US Students Not So Worldly Wise

aKrippler

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How does 2 guys interviewing students at a single university get spun into "Most young Americans"
 

snowcat

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How does 2 guys interviewing students at a single university get spun into "Most young Americans"

That's the fault of the writer of the Yahoo article. The orginial article explains things much better: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2014.php


Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.

-----------------------------------------------------

Once you understand the purpose of the test, hopefully you will realize that this is not some indictment against the education system in America, but just a way for professors at this college to be aware of what their incoming students use as culture references.
 

Decibel

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Again I have to ask what the value of such rote memorization is. I'd classify that as a waste of time.

Marzuk, you and I differ greatly on the value of "rote memorization." You're coming across as glorifying ignorance. I'm not sure you really mean to say what you've written.

This is an attitude I've run into before. It's an attitude of laziness. It leads to stagnation.

Your ability to think is based on what you know. You have to know what has come before. Think of it as a pyramid, without a solid foundation of 'rote memorization' you can never have new, original thoughts. Hell, you can't even understand how we got to where we are today.

Your example of bits and bytes earlier is perfect. Let's talk TCP/IP networking. If you don't understand that an IP address is 4 bytes long and how to count in binary, subnetting gets to be a lot more difficult.

Without 'rote memorization' progress dies. Technology dies. Culture dies.
 

INOX

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This comes from years of telling our kids "you're so much better and smarter than we were" blah blah blah. I could care less about writing in cursive. Kids need to learn the basics (reading & math) and have those lessons reinforced periodically. Having their asses kicked occassionaly for f-ing up wouldn't hurt either. They enter into the work force expecting high paying jobs without knowing shit and without paying dues. Respect and hard work is what made America one of best nations ever, too bad we're getting away from those core values.
 

canon.tk

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I think a lot of this comes from the perception that Americans, and I'm talking about people from the U.S.A., have no culture. The rest of the world seems to think our "culture" is fast food, MTV and reality shows. For some of the people that live here that's probably true.

My girlfriend is Venezuelan, and she treats me like I have to become part of her culture and accept her lifestyle as my own. It totally pisses her off that I don't like all of the food from her country but she proudly states how nasty some of our food is. I also have Laotian friends and the ones that date american guys force them to fit into their lifestyle.

So Americans that don't know anything outside of our borders, or state or city are stupid uncultured rednecks.

We are Americans and this is who and how we are. If you hate us so much why do you even come here?
 

Gorankar

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We are Americans and this is who and how we are. If you hate us so much why do you even come here?

Their hatred just takes a back seat when greenbacks and the freedom to spend them how you like are waved in their face. ;)
 

dkev

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My cousins daughter did not know that Mt. Rushmore was an actual place. She just thought it was something that was put into movies. Oh and she's a Jr. in high school. American public schools = FAIL.
 

LeninGHOLA

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My cousins daughter did not know that Mt. Rushmore was an actual place. She just thought it was something that was put into movies. Oh and she's a Jr. in high school. American public schools = FAIL.

American public schools, in my experience, are pretty good. Did you ever think maybe your cousin's daughter just doesn't know jack shit and doesn't care about school?
 

Blazestorm

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I will say that I went to one of the best public high-schools in WA state in 07. And even there I felt like the education was lacking from a lot of classes. So I feel bad for any kid that has to go through a worse education system.

Our school spent more money upgrading the computers every year instead of getting new textbooks or fixing things like projectors in the class-rooms. They went through at least 3 sets of computers since I started there. Counting 6 labs and the library that's roughly 200 computers, upgrading monitors and desktops each time and a majority of the time they went unused. By the time I left they had brand new Dell Slimlines with Core-2-Duo's and new 17" LCD's and empty conference rooms stacked with P4 Desktops and CRT's.

It's just silly...
 

LeninGHOLA

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I will say that I went to one of the best public high-schools in WA state in 07. And even there I felt like the education was lacking from a lot of classes. So I feel bad for any kid that has to go through a worse education system.

