The Dumbing Down of American High School Students


"Do you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?" Sure, it's funny when Brittany, the dumb blond cheerleader on Glee makes ridiculous statements — it's quite another thing when it becomes apparent that she's not exactly unique. As a matter of fact, it's kind of scary how many not-so-smart kids are out there…kids that are graduating and joining you in college in the very near future.

The Wall St. Journal was the first to lay bare a growing problem: Today's high schoolers kinda/sorta don't know jack. Sure, they can text like fiends and rattle off the last three episodes of the Jersey Shoreverbatim, but when it comes to learning and knowledge? Eh, not so much.  This is most alarmingly obvious when it comes to test scores. According to WSJ, less than twenty-five percent of this year's high school grads who took the ACTs could even pass entry-level courses.

And forget basic skills and knowledge of history. USA Today recently highlighted this year's Beloit College Mindset List. Over 75 questions regarding pop culture, general knowledge, and current and past events were presented to 1,400 students as part of a survey. Results showed that the current crop of college freshman didn't know cursive, can't quite place Dr. Jack Kervorkian, and never felt the need to wear a watch, let alone take the time send a REAL letter or an email.

Call it a sign of the times, or even a glaringly obvious generational gap – either way, it could mean a "dumbing down" of college courses and materials in the near future. That probably sounds all fine and good for those of you smart enough to snag an easy "A," but once you graduate, you'll most likely discover that the business world won't be so accomodating.

When exactly did being intelligent AND cool go out of style? It seems like for every Bill Gates and 25-year-old Facebook gazillionaire (before the age of 25, mind you)  we have a bunch of Brittany, Snooki, and Spencer Pratt clones running around, spreading stupidity like wildfire. Yes, it's amusing and entertaining, but does it come at a cost?

While it may be too soon to tell, we'll know we're REALLY in trouble when every class exam becomes open book and Twilight and Harry Potter courses become the norm.

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