The reason that children are getting lazier/ less intelligent is because of Parental lack of engagement with their children. Its also due largely in part to the educational budget getting slashed, while the federal state and city governments dump billions of dollars to fight "sexual predators". Not only has this practice been shown not to work, but it is stealing federal and local funding that could be going to upgrading schools, enhancing education and providing relief for burnt out teachers.
Write your local politicians and tell them to stop fighting an illusion and put the money where it needs to be put, to help our children.
I am a high school science teacher (Chemistry and Earth Science). When introducing the concept that a handful of common elements (20 or so abundant elements, or the entire periodic table of 118 elements) creates all the matter around us, I relate it to the alphabet with 26 letters being used to create millions of different words. I always ask my students how many letters there are in the alphabet and I usually get a range of answers from 20 to about 32. The first time this happened was a very enlightening experience. Students have little capacity to memorize anything. This is not helped by curriculum developers who suggest that the answer is to give them more projects (create posters, brochures, presentations, design and conduct an experiment from scratch, etc.) and let them look everything up. The idea in education seems to be give them a large project to do and they will get the basics along the way. The problem is, without the basics most students have no clue how to begin such a projects and then miss all the basic information, or look up and use the wrong basic information.
I also teach a lot of dimensional analysis and most of my high school juniors and seniors cannot multiply fractions. I don't even ask them to do it without a calculator, but then I see many students who (after days or weeks of practice) cannot input the numbers into the calculator correctly. Many students simply look for the easiest way out. They treat most school assignments like they are simply filling out forms, and if they can look online and find information to put in those forms, they do.
One last note. Where I teach it is nearly impossible for a student to fail. We have at least four 2nd chance recovery options. There's an afterschool recovery program for each subject; a Saturday school program; summer school; and a recovery class where they can repeat a course online. I have students every year that swear those options are easier and fail on purpose. In other words, nothing too severe happens if a student fails, so why put in the extra work?
Last, but certainly not least. I have been shocked by the severe lack of computer knowledge in my students. Sure, they can Tweet, and text, send pictures on social media, and find anything you want on Youtube or Netflix, but if I ask them to scan a document and email it too me I may as well be speaking in a foreign language. Better yet, try to get students to remember a username and password combination for a site. Good luck with that one.
My nieces are 14 and 16 and have been A-students throughout their education. I was very proud of this...Until I realized just how poorly an education they have been receiving all these years. While playing a family game of Trivial Pursuit, they were unable to answer even the most BASIC literature, math, history or geography questions, but did slightly better with general science and, of course, pop culture/entertainment. When I questioned my eldest niece as to why she still had trouble understanding the difference between a verb and adjective, or why she could not name even ONE capital of ANY European nation (she could barely name 2 countries in Europe), or how she didn't know a darn thing about any of the American presidents, World Wars, Ancient Egypt, etc., I was informed that, "My teachers never cared much about that stuff..." They've never had to do a book report; they've never had to conduct a science experiment; they've never had a geography test, except US state capitals, but that info evidently didn't stick either, because they weren't able to name 95% of them. Yet, they are A students. But, boy, can they navigate a web page and multi-task: able to watch a YouTube video while simultaneously texting a friend on their iPod and playing bowling on Wii. Amazing. And think how useful that will be in their futures...
I am also an American teacher. I teach science to HS students. I see sophomores who do not know how to manipulate a one-variable equation. This is very troubling, especially when those students are in an "honors" class. Interpreting graphs, knowing which variable goes on which axis, memorizing a constant that they've had to look up repeatedly--all of these are difficult. I once gave a quiz where everything had been discussed on the board and left there during the quiz--one student got fewer than half the questions correct.
I agree with another contributor that this perceived lowering of intelligence is actually created by the divestment of memory onto technology. No student is allowed to be less than perfect, either, which pushes parents to seek diagnoses for their children, as other people have said in this thread. In order to reverse this trend, we must hold students to an unwavering standard, and not change the standard to meet each student. Shifting curricular boundaries result in a knowledge base that has no value.