Our school spent more money upgrading the computers every year instead of getting new textbooks or fixing things like projectors in the class-rooms. They went through at least 3 sets of computers since I started there. Counting 6 labs and the library that's roughly 200 computers, upgrading monitors and desktops each time and a majority of the time they went unused. By the time I left they had brand new Dell Slimlines with Core-2-Duo's and new 17" LCD's and empty conference rooms stacked with P4 Desktops and CRT's.

It's just silly...

I have a feeling we went to the same school...though I graduated 9 years earlier...and spending wasn't nearly so wasteful.
 

Blazestorm

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I don't think it was even built back then, if I wasn't clear I graduated in 07...

They just went through a massive renovation and added 24 new classrooms a "3D Art Room" (wat) and a "Black Box Theater" which I'm sure wasn't cheap, but still well worth it... hurr.

Meh, I'm just glad to be out and into a college environment.
 

LeninGHOLA

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I don't think it was even built back then, if I wasn't clear I graduated in 07...

They just went through a massive renovation and added 24 new classrooms a "3D Art Room" (wat) and a "Black Box Theater" which I'm sure wasn't cheap, but still well worth it... hurr.

Meh, I'm just glad to be out and into a college environment.

Nope, not my HS. I'm pretty sure I know which one you're referring to, though. They spent a LOT of money on that thing.

Anyway, my view on public schools may be biased, as, academically, my school was the highest rated in the state. I had a ton of great teachers
 

Rouzuki

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I hate to say it but it is pretty embarrassing that students in the U.S. think Beethoven is a dog and Michelangelo is a computer virus. Hey, a least they are good at video games and texting. ;)

I half believe this. Mostly because I know how the media enjoys throwing away the perfectly correct answers/interviews and highlights the few stupid answers they get. It's just like when Jay Leno walks around the city asking people common sense questions. Do you ever see any of them get it right? No, but that's not funny so why show it?
 

Blazestorm

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Nope, not my HS. I'm pretty sure I know which one you're referring to, though. They spent a LOT of money on that thing.

Anyway, my view on public schools may be biased, as, academically, my school was the highest rated in the state. I had a ton of great teachers

We had a few great teachers amongst a lot of mediocre ones... Especially the ones that were fresh out of college. Who didn't know the material they were teaching so when we had questions it was "just look it up". I'm guessing you're talking about Mercer Island or Sammamish... I think those were the other "best" schools :p

Maybe I was just unlucky, but I only have 2-3 out of the 20 something teachers I had that stuck out as excellent teachers and ones I actually remember. And there must have been some administration issues when I was there, because we went through 2-3 principals.

It's not that I can't learn without a good teacher, but it feels like a waste of time and effort if they don't give a shit. Which is what I've liked about this college (Digipen) so far... the number of excellent instructors far outweighs the poor ones. And most of the poor ones have been in general education, not core classes. I've met the best math and computer science teachers I've ever had at this school.
 
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Definition of terms is set by person running test, and, they are not quite as world wise.

Agreed 'who' was Beethoven would eliminate the dog, unless you really were into animism...

But, when 95% of what is published or spoken of in the deadstream media is garbage(I.e. worthless knowledge since it is neither true nor unbiased)

Kids today see no reason to believe most of what is thought to be important.

Based on proper questions (which the one presented was not) the question should have been Who was Ludwig van Beethoven? To dis-allow some of the mis-understandings, and eliminate Bubba Beethoven and the rest of a chain gang. When there are multiple right answers NOT eliminated by the question, there are no right answers, anyway
 

BigBeef

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I hate to say it but it is pretty embarrassing that students in the U.S. think Beethoven is a dog and Michelangelo is a computer virus. Hey, a least they are good at video games and texting. ;)

Hell, that isn't the worst part...how much do you bet they STILL won't know when they graduate? EVEN worse...how many don't, and never will, know the difference between they, they're, their, there....you, your, you're?

I can tell you for a fact there are a lot of graduates in the business world who for damn sure don't know. Whenever I see that, I immediately disregard what they just said as no longer factual or accurate. It's a great way to make yourself look dumb.
 

jiminator

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always good to hear what academics think is important for everyone to know. must be nice to pontificate when you have gotten tenure and don't have to produce anything aside from mostly useless articles that nobody reads.
 

rantanamo

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I think a lot of this comes from the perception that Americans, and I'm talking about people from the U.S.A., have no culture. The rest of the world seems to think our "culture" is fast food, MTV and reality shows. For some of the people that live here that's probably true.

