Talking to the cocooned class

In speaking to the students in Alma Boykin‘s class in Amarillo yesterday morning (the second year I’ve done this), I was struck yet again by how innocent they are in terms of the real world out there.  Most of them have no idea of what the Third World is really like, or the history of colonialism and its aftermath, or the tens of millions of people who’ve died in forgotten, backwater conflicts since the Second World War.  Alma’s class is fortunate in having her as a teacher, because she tries to give them much more information than the pablum served up by the textbook they’re forced to use;  but she can only do so much in the time she’s been allocated.

It seems to me that there’s a deliberate policy on the part of the powers that be to “dumb down” our children.  They’re to be taught just enough to keep them compliant, obedient members of US civil society (leaving out, however, the details of how that society was constructed and foreseen by our founding fathers – can’t have civics get in the way of political correctness, you know!).  Kids nowadays are just plain naive.  It’s not that they’re stupid – far from it – but they’re deliberately uninformed, kept ignorant of reality.  What’s more, many of the ‘hard’ subjects – math, science, biology, geography, history – are short-changed in favor of less important ones like the social ‘sciences’, interpersonal relationships, political correctness in the form of sex education, discrimination in its various forms, etc., and other ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ or ‘life’ issues.  When it comes to skills they’ll need for a career, school seems to leave our kids woefully under-equipped.  It’s no wonder many universities have to offer remedial courses to their entrants, to bring them up to speed in such disciplines.

I can’t help but wonder how a modern American high school graduate would fare if forced to enter his or her first year at university as they were in the 1960’s or early 1970’s.  Those of us who did will remember the experience.  We were thrown in at the deep end, metaphorically speaking.  We could either sink, or swim – and we were expected to know how to swim before we entered the university’s gates.  If we weren’t adequately prepared to take up our studies, no-one was going to hold our hands, wrap us in cotton wool, and assure us that it wasn’t our fault.  It was all on us, and if we couldn’t make the grade, we flunked out and went elsewhere to continue our education or training.  Today . . . that’s simply not the case, and I think our kids are much worse off for it.

Perhaps we need to go back to the draft, if only to force today’s special snowflakes to deal with hard, physical demands and the discipline of the military life.  Sadly, I daresay many of them would simply melt down at their first sight of a drill instructor, and run, screaming hysterically, for the nearest psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or anthropologist, demanding reassurance that this nightmare simply couldn’t possibly exist in reality.




  1. I doubt the draft would do anything but lower the moral of the Armed Forces.

    There is an attitude in the current high school and college crowd that does not want to deal with what is versus what they want it to be. Of the 5 co-ops we had, only one was worth anything.


  2. "to deal with hard, physical demands and the discipline of the military life. "

    Uh, how shall I break this to you?

  3. One of the reasons Ranger school in my proudest accomplishment in life is that it was the first thing that I ever tried not knowing I would succeed. Engineering school, getting into college, graduating high school – all that I had a pretty good idea that I wouldn't be allowed to fail or that I would have to actively try to fail. This was in the 90s at a relatively good college.

  4. I consider much of this the parent's fault, not necessarily the school. I feel it is my responsibility as a parent to insure such lessons independent of the school. I'm afraid I am in the distinct minority in this however…

  5. "…but they're deliberately uninformed, kept ignorant of reality.".

    Bingo. That way, when .gov hands them a $#it sandwich, they have no knowledge to compare it to, and respond "Oh. OK." When they finally do encounter reality, and discover that they have been lied to, their anger makes them that much more malleable.

  6. Peter?

    I've said elsewhere and often, were there a move to reïnstate the draft, there would
    be protest demonstrations in the streets — by the Joint Chiefs.

    In other news, there appears to be a "fake assassination" fad among the high schools.
    They mis-identified a victim yesterday, but fortunately(?) she wasn't a CCW. Naïve,
    beyond ready belief.

