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Subject:  Re: OT: Man in the White Suit Date:  2/12/2009  5:22 PM
Author:  Lokicious Number:  25961 of 35392

For the long term health of the country, we need to encourage more to go into science and technical fields.

Paul,

It isn't just math, science and engineering, which is why I talk about a lack of thinking skills. We talk about this a lot, especially the wife and I, and try not to just be doing the "kids today" shtick, which has been going on forever and was said about us. And "kids today" do have technology use skills. But there are a lot of things that are hard to say are just generation gaps. A few at random:

College age males spend an incredible amount of time at video games.

Binge drinking (both sexes) is not just something most kids do once or twice then never again. It gets celebrated as a way of life.

Most students walking around campus, plugged in or on cell phones, are completely oblivious to their surroundings (earlier today some kid in front of me spat into the wind—it missed me—but was clueless there was someone down wind).

Writing skills, even of professional students, are awful.

Not college, but something I've dealt with in my excursions into improving K-12: the standardized test/state of Michigan standard for a fifth grade social studies expository argument goes something like: choose a position on a topic and provide three facts. Nothing about choosing a topic with two sides of the argument and in examples I've seen celebrated some of the facts have no relevance. Never any demand of showing how the facts support the argument. Ad things don't get much better in high school, so we have to start at step one in college.

The business and economics professors I know are at wit's end trying to figure out how to teach ethics to their students, because most of the students who want to major in these fields seem to believe ethics is for wimps. (A friend of mine wants to develop a module about a small town shop keeper can make more money per customer by cheating them but loses a certain percentage of customers who figure out they are being cheated, then quantify.)

And so on. I suppose I'm in a bad mood because our warm snap and sun has gone back to winter and I didn't get enough exercise, which is why I'm wasting time chatting.
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