Let the dumbing down of America begin!

We’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have the most sought after freedoms and way of life on this planet, and yet, we seem to have lost our ability to follow directions or write coherently.

Case in point, I’m taking a 6 credit upper level humanities class at UMUC and for our first assignment we were asked to write 2 brief paragraphs about ourselves. The first paragraph was to be about who we are today- single or married, where we lived, what we do for a living, why we’re taking this class, etc. Very general stuff – setting the base line of who each of us is today.

The second paragraph asked us to envision ourselves 10 years from now and to extrapolate on where we thought we would be, and how our lives would be different. Now this is a slightly sneaky question that plays into the theme of the course: Ideas Shaping the 21st Century. This was where the instructor wanted you to really think about the world today, and how it might change in 10 years and how those changes would affect you. Still not a difficult question, even if it was a little sneaky. We do it all the time; we dream about tomorrow, we make plans for our lives, set goals, etc. This just took it one step further.

What did my classmates write? If we were lucky, we received 2 long run on sentences of who they were: Hi, I’m Xxxxx, I’m studying psychology, and I live in Southern Maryland with my seven kids and military husband. This class looks like it will be fun.

Then, nothing. No predictions or even wishes for their future. They stopped writing, they didn’t follow directions.

Funny thing is that there was one more set of instructions they also missed. We were then supposed to read each other’s introductions and write comments back to each other about what we had read. So far, only one other classmate managed to do this assignment correctly, and he even beat me to the commenting stage. Since he was also the only one of 10 people to do the assignment correctly, I had no choice, but to comment on his poorly written drivel.

Don’t even get me started on what poor writers they all are. I know I am not the queen bee of writing, but I do know how to write beyond the 3rd grade level displayed in my class thus far. I’m really working hard to keep my burgeoning superiority complex under control, but if this is what universities are turning out these days, I weep for our future. The level of mediocrity is staggering.

What a bunch of maroons – this is going to be a long semester, I can feel it.

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