  7. Speaking as a history/anthropology double major grad, there is no substitute for first person accounts. The one lecture that stands out in my mind with devastating clarity over 20 years later is the one delivered by a Holocaust survivor. He made it real in excruciating detail.

  8. The closest I ever got to a third world country was touring the island of Ebeye (Micronesians) while my dad was stationed on Kwajalein from '70 to '73. Stark difference from US military base (Kwaj) to, well, shithole (Ebeye) in one 20 minute boat ride. Nothing like opening the mind of a child to the real world.

    We now have a nation of children (of all ages) who have never witnessed true poverty and a disregard for the environment that goes with tribalism et al.

  9. Peter,
    it became obvious to me in high school in the latter 60's that history textbooks were artfully doctored. I didn't know why, but since my hobby/obsession was reading my way through any library I could access, the difference between my issued class books and the books in THEIR OWN LIBRARY was apparent. I doubt the books have improved any over the years since.

  10. years ago someone said that in the new elementary history books the pilgrims were described as having come to this country because they were people who liked to travel!
    it has to be downhill from 25 years go when i heard this.

  11. 20+ years ago, my 2nd year in undergrad, we started taking more challenging courses in the biology program- biochemistry, organic chemistry, embryology, stuff like that.
    From 91 of us, there were 70 by the end of the semester. Most of those switched to education. By the end of the 3rd year, there were 20-30 of us. More went to teaching, others dropped out.

    The people who couldn't hack undergraduate science became science teachers. I went to grad school and felt woefully unprepared, despite already having several publications and enough data to start writing my master's thesis on day 1.

    Today's younger teachers are simply not required to be educated in anything but educational theory. It's great that they're good communicators, but if they're not well-enough equipped to comprehend basic issues in STEM, they shouldn't be teaching them.

    Harvard has a doctorate in science education program that is top notch. Sadly, it being Harvard, graduates get pimped out to be part time college adjunct instructors instead of taking full-time work as a HS teacher.

  12. So what level class was that? High School? Collage?

    Did you get any interesting questions?

  13. I thank God daily for the professor in my very first college course. He was a former Marine and made it very clear, on that first day, the dedication, time and effort that would be necessary to pass his class. I had friends who flunked out the first semester because they didn't apply themselves properly. I went on to apply his requirements to every class I took and it made my time in college a success, amazing just about everyone who knew me.

  14. Three causes:
    Overwhelmingly liberal & female teacher pool who want to push the liberal narrative. They love diversity, as long as it's different degrees of left-wing.

    Textbook makers have a near monopoly: they want to sell to Texas, so they strip out anything offensive to conservatives. They want to sell to CA so they strip out anything that might offend liberals. Anyone with an axe to grind gets a content veto over inclusions or presentation. They want things that are easy to test with machine grading, so there is a emphasis on names, dates, court cases, labels, and trivia. They avoid sweeping ideas and story arcs. They want to appeal to the Overwhelmingly liberal & female teacher pool (see above) and school boards. What's left is boring pablum and trivia that makes kids think history is dull, simple, and one-dimensional.

    Bureaucracy that views "safety" (defined as avoiding lawsuits) as job one. Let me rephrase that. Safety is JOB NUMBER ONE!!! Education is a distant second. In an effort to stomp out lawsuits, they remove physical activity, physical contact, playground equipment (there is always a "most dangerous" item), avoid controversial subject discussion, avoid anything that might give rise to "offense," (which in turn leads to ever more "sensitivity training," which leads to expanding offense opportunities in an ever-expanding vicious spiral) that leads to an utter paralysis of critical thought, hard questions, or anything else that might lead to anyone, particular females or minorities, to sue for some slight (real or imagined).

    To whit: I was informed that saying men are, on average, bigger/strong/faster than women is offensive (sexist, specifically) because a female student was offended. When she objected to my saying that (in response to a question as a relevant, on topic part of a required bit of curriculum I had to deliver), and not dropping it when she gave pushback was sexist. Yes, being true, relevant, on-topic, and important were not a defense against being considered a legit offense from such a sexist statement.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *