A Model for Education

The "education president", and drifting frat boy, returned to his alma mater Yale University on May 21, to deliver a commencement speech in which he praised mediocrity. Mr. Bush had not been back to visit Yale for at least a decade, and has apparently put aside old irritations against the university that gave him average grades. Bush told associates during the presidential campaign that Yale was a fount of intellectual and liberal elitism - anathema for a conservative Republican.

As he likened his college days, to a college daze, alluding to activities that sometimes blotted out memory, and an academic record of limited achievement. "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say, well done," Mr. Bush said. "And to the C students, I say, you, too, can be president of the United States." The comment drew both laughter and boos. When Mr. Bush mentioned that he had received his first degree from the university in 1968, one student shouted, "Barely!"

In the 2000 election Mr. Bush survived dismal showings, appearing to some as though he'd be hard pressed to name the president of the United States, let alone foreign leaders. His garbled syntax cried out for a simultaneous translation of his remarks to be run across the bottom of the TV screen.

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.''

George W. Bush-Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

While such poor performances would have doomed a would-be presidency in previous years, it did not matter to many Americans, conditioned to a society where ignorance, if not bliss, is more the norm than at any time in history.

The America that Bush mirrors, is the one displayed on The Jay Leno Show, when he stops average people along the street and stumps them with a pop quiz. People who can not identify prominent government officials, and have no idea how many states there are.

Bush's shallow intellect and UN-inquiring mind, reflects an increasingly dumbed-down America. Thus, he may very well benefit from America's 15 minute attention span, and lack of intellectual curiosity, because he is a poster boy of our times. But is this the man America wants as a model for our educational standards?