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Monday, August 27, 2007


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 fouse, gary c

Miss Teen South Carolina Я Us

Now that everybody has had their laugh at Lauren Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina, over her botched answer to the question: "Why is it that 1/5th of Americans can't find the US on a map?", why don't we take a more serious look at this fiasco? You know, it is altogether possible that many of the folks who were watching her reply on Youtube are part of that fraction of Americans who indeed can't find their own country on a map. Start mentioning other countries and I'll bet that number skyrockets. So Ms Upton has a lot of company. Why is it that in the most advanced nation on earth, so many Americans are so lacking in knowledge? You can lay the blame at the foot of our education system.

We have seen this decline in the quality of our education for decades. Yes, we knew we had problems in our secondary schools, what with gangs, drugs, pupils who couldn't speak English, as well as a host of other social ills that children brought into school with them. Yet, we still deluded ourselves into thinking we had the greatest university system in the world, a system where students from all over the world wanted to come and study. We had our prestigious institutions like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and so on. Besides, the kids who could not or would not make it in high school were weeded out, leaving us with serious students in the universities, right? Perhaps, but I believe strongly that our universities are not turning out satisfactory products. In fact, our corporations have been telling the universities for years now that 4 year graduates are not prepared for the workplace. In addition, the US now has to import doctors and scientists from other countries because we can't seem to develop them at home.

As for the secondary schools, admittedly, you can't blame the teachers and administrators for the fact that they have to deal with dysfunctional students from dysfunctional families. Yet, it seems that secondary schools are now in the business of trying to build children's self-esteem and respect for others at the cost of teaching traditional subjects. In my state of California, particularly in Los Angeles, a large portion of the students are children of illegal aliens, whose language skills are not only limited in English, but in Spanish as well. This slows down learning for all the kids.

My chief complaint, both in secondary school and college is that schools have adapted to these challenges by resorting to "political correctness". Their primary concerns now seem to be teaching the kids to respect each other, a noble idea, but not necessarily the chief goal of schools. What this translates into is educating our kids at an early age about sex, gay issues and other controversial issues, such as how America has victimized other countries and peoples. In California, we see every Latino issue presented from the activist Latino point of view. So let's fly the Mexican flag, celebrate Mexican Independence Day-and downplay everything about our own country and civilization-lest we exclude or otherwise offend our Mexican/Mexican-American children. Assimilation? Forget it. That's an outmoded concept. Guess who the biggest losers will be under this mentality- Latino kids, that's who.

A few months back, Boulder High School (Colorado) invited a panel of misfits from California to lecture the entire student assembly (attendance required) on the benefits of experimenting with drugs and various forms of unprotected sex, both heterosexual and homosexual. Many parents were outraged, and the news spread across the nation, largely thanks to Bill O'Reiily. Defiantly, the school stood its ground, defended the event and scheduled the misfit panel back next year for a repeat performance.

Not surprisingly, in the midst of all these sidelights, the three Rs, reading, writing and Arithmetic are being largely forgotten.

In addition, since 9-11, we have now placed Islam under the umbrella of political correctness. In some schools, teachers decree "Islamic month", in which all students become Muslims for a month, take Muslim names, study the Koran and follow Islamic customs-whether or not the parents consent or object.

Then, after a kid has survived all that, they enter university life and now fall under the tutelage of radical left-wing professors, many of whom are left-overs from the 1960s, once long-haired protesters, now people walking around with PHDs, which usually means they have been educated out of the last ounce of common sense they were born with. They are now teaching in universities all over the nation, generally preaching the idea that America is an evil, racist nation that has screwed the rest of the world in expanding its imperialism. Who are the good guys in their world view? It used to be the Soviet Union-until that empire collapsed under its own weight, leaving their leftist American supporters in an embarrassed silence. But there is always Cuba, with its dictator, Fidel Castro and its martyred executioner, Che Guevara (actually an Argentine) to set the example for the rest of us.

Currently, the heroes/victims du jour are the Palestinians, those peaceful, loveable victims of Israeli oppression. As for the Islamic terrorists who blow themselves and others up with bombs, kidnap and behead innocents and call for the imposition of Shariah law over the whole world, you won't hear a peep against them from our elite left-wing professoriat. To do so would bring down cries of racism and Islamophobia against the offending party. So now, on countless campuses, Jewish students have to study in an atmosphere of anti-Semitism, where every semester witnesses an anti-Israel protest sponsored by the local Muslim Student Union with radical imams shouting anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-American epithets, all under the banner of free speech. Any criticism of the above is regarded as anti-Muslim and thus, morally equivalent to the hate speech practiced by the Muslim speakers. I know what I am talking about. I have witnessed all this myself at the University of California at Irvine, where I teach part-time. Meanwhile, state universities, like the University of Michigan at Dearborn, are installing foot baths for the benefit of its Muslim students-courtesy of the taxpayers of Michigan. Separation of Church and State? That's only for Christians.

So after 12 years of this kind of education at the secondary level, followed by 4 years of college, what kind of product are we turning out? Apparently, not a very good product. As I stated above, our doctors and scientists are largely coming from overseas. In addition, we seem to be depending on our immigrants for language skills-we are not doing well in turning out bi-lingual or multi-lingual Americans. It does seem, however, that our young college-educated folks are quite well-versed in issues of sexuality, victimization and the ills of the US.

As for Ms Upton, she is just symptomatic of the larger problem. Maybe her moment of embarrassment will help shine the spotlight on a problem that affects our entire society. In a sense, we are all Miss Teen South Carolina.

gary fouse

 fouse, gary c

Another proud graduate of the American public education system.

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