Some Thoughts on Education

In the 1960s, the national illiteracy rate hovered around 2.4%, with significant regional disparities. Southern states, particularly Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, faced much higher illiteracy rates compared to the national average. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 79% of American adults have medium to high English literacy skills. This means that 21%, or about 43 million adults, have low literacy skills, bordering on illiteracy.

Inflation-adjusted spending per student in K-12 education has increased by 280% since 1960, and in real dollars, spending has increased from $2,763 in 1960 to $13,180 per pupil by 2015. Some increase in spending is understandable with increased teacher salaries and in a highly technological age, computer purchases etc., much of the increase has been at the national level with the creation of the Department of Education and its 4,400 employees with a 68 Billion Dollar budget! With approximately 52 million K-12 students in America can you figure out how much that is per student on top of the $13,180 in 2015? If you can then thankfully you received a decent education.

Is Critical Thinking On The Decline?

Critical thinking isn’t just a fancy buzzword for the academic elite. It’s the lifeblood of problem-solving, decision-making, and basically not falling for every clickbait headline that promises a six-pack in six days. In a world where misinformation is as common as pigeons in a city park, critical thinking is our trusty shield against the onslaught of nonsense.

As we strut into the 21st century with our smartphones glued to our hands, it’s becoming increasingly evident that critical thinking is taking a back seat like the middle child on a road trip. What’s causing this decline in our once-sharp analytical skills?

Remember when we used to solve mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, but now we struggle to figure out if an email asking for our bank details is legit? Our analytical skills are rusting faster than a metal chair left out in the rain, and it’s making us more susceptible to falling for the latest internet scam or conspiracy theory faster than you can say “But my Nigerian prince promised me riches!”

At some time in recent history our schools started indoctrinating rather than educating. Rather than teaching children how to think they started emphasizing what to think. This dribbled into the never ending expanse of the internet and social medial. All that is happening in most of these spaces is people pooling their collective ignorance rather than examining why they believe what they do.

Thankfully there are individuals as well as whole websites who place an emphasis on detailed research and inviting different views. If you have some feel free to share in the comments section!