An anti-reason, anti-intellectual culture will produce, of necessity, uneducated students. It’s the law of causality.
In “The Accounting Cycle: Students Then and Now,” Mr. J. Edward Ketz says:
I have been teaching full time for over thirty years. If you toss in my apprenticeship teaching as a graduate student, I have taught for almost thirty-five years. During that span of time, one sees many, many students, and it amazes me how different they have been over time, and the inequality continues to grow. Compared with the students in the 1970s, today’s students are uneducated and unfit for a college education.
Before proceeding, let me enunciate two premises. First, I do not think there is any significant difference between the two groups in terms of native, raw intelligence. … Second, I am focusing on the average student who majors in accounting. Both groups arise from a distribution of students. The lower tail of yesteryear’s population had some weak students, and the upper tail of the present-day population has some very strong students; however, when one focuses on the means of these two distributions, he or she finds a huge gap.
To begin, today’s average accounting major cannot perform what used to be Algebra I and II in high school. Students cannot solve simultaneous equations. Students have difficulty with present value computations, not to mention formula derivations. Students even have difficulty employing the high-low method to derive a cost function, something that merely requires one to estimate a straight line from two points.
Furthermore, there has been a cultural shift in how Americans view education. We used to view education as a learning process that liberated the individual and created mature adults. Today society tends to view education as a commodity to purchase and list on a résumé, not caring whether any learning occurs.
Read the rest. I notice the same things: students who don’t care and students who can’t do the elementary school math they need for precalculus or calculus.
Buying more or better computers will not help. Buying better school buildings will not help. Certifying all teachers will not help. Vouchers will not help. “No Child Left Behind” will not help. Making all schools public or all schools private will not help.
We need a return to reason: the thing that education is all about. Reason is the fundamental.