Monday, February 22, 2010

22 February 2010 George becomes lost in the advertising game

22 February 2010 George becomes lost in the advertising game

22 February was once a national holiday commemorating the birth of our renowned Revolutionary War General who became our first President. The date no longer appears on the calendar as a holiday. It became just another day after the Nixon three day weekend purges removed both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as rightfully celebrated holidays.

Now, when our students have an ever decreasing grasp of history, the image and memory of George Washington are being further diluted by a commercial for an automobile manufacturer that injects Washington into a series of scenarios about purchasing various models of vehicles. I know it is intended to be amusing; most likely you do too. But I have no doubt that a percentage of our populace will not realize it to be a deliberately incorrect advertisement. Just as many of our students probably can’t find the U.S. on a world map, many of them probably have no idea in which century the American Revolution was fought and in which centuries our founding fathers lived.

I’ve been dissatisfied with the progress in the CSI class. It seems to me that the class could proceed at a faster rate. While the subject is moderately technical, no single chapter of the textbook has been difficult to master and the review questions at the end of each chapter are easily answered without much effort. So today I approached the instructor. She’s a former MLT – clinical lab technician – working on her Masters. We have common ground for conversation and questions. I asked her if she felt the progression was slower than it could be. I indicated that I got the impression she was spoon feeding bits of the exams to junior high school students. Her response was guarded. She said that the other sections of the class were taught at an even slower progression. She didn’t really want to be backed into a corner and forced to answer my question. She finally stated that because any student from freshman to Senior could take the course it had to be taught in a manner that did not exclude anyone. “It’s just how it has to be…”

I left it at that, not wanting to pressure her into having to make a statement she felt uncomfortable making. Her reluctance to answer pretty much told me what I suspected. I suppose I’m lucky I am in this section. Friday is to be a review for Monday’s mid-term.

Such encounters only make me more concerned for the state of education in the U.S. We need to increase the emphasis on mathematics, sciences, English, and foreign languages; in order to be more competitive with the rest of the world, that is the world not hampered by religion being taught instead of science.

The campaign of 2008 was frightening in its open disdain for education. Anti-intellectualism, as a policy, leads directly to societies, cultures, and nations controlled by divine-right rulers, religious organizations, and dictatorships of the unschooled. One thinks of Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of the American South.

Back to the books.

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