Adults are really just middle schoolers living adult lives…

I came up with a theory a couple of weeks ago and meant to write about it, but then forgot until tonight.  After studying for/taking my Middle School Content Knowledge PRAXIS Test, I have come up with this hypothesis:

The average American functions, at best, at an 8th grade level.

Please note, I’m not saying the average American has the intelligence of an 8th grader, merely that in day-to-day life, most people are only required to function on an 8th grade level.

Think about it: when was the last time you used algebra or geometry?  And not “well, the guy who designed my car used it, so I used it when I drove my car.”  What about physics or chemistry?  I was really proud of the line I came up with for my physics teacher when she would say that you can’t live without physics: “You can’t live without it, but you can live without understanding it.”

I digress.

My point is that by 8th grade, students (hopefully) are able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, solve problems, find and articulate the main idea and purpose of something they read, persuade someone to agree with their point of view, and know enough about U.S. history and government to avoid ending up on Jay-walking.  These are the very same things I have found necessary to survive in the “real world.”

Granted, most people have a specialized knowledge of something that enables them to make some sort of living.  My mom knows how to read doctors’ handwriting and fill prescriptions.  My dad knows how to manipulatemanage people and run a business (love ya, Dad).  My sister knows psychology.  But as far as everything outside of our particular sphere is concerned, most of us never got past the 8th grade.  Which is a little bit scary.

Based on the practice test I just finished, the test I’m taking tomorrow to determine whether or not I’m qualified to be a teacher is easier than the SAT.  I missed 2 out of 40 on the math.  2.  And they were measurement conversion questions, which I always had issues with.  I haven’t taken a math class in 5 years.  Shouldn’t this test be more difficult?  I feel like I should be required to know more than when to use “I” instead of “me” to be considered “highly qualified.”

And we wonder why our education system is screwed up…

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1 Comment

  1. Dad

     /  March 27, 2009

    Based on what I’ve seen on Jay-walking, 8th grade functionality is being generous. Of course, the people who get the right answers don’t make the editing cuts!

    And who’s the manipulator when you want something from me? Eh?

    Reply

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