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Is Our Children Learning?
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, September 05, 2007

If you can understand the answer given to the question in the video clip below, I salute you.

This is Miss Teen South Carolina. She is being asked why 1/5 of Americans cannot locate the United States on a map.

As near as I can tell, the answer is so incoherent, it's not even wrong. It sounds like the start of an appropriate answer when the first sentence begins, then all the sudden, we're in South Africa and Iraq.

What's really great about this is the look on Mario Lopez's face when she finishes. I look at that face, and I know what he's thinking.
 
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He’s thinking how pretty she’ll look wearing her McDonald’s hat at the drive-thru window.
 
Written By: physics geek
URL: http://physicsgeek.mu.nu
My brother and I were discussing this horrendous episode tonight on the telephone. He was telling me about somebody on the web who was running a contest: the goal was to use nothing but words that she actually uttered, in the same numbers of instances, and try to make a coherent statement about something with them.

I wish I could find that.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Transcript:
“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh… people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and… I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our

–Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen USA - South Carolina
use nothing but words that she actually uttered, in the same numbers of instances, and try to make a coherent statement about something with them.
Good luck with that!

On a side note, this girl will NEVER be working in a McDonald’s.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Sounds to me she was coached to hit certain talking points or had those talking points bouncing around in her empty head from school. Either way she probably struggled to work them in.

In any event she achieved more fame from that foul up than she probably would as a runner up.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
i woulda lost too, i would have said that the statement sounds like a load of bull to me and i need to see the report.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Now, everybody watch this. This is President Bush’s response when he was asked the same question.

http://likesuchas.ytmnd.com/
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Painful. I saw it last night and can’t watch it again.

When I was a kid one of the first things handed to you was a bloody globe.

Now you have kids who can’t find the United States on a map of the United States.

More self-esteem training is clearly called for.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Who cares? Beautiful and dumb.....me likee.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I think at the end she said it was "for the childrenTM".

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Who cares? Beautiful and dumb.....me likee.
She’ll make someone a fine trophy wife someday. As long as they don’t mind siring beautiful and dumb children.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I’m with jpm100. She practiced answering the usual questions, and when she was asked one that wasn’t in her script, she had to ad lib. I am surprised she left out ’world peace’. That would have saved her with the judges.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I have to go with George Will on this one.
In 1972, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan wanted to declare the death penalty unconstitutional as a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s proscription of "cruel and unusual" punishments. But the Constitution’s Framers clearly considered it constitutional. So Brennan simply asserted—against considerable evidence, such as public-opinion surveys and actions of state legislatures supporting capital punishment—that America’s "evolving standards of decency" had rendered the death penalty unconstitutional. Brennan’s reasoning was dubious, but standards of decency do evolve. Evolution is not, however, always elevating.

Last week, there was nationwide merriment at the expense of an 18-year-old participant in a South Carolina beauty pageant. Asked a question about why many Americans might lack elementary knowledge about the world, she got lost in syntactical tangles and spoke nonsense. Although there was not a shred of news value in it, Fox News and CNN played the tape of her mortification, and by last Friday YouTube’s presentation of it had generated more than 10 million hits. The casual cruelty of publicizing her discomfort, and the widespread entertainment pleasure derived from it, is evidence that standards of decency are evolving in the wrong direction.
I’d be all over it if it was some bureaubot, storm trooper, or public "official." But it’s not. It’s an 18-yr old girl who by accident of birth is at the tight end of the bell curve, she’s focussed on making something of that lucky strike. We really don’t know how intelligent of dumb she is, or in either case, how much effort she has put into becoming a productive individual in both mind and body.

All we know is that she’s a young and inexperienced girl who got completely lost in a train of thought, and instantly knowing it, fell completely apart. Ever happened to any of you?

Frankly, I’m disgusted in general by this whole ordeal. As I’ve observed it, it’s reminded me a lot more of a wolf pack that a civilization of human beings.

That’s all.

 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Frankly, I’m disgusted in general by this whole ordeal. As I’ve observed it, it’s reminded me a lot more of a wolf pack that a civilization of human beings.
When I first watched this, it was painful and I felt nothing but bad for this girl, then I looked at the aftermath, and she is good hearted about it, and she is certainly not quite as dumb as she seems in that one answer.

This is going to work out to be a good thing for this young lady.

With that understanding, it doesn’t bother me a bit to have a little fun with it.

