Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored task force have issued a report that calls America’s fat dummies a national security threat. That’s us folks, we’re the Freedom Haters, our own terrorist jihad against the U.S.A. If you’re acquainted with Def-Con 1, stand by for Def-Con Loved-One.
The U.S. public education system is so failing to do its job of cultivating learners and educating our children that America’s long-term security is at risk. Because of a lack of a high school diploma, obesity, or criminal record, 75% of American youth don’t qualify for the U.S. armed forces. Among those who do, 30% can’t pass the military’s aptitude test. It’s a test I did well on (some years ago), but I was amazed that some of the guys around me were able to pass it at all. I’m not saying our armed forces are dumb, but as an Army PFC I didn’t like being bossed around by borderline morons. Kids who fail that test today make my ‘ol redneck sergeant look like a researcher at Acta Mathematica.
The U.S. Education Reform and National Security Independent Task Force Report was written by Joel I. Klein, Condoleezza Rice, and Julia C. Levy, and can be downloaded for free here. In it you’ll learn about “human capital,” which is what America is running out of quicker than you can say “The Real Housewives of Poverty-level Workers.”
I know, I know, wrapping your head around how America’s human capital deficit affects our economic competitiveness, and, ultimately, our physical safety isn’t nearly as much fun as your yappy little dog or watching DVR’d culinary tantrum porn. But if you want to know and understand your enemy, there’s no excuse for ignoring the weaknesses they’ll exploit.
Maybe that’s a bit much, but it doesn’t mean I’m not worried. Nor does it mean you should go back to comparing hybrid cars and telling everyone you’re “helping.” Remember, watching an online video about African warlords doesn’t actually solve the problem any more than owning the latest smart phone makes you smart.
Studies show that about 64 million (or 91%) American kids between 2 and 17 play video games regularly, and the cost-benefit research on the result of that is mixed. Though there is periodic concern expressed for kids’ waning attention spans, I more often come across university studies and academic polls showing how toddlers, children, and teens with an advanced aptitude for gaming are better suited to an as-yet-realized digital future.
And maybe they will be better prepared for a future we’ve not yet envisioned – but not if they wander into the street and get hit by a bus first. So maybe, just maybe, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. Learning to read, feed yourself appropriately, and stay out of trouble may seem “behind the times,” but the health and safety of our nation – literally – depends on it.
For a similar message on the state of public education in America, (but without all that boring reading) check out Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim’s “Waiting For “Superman.” It’s about the state of our public school systems told through the eyes of five students. Each is eager to get an education, but in a system riddled with ineffective teachers, staggering dropout rates and schools that are literally falling apart, the odds are more than stacked against them. Also, learn what people are doing locally through the Waiting for Superman movement, to give kids a better chance than they’re getting from our public schools.