Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Literacy on campuses

The bad news continues. Most college students "most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.

Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.

More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks."

Discussions - 10 Comments

When are the students supposed to learn how to compare credit card offers when they’re busy reading Plato and all those other dead guys that you neocons like? I say drop all that longhaired book nonsense in favor of practical, all-American education.

If colleges dropped all that "longhaired book nonsense" then people would not know how to think for themselves. A person can learn how to understand credit card offers and compare the cost per ounce of food in about five minutes. But getting someone to think, to understand philosophical ideas, that takes time.

Of course, this brings up the question of what is better for the person, practicality or depth? I say depth. How many Joe Schmoes just go through life, reading credit card statements, balancing checkbooks, and hating every minute of it because that’s all they ever do? The people who are truly happy are those who think. Those who are deep. You can’t get depth by understanding credit cards or comparing the price of food per ounce.

Thank you, Senator Nye. You may return to your isolation chamber now.

"The people who are truly happy are those who think. Those who are deep."

I don’t know. At Big State University, I have many professors who "think" and are "deep" (just ask them) and they don’t seem happy at all. In fact, they’re some of the most depressing people I know.

Actually, I would argue that both are important. However, they are learned in different environments. I would argue that it is the place of college/university to teach more of the "longhaired book nonsense" that teaches an individual how to think critically and imaginatively. It is much more the forgotten role of secondary (high-school) education to teach the more basic skills of "practical, all-American education." High-schools have, unfortunately, become centers of politically correct indoctrination filled with feel-good pablum, rather than centers preparing young people to be good, productive, intelligent citizens.

Ashland University certainly doesn’t help with "real-world" tasks. You have to be 22 to even live off campus. My cable bill was rolled directly into my tuition bill because Ashland thought it was just too darn hard for a college age student to gain the skills necessary to pay so many individual bills.

In response to Interested, the inclusion of cable in your room & board was a decision by the Student Senate (although the Board of Trustees won’t approve our visitition hour changes). At the time it was cheaper; the 80% of us with cable making the other 20% help subsidize it for us. In addition, cable’s now part of the package AU can sell to students. Just another way the University coddles its wards.

Did you know that kids don’t even learn to whittle nowadays? I saw my grandson’s school history book. Just a bunch of junk about Harriet Tubman and the rain forest. They don’t learn nothing about America. Or how to whittle.

My (college) daughter brought that report to my attention. We found it amusing, in a black humour sort of way, that the reporter opined, "There’s brighter news!" when said brighter news was merely, "Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation."
IOW, ’College grads are none too bright, but that’s just great since everybody else is dumber.’

Incidentally, the daughter in question can figure out real world math stuff and read Plato, too. We’ve never found it to be an either/or proposition.

Ditto comment 9, the best part was when they claimed that even at such low levels as students are adults are worse!! Maybe America needs to pray for wisdom and hope for a Solomen-like miracle.

John--While I don’t wholly disagree with you, be careful about saying people can do credit cards and calculate ounces of food in 5 minutes. If this is true, then why do so many people fail in these "simple" tasks? Thinking is great and "longhaired book nonsense" is useful, but it is not all that makes depth. The meaning of life is not solely found there. Math and Science are crucial subjects that teach one to take "long haired book nonsense" and apply it. Its bad to apply what you can’t grasp and bad to grasp what you can’t apply.

Gerald--Don’t throw out the Plato, but use it moderately. Mix it with a good Geometry course that takes something theoretical and solves a problem with it via bedrock logic. It will work out best in the longrun with both deep and practical people as John called them.

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