Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July Knowledge Video: Deceptive or Real?

Is this video "real" in the sense that the videographer was able to find, amongst a very large crowd, a few samples of ignorance; which would make it 'deceptive' in that it removes the shock value.  Did he interview, for example, 200 people to come up with only 5 ignorant?  This would lessen the shock value.

Or, did he find 5 samples of ignorance, out of 25, which would be 20% of the audience, making it alarming regarding ignorance in our country?

I do not know the answer.
Would you try such a test in your home town?

I did, yesterday, while getting gas and the attendant said, "I'm a fourth year college student and it would be pretty sad if I didn't know who we gained our independence from, and just some basic facts about the date and things."

He named the country, the date, and the major players in the struggle for independence from a large, distant oppressive government.

What do you think?

I have an opinion but it is more based upon reading the writings of college grads, including those with master-level degrees, as to what has happened to education in America, than anything else.  Behind the writings, discussions, including having conducted more than 6,000 interviews since 2002, has helped formulate an opinion, but although that which is in writing is far less, it impacted me more.

I recognize nationalized or standardized test scores have dropped consistently the last few decades and the "casey anthony jury" mentality is popular.

In profiling, this can be a 'curve ball' to be aware of.

I find that adults with only high school educations, who graduated high school, for example, prior to 1980, often show better English than today's grads and post-grads.  When profiling, this can be difficult because I have to add:

* "intelligent, educated" with more emphasis upon age, because a 63 year old, for example, graduated high school in 1970, and will often write quite well, not only in spelling and usage, but even in punctuation, rivaling post-grad work today, in just using the semi-colon, itself.

"Relentlessly Gay" analysis showed Julie Baker to be intelligent and the age/education factor would not have been as easy as it was, if not for her other Face Book writing.  Her use of capitalization, which may be presented to a jury after the money is withdrawn, was intentional; not in error, as it spoke to poetic license, which itself, speaks to intelligence.  Recall "Tarantula" and some of Allen Ginsberg's writing and punctuational changes for impact.

Yet, is this video 'authentic', in that it did represent the populace?  Does it alarm you?

I did note that none answered with names sounding like "Mohammad" showing a lack of listening, or belief, in the president's statement regarding our founding fathers.

The Pavlovian response, right to the stomach,  to certain "politically incorrect" topics does show the effectiveness of propaganda, as well as highlighting that truth, or even accuracy, is more complex than simple, rote repetition.

It is difficult to depart from "Lizzie Borden took an ax..." or "The Scarlett Letter", or even the abbreviated Gettysburg Address, from the reality that takes more effort to understand.


Unknown said...

Thank you! I don't believe footage like this is accurate. I believe it's inflammatory. I posted this in the comments to this video in a fb group:

"Why do you think this footage was aired? Is is because the film crew is concerned for the US, or to make the viewers feel smart? How many right answers didn't make the footage? What's the motivation for broadcasting this? My sister reported that Air 1 aired sound clips of similar interactions. I assert that the reason for these clips is to make the ones who know the answers feel smart. Air 1 listeners would feel smart and like smart people listen to Air 1 and they should continue to do so. Or the viewer/listener would feel outrage as well as superiority and post things like "THIS IS WHY I HOMESCHOOL!!!" to fb."

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I am hoping a few readers do their own experiment at their local mall, taking a rather simple question and seeing what kind of results they get, over, say, the course of two hours at a busy mall.

I recognize that our education is dramatically down than what it used to be, and that basics, including math and science, are now said to be superior in China, Germany and other countries, but I just do not know what percentage the videographer found, which is why when a reader here does it, they can have an assistant "score keep" with a simple check list to see if a general population is as bad as it seems.

I did child protective work for years in which it would have been easy to say "everyone in this city is a child abuser" because I interviewed parents accused of child abuse where, in some form or another, most of the reports were factual, with a small but consistent percentage as "spite reports" made by ex spouses, embittered relatives, and so on.

My generalization would have been off because it was only those who had reports against them that I interviewed.

I know that Latin is making a comeback, and I was hearted to read of some of the private schools in MN, all black, where the scores were very high. They focused on rigorous education and gave black children hope through fine education, and the ability to compete.

No protests there and they do not make the media, but they are doing well, and three cheers for them.

I just wish the videographer gave us a percentage like, "these 5 people were the funniest, but 90% of the population knew the answers."

Of course, this would lose its impact, and would also lose the comedy, but would have to be fact based to be helpful.


PS: Homeschoolers can do really well. They are derided unjustly today but with headlines of falling grades, I do not blame parents for at least trying. It is really hard work and takes not only dedication, but a community of specialists. I homeschooled for a few years only, and had to rely on, for example, a nurse, to teach science, as I excelled at some things, but not others. It was expensive and exhausting. I admire those who do it and their kids get scholarships. It takes a lot of effort.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a fun experiment! Perhaps I'll do it with my kids.

When I hear things like this, I always wonder why the message is being broadcast; what's the motivation (did you see the semicolon?)? What does this person want me to believe and why? This guy is selling something, likely a conspiracy headed book or the like.

I homeschool my children because I believe it's what they need. I don't have a problem with homeschoolers. I don't like it when they make smug comments on fb implying that home school will save folks.

Anonymous said...

Pavlovian experiments were ground breaking in Psychological terms. Yet, used in the wrong way, can be very dangerous, and have long lasting mental side effects.

wreyeter72 said...

The reasons test scores are falling is myriad, but there are a couple of standout issues that professional educators are well aware of and stumped to turn around - though administrators are constantly trying to come up with new ideas (compounding the problem as you'll see when you read the second I'll list).
First - No Child Left Behind has taken critical thinking skills out of the equation. Rote memorization to pass tests is what has been happening more and more for years now. As I understand it, our brains are incapable of retaining much of what we learn by rote memorization for anything but a short period of time. Much of that "knowledge" won't usually last into adulthood.
Second - and the most pressing and difficult to do anything about - many of our teachers have become apathetic. They feel like their passion and talents are unused, unappreciated and that they are micromanaged by administration with constant new edicts to use one learning program after another (which costs thousands to the district) and they have no freedom to truly "teach." Teachers are bombarded with "new" policies and curriculum constantly. It's piled on them so high, they can't see the reason they decided to teach any longer. But administrators absolutely have to find a way to bring test scores back up. I wish we would see NCLB scrapped and teachers allowed to use their considerable talents again.