Thanks for your remarks about the funding of public education. Tomorrow, I will be attending a conference where I will be told that all high students must take calculus and chemistry in a state near the bottom in per student spending and achievement,with inadequate funding for textbooks and teacher training. Reform, I am told, can be accomplished by increasing “rigor”. Not by the futility of increased revenues for schools.
“American society is the most history-oblivious, optimistic and market-oriented ever to exist on this planet.”
Unfortunately, that remark about being oblivious to history is 100% correct. I’m currently in the graduate school for a medium sized 4-year university, working on my M.A. in European History and it is shocking to me how little U.S. citizens working towards an advanced degree in history actually know about international history. I’m not talking about any in-depth analysis, just basic information, such as geography.
Granted, I have an advantage from traveling around the world for 20 years courtesy of the DoD, but I am constantly amazed about how much basic information they lack about non-U.S. cultures and nations. Basically, if it didn’t happen in America in the last 200 years, it really doesn’t matter to the vast bulk of graduate school history students. I can only imagine what it is like at the undergraduate level.
I told some of them to read the articles on Algeria and Mali that Dr. Garfinkle posted, but I wouldn’t bet too much money on that happening.
As politics is the area productive of public policy, perhaps the troubles of the country trace back to politics. While institutional inadequacy is involved, your essay indirectly points spotlight on an electorate generally unable to understand and use the democratic system offered – E Pluribus Unum.
“Human life, in truth, is less an affair of institutions and systems than of people and an interplay of motivations and abilities.”