The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 5/7

08 Jun

According to Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPPA – March 2005) the high school graduation rates in the United States in 1870 were less than 5% of school age teens. In 1940 that number reached 50% and by 1960 reached 70% where it started to fluctuate annually a few percent (single digits) one way or the other.

The reason for the need of a better educated population today is because we are no longer an agricultural country. In 1870, 74% of the population lived on rural farms and it doesn’t take a lot of science, math and literacy to farm [before farming became high tech].  By 1990, 75% of the US population had moved from the country to the city.

Along with this shift in rural to urban population centers, parenting methods went through a metamorphosis. In 1870, children were considered property and could be forced to work hard labor on the farms or be sold into servitude to work in coal mines or factories.

The Child Labor Public Education Project says that it wasn’t until 1938 that for the first time, minimum ages of employment and hours of work for children were regulated by federal law. Before that, children were treated as if they were property—treated as if they were slaves.

Parallel to these changes came the self-esteem movement that had its start in the 1890s and by 1960 was the  common practice of the average American parent (about 40% of all parents) to inflate a false sense of self esteem in children while pressuring the schools and teachers to do the same through grade inflation, doing away with rote learning, and dummying down the curriculum so it was easier for children to earn higher grades and feel good about themselves. In addition, having fun is now more important than merit.

The result, generations of young American narcissists that believe they are entitled to have fun and watch TV, eat what they want and not what they need, and have unlimited freedom to play video games, listen to music and spend as much time as they want social networking on sites such as Facebook.

If you have noticed that I am sometimes repeating myself from post to post, you are right. Rote learning does work and helps students remember important facts instead of forgetting them daily. Do you know who America’s 16th President was or its 32nd President and the significance of these two men?

When we ignore the lessons that history teaches us about our mistakes, our leaders (and parents) tend to make the same mistakes again and again.

Continued on June 9, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 6 or return to Part 4


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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