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I grew up in the 50s and 60s.  There is no lack of evidence that education was considerably better then than it is now.  Even then, it was almost scary how literate my father’s generation was compared to ours at the time.

There are many ways to destroy a culture.  I remember mentioning to some friends way back when through the 60s and 70s that the best way to do it would be a two pronged attack.  If one wanted to control a population, that people had to be dulled, dumbed down.  Uneducated. It had to be done in increments and would be much easier if the senses were dulled.

Thus came the glorious advent of drugs in the 60s.  Not that drug use was not around before that but illegal drugs particularly were marketed in such a way to become quite acceptable.  And the more the senses were dulled, the easier it was to keep reducing the effectiveness of the education system.

I watch young people in retail outlets now that do not know how to count out change to a customer.  And this is a majority.  If the register does not tell them how much to give back they are lost.  If a customer gives them a little extra change so the cashier can round out the change to a dollar or a fiver then there eyes glaze over blankly.  I DO NOT blame these young people.  They have been unfortunate enough to go through an education system that was stripped of many basic and useful tools.  Like the basics of math.

I’m pretty sure that addition and times tables are not done anymore.  Back in the 50s and 60s we drilled these until we could do them in our sleep.  It is the ONLY way to learn this.  One must know tables like this by rote. Just learning the theory of how is useless if one one does not know the tables cold.

Here is a great example of the deterioration of math knowledge from the website: http://www.thestraightdope.com

“The following examples may help to clarify the difference between the new and old math.

1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of this price. What is his profit?

1970 (Traditional math): A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. What is his profit?

1975 (New Math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100 and each element is worth $1.

(a) make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M

(b) The set C representing costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of the set M.

(c) What is the cardinality of the set P of profits?

1990 (Dumbed-down math): A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Underline the number 20.

1997 (Whole Math): By cutting down a forest full of beautiful trees, a logger makes $20.

(a) What do you think of this way of making money?

(b) How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?

(c) Draw a picture of the forest as you’d like it to look.”

When you are cashing out at the end of a busy day ‘how one feels’ about the money doesn’t help one at all. Knowing that 10 dimes add up to a dollar might.

But after the 60s young people questioned what they were given/told in school less and less. I remember meeting an ex-teacher of mine about 15-20 years after I graduated.  We talked about that period of time and he said ‘What I wouldn’t give for some students like I had in the 60s.”  He said that kids in the 80s and 90s never questioned anything.  Ever.  All they wanted to do was clock their hours and get their grades.

So, with this dumbing down, legal drugs get introduced to the general population directly. Instead of marketing mood altering drugs through psychiatry, the pharmaceutical companies went direct by advertising their wares on television.  Then, without batting an eye, or doing their own research(not really knowing how or that it might be appropriate to actually question anything) the North American population began to consume billions of dollars worth of ‘legal’ drugs.  Which further dulled awareness and any judgement that anyone would otherwise have.

I occasionally catch some video on Youtube where people are making fun of the uneducated public by asking questions that catch them out.  Wonderful.  We can all sit around and laugh at another’s expense.  Rarely does anyone in this position actually try and point out that maybe it is not this person’s fault but the system in which they were educated.

Back in the 60s we all read ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley and Orwell’s 1984.  We all believed that because of these books that these things would never come to pass.

I guess we too got a bit distracted and forgot to fight the good fight.

If you are reading this, demand that your children learn some basics in school properly.  Make sure they know how to research things on their own.

As my kids grow I try as much as possible to expose them to cultural references that I think are valuable.  Obviously, these are things that I think are valuable but I do like to think that I’ve learned something in all my years.  I was talking to my youngest son about a couple of books the other day along this line.  Read the rest of this entry »

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