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The Glorification of Stupidity MAG
One trend that bothers me is the glorification ofstupidity, that it's all right not to know anything. - CarlSagan
Today in Spanish class, a girl answered a question no oneelse could. One boy turned around and put his fingers in the shape of an"L." Maybe someone should have told him that she'd be the one passingthe test as he sat staring blankly at his paper, so who's the loser?
Thesad part is, had he been told this, I don't think he would have cared. The numberof students who don't take school seriously is far too many. Those who do justthe bare minimum in order to pass is surprisingly high. When my global historyteacher collects homework, about half the class hasn't done it. A few months ago,my math teacher assigned an essay; three-quarters of the class failed becausemost of their sentences were incoherent. One student even wrote "u" inplace of the word "you."
Not only do many students not careabout school, there are a good number who are biased against being smart. Whengrades are given out, it is impossible not to notice comments about kids who dowell.
"Gee, it figures, he got another 99. Wow, look at smarty-pantsover there." But those who criticize kids for being good in school have noproblem when a person is good at sports or music. When is the last time you heardsomeone say, "Ha ha, she scored another goal - what a loser!" or"What a jerk, his new album went platinum."
What is even worseare the number of teachers whose curriculum is based on what is needed for thestudents to pass the required end-of-the-year tests. Of course, it is importantto pass these tests, but shouldn't teachers be teaching for the sake of education- to enlighten their students on the principles of history and the beauty ofliterature?
This brings up another issue: state and standardized tests.Many complain about the emphasis that colleges put on standardized test scores,but what other options are there? Schools have different standards, making itimpossible for a college to base acceptance solely on grades. I respectstandardized tests more than state tests because they are harder.
Wait, astudent who prefers a more difficult test? It's not really that I prefer takingSATs to Regents. At the end of last year, I took the SAT II in Biology and theBiology Regents exam. I spent the same amount of time studying for each; I scored99 out of 100 on the Regents but only 590 out of 800 on the SAT II. I believe Icould have passed the Regent if I'd skipped half the school year. And because thestate test is required for your diploma, and each state wants its students toscore high to make its educational system look superior, the test is written sothat just about anyone can pass.
There was a time when education wasvalued and desired. There was a time when women fought for the right to beeducated because they knew it was the key to having more options. And now that aneducation is a right of all Americans, we take it for granted.
In October2000, the Senate passed legislation that granted non-immigrant aliens more visasto fill jobs in high-tech industry. With a population as large as ours, why do weneed to import people to fill jobs? Because Americans aren't adequately educated.According to a 2000 report by the Department of Education, the education thatstudents receive in science and math is "unacceptable"(Weissman).
There is nothing wrong with a person who is a slow learner andisn't the brightest just as there is nothing wrong with the person who is thebrightest. But there is something wrong with those who have the potential to dowell but don't try. And there is something very wrong with those who avoid goodgrades for their images' sake and who frown on overachievers.
If oursociety wants to reach its full potential, it needs to start in the schools. Oureducation system needs to improve, and we need to be proud of success.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state ofcivilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - ThomasJefferson