My girlfriend is Venezuelan, and she treats me like I have to become part of her culture and accept her lifestyle as my own. It totally pisses her off that I don't like all of the food from her country but she proudly states how nasty some of our food is. I also have Laotian friends and the ones that date american guys force them to fit into their lifestyle.

So Americans that don't know anything outside of our borders, or state or city are stupid uncultured rednecks.

We are Americans and this is who and how we are. If you hate us so much why do you even come here?

Experiencing the same, except my gf is Indian and I'm African American.
 

Marzuk

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Marzuk, you and I differ greatly on the value of "rote memorization." You're coming across as glorifying ignorance. I'm not sure you really mean to say what you've written.

This is an attitude I've run into before. It's an attitude of laziness. It leads to stagnation.

Your ability to think is based on what you know. You have to know what has come before. Think of it as a pyramid, without a solid foundation of 'rote memorization' you can never have new, original thoughts. Hell, you can't even understand how we got to where we are today.

Your example of bits and bytes earlier is perfect. Let's talk TCP/IP networking. If you don't understand that an IP address is 4 bytes long and how to count in binary, subnetting gets to be a lot more difficult.

Without 'rote memorization' progress dies. Technology dies. Culture dies.

I'm not glorifying ignorance or advocating laziness, I'm just questioning the value of memorizing things like the first 13 colonies. There is a significant difference in understanding, and knowing. I can memorize as much as I want, but that does not infer anything other than my ability to parrot out whatever I spent time memorizing. All things being equal, I think the time spent at school could be spent with far more effect.

Take your example of counting in Binary. I know what binary is, and how to determine the value of bin / dec / hex, but its not something I can actually "count" in. I'd say that I have a basic understanding of this, but there is little value in memorizing what 7 looks like in binary. This is of course a generality. If you are a history teacher for example, there may be some value in knowing the 13 original colonies.

What this argument turns into is why is what someone else memorized any more important than what I have? I don't lack knowledge, I simply know different things than someone that was born 30 years before me. There are some things that I love, but I won't pretend that everyone should be well versed in those areas. At the same time, I can show immediate and obvious reasons why certain things are important or applicable.

Pointing out that you can name the presidents in order is certainly impressive, but its on par with being able to name the ERA of every pitcher for your favorite sports team, which is to say of little practical value. I guess if you are driving a dump truck and desperately need to know who the 21st president is, that's your go to guy.

I regularly point out that one of the most valuable things I learned in school was how to type. At the point I learned this, it was on an electric typewriter not a computer. Its something that pays dividends every day, that I feel most people could benefit from (though not all). While I was a poor typist at best, it laid the foundation for a steady improvement. At this point, should I choose I can hit about 100wpm. Its not very impressive, but it certainly makes almost everything I do easier.

Far too much of school when I went through it was simply the pump and dump routine. In fact, the learning itself is spaced repetition. The more often you use / work with something, the longer you can go without refreshing what you know. This is why people forget things - no matter how strongly you work on something, if you do not use it for 15 years, you are unlikely to retain much of anything. Pump and dump is obviously the opposite of this, its not learning and its certainly not understanding. This is why I question the value of such memorization.

I routinely get emails from people as I am sure quite a few here do. You know the type, a little bit of fact checking shows that the content of the email was at best an extreme exaggeration at worst an outright lie. Usually those people stop sending those messages to me, as I reply to them. Those people could benefit from a healthy does of skepticism and critical thinking. Given a choice between that and the 13 colonies, I'd choose critical thinking every time.

More than anything, I think that people should be taught the basics, and exposed to enough things to find out what they are passionate about. This does not mean making someone sit through three years of a foreign language class. At some point school should transition from "Here is a list of things you must temporarily remember" to "What do you want to learn?". Oh, sure theoretically college could be that, but it just seems to be more or less "What do I need to pump and dump so that I can get a price of paper to allow me to get a job in a non-related field?".

