A Sad Day at American

Julian Rossetti

3/27/2014 4:00:00 PM - Julian Rossetti

In what seems like a parody of a college admissions video, MRCTV gives us an uncomfortable look at what is wrong with American education.

For almost three minutes we watch, one after the other, college students from American University fail to name at least one current U.S. Senator. As one girl put it, "I’m not big into the America thing." Perhaps the most damning part of the "pop quiz" is the relative ease with which the same dumbstruck students gleefully shout, "Let it Go!" when asked about the hit song from the new Disney movie Frozen.

Stepping away from the easy jibes and insults, this video says much more about the state of American college education than it does about college students at American University. At the same time Americans in higher education are failing to grasp basic U.S. politics, Michelle Obama sits in a high school in China and basically says "it’s OK to make mistakes." But it’s not that U.S. students are making too many mistakes, it’s that they’re not even trying. A 2014 Brown Center report on American education shows that "Only 38.4% of [college freshmen] said they spent at least six hours per week studying or doing homework as seniors in high school."

Homework comes in fourth pace. Only 38.4% of students said they spent at least six hours per week studying or doing homework. When these students were high school seniors, it was not an activity central to their out of school lives. That is quite surprising. Think about it. The survey is confined to the nation’s best students, those attending college. Gone are high school dropouts. Also not included are students who go into the military or attain full-time employment immediately after high school. And yet only a little more than one-third of the sampled students devoted more than six hours per week to homework and studying when they were on the verge of attending college.

It is now less of a mystery why college students are so ignorant about U.S. politics; in the prime years of high school education (when we learn about politics and government) 66.2% of students are talking to their friends. Perhaps about the new hit Disney movie Frozen. It is an embarrassing and depressing day for American University, and for America. Or as one girl said, "this is sad."