Are We Becoming a Nation of Morons?

November 3, 2011

Are we deliberately trying to set ourselves up as the country that is becoming a nation of morons?

I just read a very disturbing article written by a teenager who says, “According to guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), a student should be assigned no more than 10 minutes per grade level per night. For example, a first grader should only have 10 minutes of homework, a second grader, 20 minutes, and so on. This means that a student in my grade — seventh — should have no more than 70 minutes of work each night.”

To say that I read this article with my jaw hanging open is probably the understatement of the century.  It would be more accurate to say that I could have wiped up the floor with my jaw.  Is the NEA really advocating only ten minutes of homework per subject, per night?

I remember when the expectation was that we would have 40 to 45 minutes of homework, per subject, each night.  Maybe that was their expectation but the reality was that it usually took at least an hour, more often a whole lot more than an hour, per subject, per night.

She asks if homework is really necessary and says that the argument given for assigning homework is that it toughens you up for high school, college and the workforce.  No, that’s not why homework is given.  It’s given to reinforce what you learned in the classroom.

Classes can only give you a smattering of knowledge/information because each class is too short to learn anything in depth.  There are many students who have difficulty absorbing all the information in class, and homework gives them the opportunity to learn the subjects well enough to apply in the real world, not just to get good grades on standardized tests.

She says, “It’s time to start a homework revolution,” that all homework should be abolished, that it takes away a child’s childhood.  Of course she cites different opinions from the “experts.”  What she may not realize at this point is that, like statistics, you can always find an “expert” who agrees with your point of view if you search hard enough, and information can usually be twisted every which way to support your opinions/findings/theories.

In her world, children should just play every day.  In my world, we used our weekends to play and also to finish the last of our scholastic requirements.  In her world, she wouldn’t have any scholastic requirements; she would just have students who learned how to socialize.  In my world, I see the results of adults who don’t know how to work; they just know how to play.  

I see adults who have graduated from her world struggling to find and keep jobs and who don’t know how to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.  They show up at work with cell phones and spend their days texting and emailing their friends on company time.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve heard three different employers tell me that everyone wants a job but no one wants to work.  

If you walk into most businesses and see people making personal phone calls and spending all their time texting and emailing friends, and then complaining about having to work at a boring job, you are seeing the results of a society that endorses the play now, work later theory.  In other words, be a child now; enjoy your childhood.  Your adult struggles will come soon enough and then you can learn how to be an adult.  But, for now . . . Play! . . . Play! . . . Play!

We are fast becoming the least educated society in the free world.  We are losing our reputation for being smart and at the top of our game.  Governments around the world have been snickering behind our backs saying they are smarter and more technologically advanced than we are.  And isn’t it a shame that when we once took pride in our school system and in our ability to educate our citizens, we now take pride in our ability to let everyone play and feel good about themselves?

So the question remains: are we becoming a nation of morons?  And if we are, at what point will we realize how disadvantaged we are?  And then we would have to ask ourselves is it too late to reverse the damage we have done to a whole generation or two?

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