The Closing of the (North) American Mind

The Closing of the North American mind by Robert Nielsen, discusses the erosion of the North American society, because of our failing educational system. I agree with Nielsen on some of his arguments against the system. Majority of the student body studies to obtain marks. What they study usually disappears after they get what they want. This pattern goes on for four years, which is supposedly preparing the students for the bigger step, university or college.

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The discussion about the “Futile Propaganda” states the fact that students are often ill prepared for higher education during their public and high school lives. Basic skills like reading, gets replaced by television at home, which in my opinion everyone can relate to. Who would read a book when their favorite episode of CSI Miami is on? The “value clarification” courses the schools offer lead the children to discuss issues like abortion, sexism and the arms race. It could be argued that such education can be passed as a little more than propaganda.

This type of education leads the minds of the young away from what they are suppose to be learning. Next, is the “Delusive Openness”. Students believe that “there are no universal and eternal varieties for people to learn and live by, this leaves everyone to think and do as they please”. Bloom states that such openness leads to close-mindedness because it doesn’t make the students curious about the difference between good and bad, right and wrong or truth and error. I can agree with the educational system comparison argument, as well as the “Futile Propaganda”, but here I have to disagree.

I don’t believe that students of the current century are so close-minded that they can’t tell a difference between good or bad. Their ideas don’t remain valid for their own time and place. If a person thinks of an idea, it’s obviously generated from something that he believes in. Humans compared to “Ignorant Shepherds”, maybe hard to hear, but it’s true. Our civilization is probably known for its technological advancement. But the truth really is that we steal the knowledge from our past civilization, and build on it.

We play with the “fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part. ” It wont be easy to fix the current state of the educational system we are in, considering the fact that laziness comes before hard work, but I think that if teachers bring more to the table than the curriculum suggests, meaning, making the course more exciting so that the students wont be easily distracted, this problem wouldn’t be carried off to universities, but could slowly be eliminated.

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