Earth isn't flat either ;^)