Friday, November 9, 2007

Dumbass nation

I am quite used to Canadians not being exactly world leaders in knowing about geography, history, civics and all that. It's not surprising that our primary schools do a poor job of imparting that knowledge to kids; when one considers we compare ourselves constantly with the Americans, it is a low performance bar indeed.

But the following survey results shocked even the seasoned cynical me.

So, let me get this straight. Over half of our kids and teenagers, based on this sample, don't know that Harper is the Prime Minister. More than likely, they think Canada has a president. And, and I hope they were kidding when this was said (but sadly, I know, deep inside, they weren't kidding)...Abraham Lincoln?! WTF! What else don't the kids know, that's the question.

At the risk of sounding like a crusty old conservative, our crappy schools, from the cute Grade 1 to the uber-cool, tall Grade 12, need a serious overhaul. I still distinctly remember arriving in Canada and starting Grade 10 later that year; I was relieved that the science and math were so easy, about a year and a half behind the equivalent European curriculum. That meant I could concentrate on learning English and absorbing as much vocabulary as possible, instead of hitting the rest of the course books...and, amazingly enough, I actually won the Grade 10 'Most Outstanding student award'. It shocked me - there is no reason some other kid, with English as thier first language, should not have finished first in the grade averages, especially counting in the language classes and social studies.

When I see high schoolers walking by, my reaction isn't, unfortunately, 'hey, look, future of the nation' or "I wonder if there's the next Roger Banting or Robert Polanyi among these kids". You know, the genius, the pusher of boundaries, the intellectual ass-kicker. Or simply the next competent family doctor, the next policeman on the block, the next soccer coach.

No, when I see high-school kids walking by, I'm thinking, "here go just another bunch of baggy-assed ruffians with iPods in their ears", and "my, oh my, they didn't make high school girls like that when I was their age..."

Well, I might be a touch prejudiced - but the stats bear out the inconvenient truth. Let's get cracking here and start educating kids about some essentials.

1 comment:

joncormier said...

Yeah, teenagers and school children have never been known to fuck with surveys. I think some of the skewed figures comes from the fact they just want to go smoke so they say, no I don't know who the prime minister is, is it Abraham Lincoln, fine, whatever.

I just shudder at the grammar. Not that I'm the best at it or anything, but at least I don't abuse quotation marks. k THX.