I think that there are several reasons for this: technology, lazy parenting, teachers unable to maintain rigor in classes. Students today have not developed the mental pathways to be able to remember things. In the worst cases their minds are like a blank slate EVERY DAY. Google and technology have done this. They don't have to remember anything and so the brain does not develop neural connections to do so. You cannot learn anything knew without basing if off previous connections and material. So they have problems learning new things because of it. I have been teaching since the 1980s and today's college students are like 5th and 6th graders from the 1980s.
Because sadly, the expectations from the teachers now are very low, and all the students in my class don't even listen to lectures. I'm considered a smart student, but in reality, I'm average. Teachers better start teaching us more difficult things. The girls in my class go on instagram during class time, talk about having sex, the guys do ridiculous things to achieve attention. I think everyone in my class is growing up too fast. Thirteen isn't the age for sex, or kicking other's asses during lunch. With the right knowledge, anyone can kick their asses. Slice their femoral artery. Sadly, the kids are too dumb to realize even this. On a scale of one to ten, ten being average classroom where everyone listens, all the classes in my school are at a two.
Two mothers died last year leaving my second graders without a mother. Now, one is in foster care and another is with the grandma. They were both middle class White children. Parents of all races are divorced, poor, and barely surviving this economic collapse. They are drinking and drugging while teachers are raising their kids.
There are many different opinions on why. Observations on how: children don't observe nature, their perception is all based on tube, they treat school as an avenue for free goodies, they throw away the free food...This is all learning from the adults whether nature or nurture. We don't value nature, we only value jobs for the money it provides to spend, its a throwaway economy. More importantly, our morality is way down both in priority and availability. Unlike in some other countries, secularism is a byword for permissive amorality and rise in atheism. There is nothing spiritually available on Comcast or anywhere else...Morality and spiritualism charted the way for the Great Enlightenment in 19th century America (Emerson, Thoreau), yet how many teachers are allowed to teach these today? What passes for critical thinking is anything besides genuine societal critiques and discussions on what constitutes noble ideals.
I am a student and honestly I can say we are. We have it too easy. In fact we have it so easy that you don't even have to be smart to become a success. From what I hear you had to work hard in school in the 90s and 80s , because once you failed thats it. Not to mention not all but a lot of parents I've seen that have children these days aren't always able to sit at home with they're children so they could get the help they need for the future for my generation. *smh* it's pretty sad :(
I am a teacher and I will tell you that I my curriculum is rigorous. However, it is very easy for any student to get a "free pass" to have that curriculum dumbed down. They will tell me it is because of some sort of learning disorder (ADD/ADHD is very popular, even though it is not technically a learning disorder). Any student who performs poorly in school can easily be diagnosed with a learning disability. As a result, he/she gets a "plan" where he /she is basically passed through school regardless of performance. In addition, the thinking now is that every student is a winner, even if he/she lacks motivation. Our education system is in a very sad state and if we don't' do something, our nation will be one of the dumbest in the world.
People aren't getting dumber, they are getting lazier. Everyone has access to tons of information on the internet, and in libraries among other places. Its not that people are too dumb to seek information, its that they are too lazy and do not see the point. We can change that
The first point where the educational system is failing us is that we are not gearing our classrooms for the kind of learning that these kids need to be doing. We are teaching to the tests and giving them the impression that all that really matters is that they pass those tests, leading to a situation where they are only learning to pass the tests instead of learning for a successful life.
Another thing that we're really failing on is that what we do is force our kids in their last two or three years of high school to learn a bunch of junk that the vast majority of them will never use. It used to be that you had to have a science course or two, Algebra and another math or two, and a social studies course or two. Now we're practically forcing our kids to go through trigonometry in math, take three to five science courses, and a bunch of social studies courses. We're shoving so much junk that they don't need into their heads that the simple stuff they do need is going through atrophy.
People keep arguing about how we have to do this to compete with other countries. What they miss is that most other countries that we're competing with aren't including everybody. A lot of European countries, for example, don't force everybody to go to school until they're eighteen. Only the smartest or most ambitious stay in school after about sixteen in a lot of these countries.