We all laugh at dumb Yanks who know nothing about anything outside of mainland America – hell, they came close to electing a Calamity-Jane-On-Acid bimbo, who thinks Africa is a country, to the White House, right? I mean, McCain only had to croak sometime in his seventies…
But is it really their fault? I cannot speak for America’s education system, but if it is anything like the British one was during the Sixties, one can certainly understand their ignorance.
F’rinstance – Geography. As with most subjects, the syllabus was designed to prepare young people for WORK. Thus, “O-level” (High School – up to 16) geography was all about Sedimentary Rocks and Oxbow Lakes. Fine, if you were one of the one-in-twenty-thousand people who planned on becoming a Geologist.
Why did they not SAVE that crap for DEGREE-level education (University – 18 and up). Or at least “A-level” (College – 16-18). Given that most people LEFT the education system after High School, an acquaintance with Oxbow Lakes was infinitely LESS useful than a working knowledge of the WORLD.
I actually PUT this to our geography master. His reply was that I was talking about GENERAL knowledge – and that I ought to study it. I answered that after seven hours of school, followed by two hours of homework, there weren’t many kids who would be happy to dive BACK into BOOKS.
He admitted that was true, but said his hands were tied. All he could do was teach the national syllabus.
How much better it would have been if a Robin Williams-type had bounded in and said, “Okay, today – Australia.” Then, over two periods, he would have shown us where it was on the World map, told us all about its development, people, animals, natural resources and physical layout – assisted by films and slides.
We would have GIVEN a damn, then.
“Next week – Austria.”
Hell, we’d have given him a round of APPLAUSE.
The thing is, while the World needs Geologists, Scientists and so on – when you are sixteen and your brain absorbs knowledge like a sponge, you need to learn about the REAL World. SAVE the technical stuff for those who will USE it.
In any case, educating people solely for work will soon be POINTLESS. Already, unemployment in the West is running at 10%. And as the machines take over jobs, this can only RISE. Educate people for work and LEISURE – or they will become restive and SMASH the damn machines!