Cuomo: We have to stop the dumbing down of America


(NewsNation) — There are a few situations I believe you need to be watching right now.

First is the war in Ukraine. This is a crucial time. Whatever good or bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen very soon because once it gets cold, the positions will be locked in. This is not about how many dollars we send, but rather about what makes sense. Russia is just starting its moves.

Next is Iran. People are dying there for the freedoms we have here. Just like with Russia, the chances that Iran’s arrogance translates into actions within the region and with nuclear weapons is high. It matters for freedom and for the balance of power.

Third, don’t stop watching Hurricane Ian. The cameras are leaving Florida, but the hardest part is just beginning. Now comes those without insurance who have nothing, and then the claims that don’t get paid. That’s when it matters, and we must be there.

Now, a no-brainer: Herschel Walker. The football great and hardline anti-abortion rights candidate running for U.S. Senate in Georgia reportedly paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion. Why are you surprised? This issue changes when you are talking about yourself or your daughter or wife. It is easy to be hardline in taking someone else’s rights; that’s why we almost never allow it. How does a less-government Republican get comfortable allowing government to control what someone can do with their body? Let’s see what the voters say.

Now that we’ve run through those quick hits, on to something in a bit more detail. We have to work together to stop the dumbing down of America.

The New York Times on Monday published a story about a New York University professor who was fired after students complained his class was too hard. The headline read: “At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?”

Look at the headline: “Who is to blame,” like it’s a gotcha.

Putting aside the fact that the piece doesn’t come close to answering that question, the story ignores the main issue: Why are we lowering our standards of achievement?

First is a culture problem. The New York Times appears not to be worried that the professor wasn’t afforded due process. Of course, the university can cancel the contract as they wish, but it stated as a reason that the professor “did not rise to the standards we require from our teaching faculty.”

How did they go about deciding that?

According to the piece, there was no real review that included the professor, just notice of complaints by students on a petition that they circulated when they didn’t like their grades.

Twenty-three percent of the class, 82 out of 350 students, signed a petition and got this guy fired. Talk about crowd-sourced consequences. The Times is just OK with that, I guess.

It would be one thing if the professor were bad — and that’s what the school wants you to think — but there is a side mention in here that this guy was at Princeton and NYU for years and given multiple teaching awards, including “coolest professor” at the school that dismissed him.

Often when something doesn’t make sense, it’s because it is about something different than it appears: the dumbing down of our standards. This is “everyone gets a trophy” taken to an exponential level.

If it’s hard, make it easier. Can’t get a good grade? Make the grading easier. This is not English literature, this is organic chemistry. If you want to be a doctor or scientist, you need to master this.

That’s why it’s hard and has always been. It’s a course that separates those who do and don’t have the right stuff.

For proof of my proposition, just look at where we are in STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Engineering) fields. In a study of 35 developed countries, Pew Research Center showed U.S. students ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.

And while the number of U.S. jobs in STEM are growing, just 11% of Americans have a degree in a STEM field. These are the fields that dominate the new economy, and this story is a good look at why despite us having so many advantages, we are dumbing ourselves down.

I have a kid in college. She goes to a great school, and she was talking about how much work there is. We talked about different strategies for her, different ways to study, different sets of expectations. But what we never discussed was that it was the teacher’s fault.

We must teach our kids to be responsible for themselves, to work as hard as they can and not find excuses in the absence of results. That’s life. All you control is your effort, not the outcome. And if you let these kids change the standard here, what are you really teaching them?

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