America, we have become a nation of Idiots. Our greed-driven society has failed. We have removed individual responsibility from our teachings. Children are forgiven every flaw; there is always someone or something external to blame for mistakes and wrongdoings. We naturally try to avoid suffering, but over-zealously shelter our children from struggle, rescuing them from any perceived pain. As a result, children are not learning how to face a challenge, how to endure the struggle of living that comes with independence. Those few of us who are still intelligent, independent thinkers are becoming quite frustrated with the new Idiot majority. People who will not act to change their situation, who feel that learning is too difficult a struggle, and who simply wade through life without knowing anything beyond their own pleasure and pain.
If we are to place blame, as Americans are wont to do, we must look at our social structure, and realize the fault lies with income inequality and the stagnation of middle-class incomes. If parents have to work two jobs just to provide necessities, they do not have the time or energy to provide guidance and support. If a child is hungry and cold, his brain cannot process information. We must each take responsibility for the pickle we’re in. We have continuously ignored our government leaders, voted with little information and many lies, and today we have a nation of people who cannot recognize fact from fiction. We’re more concerned with the Kardashians than we are with Karl Rove. Stephen Colbert explains it perfectly here.
I had a great talk with my younger cousin, who is also pursuing education. She currently teaches barbers and beauticians, and is frustrated that her high school grads do not know how to read and write, do not have even the simplest study habits, and are at beauty school because they think it’s an easy way to get a good paying job. I left the workforce, in part, because I was frustrated with training young adults to perform the simplest tasks; sweeping a floor, washing dishes, or preparing a meal. In beauty school and in childcare a person should at least know how to sweep a floor, not wait for someone else to do it for them. The more we protect and shelter our children from any hardship or suffering the more we actually hinder them from becoming self-reliant adults.
We cannot pit children against their parents, but we must find a way to help children understand where their parents went wrong. I like to simplify the situation with Reading. Not the language arts; learning grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, but rather the simple act of reading a book, for information or pleasure. We have stopped reading for pleasure, it has become a chore associated with school work, and we have created a nation of idiots. My niece, starting Kindergarten this year, told me (while we were at the library) that she does not like to read. I have become completely frustrated with this statement, and can no longer tolerate it! I asked her, quite bluntly, did she want to grow up to be an Idiot? Or did she want to be Intelligent? I worry for my own children. As parents, my husband and I have nurtured the love of reading, and encouraged investigation born of curiosity. We believe the world is a fascinating place, and books explain the what, why, and how of this place we exist in. I worry that when they’re all grown up, and we the parents have passed out of this life, they will be surrounded by idiots, perhaps even persecuted for their intelligence.
In teaching, we must get back to the essentials in the classroom. Use phonics, and children will learn sight words. Use basic math facts, and children will learn complex equations. Use exploration and inquiry, and children will learn the Scientific Method.
In society, we must get back to what is essential in the family. Schools cannot pick up the slack left by impoverished families. If schools must focus their resources toward feeding and clothing children, they cannot make time for introducing the love of reading and learning. An educator’s role is to nurture curiosity and teach investigative learning.
Over the years, as states have further underfunded public schools, we have seen the idiocy in society grow. Our current 1% political leaders would like to see it stay that way. The republicans this year have stated several times they would eliminate public school funding entirely from the National Government. As with NCLB closing failing schools, I’m not sure how eliminating a program intended to benefit the nation’s poorest children is helpful to society. It has become painfully obvious that republicans do not value all people, and are practicing what I loosely call Social Darwinism. Keep the poor uneducated and entertained, and they will eventually starve to death, blissfully ignorant of how the social structure of immediate gratification has poisoned them.
My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more intelligent than college professors. -Maya Angelou