That may sound like exaggeration, but I know someone that graduated with a physcology degree that went to new york to try to be a stand up comedian. Another person that has a medieval history degree that now works at CVS, and a history major that is a police officer. The "undecided" major joke is pretty played out by now, and for good reason. The statistics on the subject are equally disappointing.

I'll end with an example:

Common statement: To be a man, you need to be able to work on a car. You should be able to name the various fluids, change the breaks and oil, rotate the tires, and check a spark plug.

My common response: I agree! To add to that, you should be able to take apart and put back together a computer. You should be able to name the parts and what they do. You should know the proper handling method for the parts.

But but, thats not the same thing, why would I ever need to know that?!

Exactly. Which is why I do not spend all day telling people how tragic it is that they pay Best Buy $50 to plug a stick of RAM in when it would take 5 minutes to learn.
 

spinelli

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I think a lot of this comes from the perception that Americans, and I'm talking about people from the U.S.A., have no culture. The rest of the world seems to think our "culture" is fast food, MTV and reality shows. For some of the people that live here that's probably true.

My girlfriend is Venezuelan, and she treats me like I have to become part of her culture and accept her lifestyle as my own. It totally pisses her off that I don't like all of the food from her country but she proudly states how nasty some of our food is. I also have Laotian friends and the ones that date american guys force them to fit into their lifestyle.

So Americans that don't know anything outside of our borders, or state or city are stupid uncultured rednecks.

We are Americans and this is who and how we are. If you hate us so much why do you even come here?

My girlfriend is Chinese and it is the same thing. We had a 'come to Jesus' moment about it when she made one too many fat American remarks when she saw another foreigner. (yes he was fat but no clue if he was American) If I ask her what she knows about American culture all she can say is what she sees in some movies (and fully believes to be an accurate representation of America and it's people), crappy pop music, fast food, fat people, guns, and a decided willingness to use our military. Hate to say it but I am not even sure I know what 'American culture' is. Is she really that far off the mark? There is much culture to be had in the US but how much of it is homegrown? What exactly is American culture?

Fact is, Americans are generally ignorant of the outside world but the same can be said for many countries. You have to go a little off the beaten path to learn what is going on outside our borders except in the most superficial manner.

The funny thing is many people I have met outside of the US berate Americans for being ultra-nationalistic idiots who always think America is the best in everything but I have encountered FAR more of that boneheaded attitude from people in other countries. As in the US, generally the people I have met with that attitude have never left their own country and have no real basis for comparison. They speak out of complete ignorance.
 

Gorankar

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American public schools, in my experience, are pretty good. Did you ever think maybe your cousin's daughter just doesn't know jack shit and doesn't care about school?


Your experience is not the norm. Even if it is the norm for the state you went to school in, education levels differ greatly from state to state. As an example of the differences in education levels state to state. We moved to OK from NY in the 90's because my job moved there. The science and math books my kid was using in 5th grade in OK, were the same books she used the year b4 in 4th grade in NY.

I put her in private school after that. I shudder to think what her SAT/CAT scores would have looked like had I not. :(
 

TheCommander

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My girlfriend is Chinese and it is the same thing. We had a 'come to Jesus' moment about it when she made one too many fat American remarks when she saw another foreigner. (yes he was fat but no clue if he was American) If I ask her what she knows about American culture all she can say is what she sees in some movies (and fully believes to be an accurate representation of America and it's people), crappy pop music, fast food, fat people, guns, and a decided willingness to use our military. Hate to say it but I am not even sure I know what 'American culture' is. Is she really that far off the mark? There is much culture to be had in the US but how much of it is homegrown? What exactly is American culture?

Fact is, Americans are generally ignorant of the outside world but the same can be said for many countries. You have to go a little off the beaten path to learn what is going on outside our borders except in the most superficial manner.

The funny thing is many people I have met outside of the US berate Americans for being ultra-nationalistic idiots who always think America is the best in everything but I have encountered FAR more of that boneheaded attitude from people in other countries. As in the US, generally the people I have met with that attitude have never left their own country and have no real basis for comparison. They speak out of complete ignorance.

The majority of people in each country are ignorant of the outside world.

