How bad IS our education system? (California edition)

not_me_not_I

New Member
Without googling, could you give a brief 2-3 sentence explanation of who Henry VIII was? (Don't give it, I just want to know if you can).

I asked 4 people at work today who he was and NO ONE KNEW. I'm starting to wonder if maybe he wasn't as well known as I had thought, or if kids these days just aren't learning anything at school.

Another previous set of co-workers failed to be able to identify (in even the broadest terms) Constantine, Mao Tse-tung, and Stalin. And when I say broad, I mean like, "oh, he was that Russian guy that killed a bunch of people." We're talking completely blank stares.
 

Dave2006

Active Member
Didn't he loose to Rocky VI in the 9th round?

Dave
 
Without googling, could you give a brief 2-3 sentence explanation of who Henry VIII was? (Don't give it, I just want to know if you can).

I asked 4 people at work today who he was and NO ONE KNEW. I'm starting to wonder if maybe he wasn't as well known as I had thought, or if kids these days just aren't learning anything at school.

Another previous set of co-workers failed to be able to identify (in even the broadest terms) Constantine, Mao Tse-tung, and Stalin. And when I say broad, I mean like, "oh, he was that Russian guy that killed a bunch of people." We're talking completely blank stares.

Don't confuse intelligence with trivia; but I do get your point.

As a former educator in California, the situation is hopeless. :straightface:
 

the_kaz

Active Member
To be fair though, I've been astonished at the amount of people here in London who don't know who Mark Twain was (which, I'm guessing, would be quite shocking to many Americans). I've also specifically encountered people who don't know who Mao was (though, sometimes it helps to say "Chairman" before the name), and that even includes a couple of annoying Chinese people who blindly believe that China can do no wrong, and who only ever associate themselves with Chinese people. Oh, and once when I was doing some substitute adult teaching, I used the name Karl Marx to illustrate a point, but only one or two people knew who he was.
 

the_kaz

Active Member
Now that I think about it, they don't actually teach Twain, Mao or Marx in the school system in this country, so I guess I can't really hold that against the people who don't know who they are.
 

not_me_not_I

New Member
Don't confuse intelligence with trivia; but I do get your point.

As a former educator in California, the situation is hopeless. :straightface:

My issue is that I don't think these people are trivia. I don't care if they know what year it was or their birthplace. But take Stalin, for example. Stalin was a monster, responsible for the deaths of millions of people. He's a model of what happens when ideology gains power over common sense and what happens when power is too concentrated. I think it is important that people remember him as a cautionary tale, yet Russia continues to promote him as a bit of a hero. With widespread ignorance, this is going mostly unchallenged.

Or take King Henry VIII - he created the Anglican church! I think that's a pretty big piece of world religion history - Catholicism/the Pope used to have complete control over religious life in Europe, then Luther came along, and Henry used a true spiritual movement as an excuse to get rid of his wife.

Or Constantine - most of the people I ask are Christian; they're Christian because Constantine declared Christianity to be his state religion. If not for that, Christianity would likely have remained an alternative religion. Since then Christianity has had an enormous role in shaping European history.

If these personalities are trivia, then what more relevant topics are we teaching in history classes?
 

MILVA

is not a member
Now that I think about it, they don't actually teach Twain, Mao or Marx in the school system in this country, so I guess I can't really hold that against the people who don't know who they are.

You can't hold it against them if you believe that cultural/intellectual development is somehow limited to a school environment.

I know people who went to school until they were 15, and still know about Stalin, Mao or Marx.
 
My issue is that I don't think these people are trivia. I don't care if they know what year it was or their birthplace. But take Stalin, for example. Stalin was a monster, responsible for the deaths of millions of people. He's a model of what happens when ideology gains power over common sense and what happens when power is too concentrated. I think it is important that people remember him as a cautionary tale, yet Russia continues to promote him as a bit of a hero. With widespread ignorance, this is going mostly unchallenged.

Or take King Henry VIII - he created the Anglican church! I think that's a pretty big piece of world religion history - Catholicism/the Pope used to have complete control over religious life in Europe, then Luther came along, and Henry used a true spiritual movement as an excuse to get rid of his wife.

Or Constantine - most of the people I ask are Christian; they're Christian because Constantine declared Christianity to be his state religion. If not for that, Christianity would likely have remained an alternative religion. Since then Christianity has had an enormous role in shaping European history.

If these personalities are trivia, then what more relevant topics are we teaching in history classes?

That's what I meant when I said that I know what you mean. Their significance on the world stage is much more important than that you were asking for initially.

In California, there is only a very basic minimum for History requirements. Students are only required to take 1 year of World History, 1 year of US history and 1/2 year of Government. The closest they get to Mao Tse-tung is during their bullshit year of World history where they study the history of the whole world in 9 months. And all this when their main concern is who has the best cell phone in class.

There is simply not enough covered during their time in high school.

And for those of us that went to school CA and actually know who those world figures are, I can assure you we did not limit our education to the classroom setting. That is the main difference not only in CA but anywhere.
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
I'll see a movie on Monday and forget the basic plot by Friday. I lived in California since I was 5. Maybe it's the water.
 
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