So my new semester at Pasadena City College starts on Tuesday. Today I had to run over there to get a bus pass for the next two weeks, and I forgot it was "Student Welcome Day" on campus. Now it didn't really effect me, I just bought my pass and left. Still, I took a look at all the new faces getting their IDs and waiting in the book store to purchase their new books, and I thought to myself..."Oh my God, these are the people I have to go to class with?"
Admittedly, it's been eight years since I first went to college. I'm sure some senior on campus took one look at me and thought, "What the hell is she doing here?" I was dorky, lost, confused, and had no idea what I was talking about. I was an idiot. It took a good year to beat me into college matieral, let me tell you. Even then, it wasn't till I returned to school at PCC that I truly felt in my element in school. Now that I'm there, I tend to look from the heights of academia on the silly, incoming high schoolers and thing to myself, "Will I have to sit there in class with them trying to explain to them why it is that the Civil War happened while they stare at me with drool on their face?" Sorry, it's an automatic response.
I've found in the last two years at PCC that todays youth get out of high school with a WOEFUL understanding of the world around them. It's as if MTV and Eminem has sucked their brains out through their naval piercing. They lack many of the basic skills that are required of even life as an adult, let alone life in a job or in college. Critical thinking, reading comprehension, basic understanding of government, awareness of social problems, these are all things that colleges expect of the youth who come in, and so many of them just don't have it. Why is it that these things are so blantently neglected in public education? When did the idea of creating intellegent citizens go out the window in favor of 'just get them through if you can'?
Somewhere between my parents and myself, education decided that it was too much effort to try to keep up high standards of academic excellence in school, and reserved those classes that met the criteria of high academics to those students who showed the interest and initative. Mostly these are extremely smart and talented students, of those there is only ever a handful in any school. The rest of the lot would be left to their own devices. A minimum amount of effort would be given to them in the hopes that they could perhaps pass to get their diploma and move out of the school to make room for the next reprobate. School is an assmebly line for the masses, give them the basics, shove them out. There is not push to interest them, to thrill them, to educate them really about the world that they live in.
When these children get out on their own into the collegiate or work setting, they are woefully unprepared for what they find there. They are competing now against the kids who got the special attention in school and are loosing badily. Jobs are closed to them because they lack the education and social skills needed to work in the field, their understanding of the world around them is so woeful that many of them have no concept of why major world events occur. (Ask the average citizen about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to figure that one out.) Few of them can articulate themselves in a meaningful manner, and couldn't begin to see a world beyond the pop laden, bubble gum, violence racked television screens they plant themselves in front of. We've created a generation of idiots because of our laxadasical manner, and we seem to be rather unapologetic about it.
When speaking to people from foreign countries, it's painful to see how much more educated they are on the world and their place in it than the average American. We pride ourselves as being the leaders of industry and commerce, and yet we can't even educate the masses. Personally, I suspect we are really just training an oligarchial elite, as technically that's what this country was founded on anyway. The ones who are really smart will figure it out and lead the country. The ones that aren't will become the unwashed masses who do all the hard work. How funny we call ourselves a democracy on those terms.
Still, I should be happy, I'd be an educated, elite person someday, if I get what I want. But I'd rather just educate the masses. Progress only comes through information, and the masses affect the most progress, unless we ignore the revolutions of the 19th and 20th century. Silly, silly people.
Anyway, I just hope that no one sits in class, thumb up nose, and asks, "Uhhh...so why is jazz such an important movement of the early 20th century."
I shall collect many rubber erasers to throw at the assholes head.