Culturally, it's not that much different in the US than it is elsewhere. In the US it's all mixed up due to the loads of various people. Regardless of that, with globalization, it's all becoming more and more mixed all over the world.
 

TheCommander

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I think a lot of this comes from the perception that Americans, and I'm talking about people from the U.S.A., have no culture. The rest of the world seems to think our "culture" is fast food, MTV and reality shows. For some of the people that live here that's probably true.

My girlfriend is Venezuelan, and she treats me like I have to become part of her culture and accept her lifestyle as my own. It totally pisses her off that I don't like all of the food from her country but she proudly states how nasty some of our food is. I also have Laotian friends and the ones that date american guys force them to fit into their lifestyle.

So Americans that don't know anything outside of our borders, or state or city are stupid uncultured rednecks.

We are Americans and this is who and how we are. If you hate us so much why do you even come here?

It's funny how some South Americans laugh at the culture in the US when they don't really have a set culture either. South America is almost as mixed as North America. Where the US is melting pot of North America, Brazil is the melting pot of South America.
 

darkpaw

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Your experience is not the norm. Even if it is the norm for the state you went to school in, education levels differ greatly from state to state.

Yah, there are absolutely huge differences from state to state. I went to school in one of the poorer parts of NY state and the education I got was much better than even well off areas in AZ where I went to college. My sister moved from NY to AZ her senior year and she was already so far ahead the only thing she had to take to graduate was a term of AZ history and most of the AZ students I went to college with were not remotely prepared for college writing.

I'm just glad my son is attending school in Northern VA. As much as I love AZ, its school system is a joke.
 

dgingeri

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You lose fluency when stringing the letters together, and just do not know how to make certain letters at all. Even if you can remember what they look like (generally) you may not know the proper / efficient way to make the character. Ever seen anyone mess up an ampersand badly? Also its important to consider that we read text all day long, but I rarely read anything in cursive.



Again I have to ask what the value of such rote memorization is. I'd classify that as a waste of time.

The writing thing is not really needed. I barely hand write anything anymore unless it is for my own notes, and basic printing is far, far better for that. I can actually read printing. Cursive should go the way of the dodo, and I've thought that since grade school, when I learned it.

As for naming the states, its just like naming the countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, etc. If you don't know where places are, then you can't know where you are going. You would have to rely on others to make sure you get to where you want to me. That's pathetic. I can drive anywhere in North America and know exactly where I am. I don't have to rely on other people to know where I'm going. I can point out any country in the world and know what issue I might run into there.

I find it bad that my nieces and nephews can't even survive if their grocery store chain shuts down. If there were an epidemic where 90% of the population died, another 9% would die for lack of basic survival skills. It's so sad. Some days I hope it would happen just to get rid of so much chaff on the human race. People would learn, compensate, then lose their memory of the incident and let it happen all over again.
 

Marzuk

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That's pathetic. I can drive anywhere in North America and know exactly where I am.

Another judgment call. Frankly I'm horrible at navigation, and I know it. For some reason my brain just does not retain / process that type of information well. Having said that, I drove from Indiana to California without issue because I used a GPS. It worked out pretty well for me because that's not a drive that I'm going to make again.

A few wrong turns, and even had I memorized the fairly simple route, I'd quickly get into a position where I had no idea where I was. Sure, I could use a map, but you know what a map is? Its the old model GPS. Given that, I could just as easily say "Ha pathetic, anyone that needs a map should die".

Most people just need a basic knowledge of their area, and do not travel much. Having an extensive knowledge set outside of that is just not valuable. As far as finding out where things are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakia

That took literally 1 second, I did not know where it was before, and in 2 weeks I wont know where it is again. I did not even know how to spell it. I did not even know that in 1993 it split up.

Thats the interesting problem though. You take some moderately difficult questions and ask them to a large group of people. There are going to be two basic results. The people that know how to find information are going to do well. The people that have to rely on what they memorized in grade school will fail.

The value of such information obviously is based on the amount of time required to memorize it, and the frequency of its use. If the frequency of its use is not such that the information is maintained then it is short term only. As short term, it is clear that you would only do such a thing if you had a purpose for doing so.
 
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