Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To Hell in a Handbasket

Thomas Friedman [I believe] had an editorial page piece yesterday about American students' moral sensibility. He quoted a psychological study that interviewed many students on many campuses asking questions to assess their moral sense. Most asserted that killing as wrong. Otherwise they had very little to say about moral issues, often they said, "I don't really deal with that." They were asked about cheating, lying, stealing, various other matters and were wishy washy about most of them.

Today in the context of American economics and how American can compete with China and India, I raised the question of education. It's been a supposed knee jerk priority and yet I saw a young woman in a fast food restaurant this summer who clearly could not make change from a $5 bill. I have seen community college students who clearly did not understand sentence structure, the need for paragraphing and did not know enough, or care enough, to turn on a spell and grammar check program in order to present a readable paper. If American students don't know enough basic math to make change how can they become a part of a technological workforce? And if they cannot write and don't care about their communication skills enough to use a computer program how can anyone imagine they can succeed in a service industry that require interpersonal skills. And if they have no concept of right or wrong who can trust them in any kind of job?

I am taking a course that will talk about the economic rise of India and China, in a comparative sense, but it will hark back to American economic repeatedly. I get very tired of people who talk about creating jobs for Americans when they have a workforce that is almost subliterate. Whatever is going on in schools it's not basic education; whatever is going on in homes, it seems to have nothing to do with instilling vales and ethics. Oh, I know that's a broad brush generalization ... but so it that supposed panacea for maintaining the beloved "American way of life" which is jobs creation. This is a three-month course, I'm sure I'll return to this subject.

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Your course should be very interesting. My comment on your section on school kids is that they are purposely being put in the "dumbing down" process. Our country's new economics is based on service workers, import/export services, and some technology. Not very diverse. All other jobs such as those in education, the arts,science and manufacturing that once made this country viable are eroding fast to other parts of the world. Our work choices are becoming rather robotic and mundane. Ultimately we will have two divisions in this country -- the wealthy and the robots to support the needs of the wealthy. My opinions of course. -- barbara

June Calender said...

I think we have come very close to your dystopia, Barbara. And somehere below the robots is the prison population who will never be employable but will always cost more than the country spends on education.