This is not like laughing at a mentally challenged child, this girl is a highly paid professional model who entered this contest in order to get publicity, and she’s getting it, in spades.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Rich: there is, nonetheless, no way around the elementary fact that, at her age, she has not been trained to even get seriously started at using her mind. I understand your point. It’s hard to watch a given individual go through that. However, in the abstract, she really is an important symbol.

It is an indisputable fact that she comes from a time when children simply are not taught to think.

I consider that far more important.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"she comes from a time when children simply are not taught to think."
Probably true. But has there ever been such a time?
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
When you see me write the word, "think", you should understand that I am using it with very technical precision. Very briefly, I’m talking about being able to use principles in order to integrate concepts.

And the answer is: yes.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy (and other interested parties):

Here are the original entries.

Here are the finalists.

Here is the winner.

 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://
She is certainly not as dumb as she sounded in the pageant, because I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to actually be that dumb. But clearly, from seeing her speak in other situations, she’s not bright.

That’s not so bad, there are a lot of people who aren’t very bright, but to Beck’s point, this girl graduated high school with a 3.5 GPA. That’s truly disappointing. This would this girl would theoretically brighter than 77% to 87.5% of our recent high school grads.

When I went to high school, you couldn’t get a 3.5 without being smart and applying yourself a bit.

I rememeber adults looking at kids when I was kid and saying they weep for the future.

They had no idea.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
This would this girl would theoretically brighter than 77% to 87.5% of our recent high school grads.
Geez, you’d think I’d pay a bit more attention to my writing when I am pondering how dumb someone ELSE is...

This girl would theoretically be brighter than 77% to 87.5% of our recent high school grads.
rememeber
remember
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Cap,
We don’t know, she might have busted her butt to get that 3.5, and she may have done all the work for it too.
How she did over time isn’t necessarily an indicator of how she is going to do when they hit her with a question like this.

Billy’s right, it required some critical thinking in a really short time frame, and I don’t think that’s her forte.

She was probably trying to put a good face on a bad situation and I don’t see there was one - Let’s face it, there’s not much good to say to answer that question -
Our kids our stupid?
Our education system sucks?
Can I have another question?

How do you frame a sensible answer to a question that’s a lot like, "have you stopped beating your wife?"
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"...it required some critical thinking in a really short time frame, and I don’t think that’s her forte."
Okay, I think we might generally draw this a bit more in the direction of Rich’s and George Will’s point. To my mind, the only serious answer to a question like that is to start with something like, "Well, they’re all a bunch of dumbasses." It really is pretty dim to try to put out something like what someone like her is expected to in a scene like that, on a subject like that, in less than a minute.

It’s not how the evening’s entertainment is arranged, however, so she tried to tap-out the well-hoofed steps.

Even so, she still looks to me like a neon sign at the Endarkenment Motel.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Captin Sarcastic said, first:
This would this girl would theoretically brighter than 77% to 87.5% of our recent high school grads.
And then:
This girl would theoretically be brighter than 77% to 87.5% of our recent high school grads.

Nice job cleaning up the syntax there, Cap, but even with two tries, you failed to make sense. You have assumed, among other strange things, that grades are distributed among students in such a way that you have as many 2.5 GPAs as 1.5 GPAs and 3.5 GPAs and etc. and etc. This isn’t how school work is graded, even theoretically in an ideal system.

Respecting the whole brouhaha here, I’m disinclined to adjudge the young woman stupid — or even all that poorly educated — based on this one incident. I’m also reluctant to regard it as an indicator of declining standards in public education (as if a trifle like this were needed to indicate that). What about the contestants of yesteryear who garbled their answers to the dumb questions they were asked? What unraveling of the social fabric or cultural crisis did their verbal stumblings bespeak?

All that said — and asked, rhetorically — it hardly seems to have shaken the earth ominously that people found this whole thing hilarious. I can well imagine that not every comment has been kind. But from the little bits I’ve heard about it here and there, Miss SC seems to have come through like a trooper, with lots of time left in her life to study maps. As if.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
What was I thinking when I said:
You have assumed, among other strange things, that grades are distributed among students in such a way that you have as many 2.5 GPAs as 1.5 GPAs and 3.5 GPAs and etc. and etc.
??

In truth, I don’t know what you assumed, but I’ll grant it likely that you supposed most students wind up with GPAs in the 2.0 range. Which of course doesn’t matter since GPAs aren’t class rankings. And the fact that Miss SC’s high school GPA was 87.5% of a perfect 4.0 doesn’t tell us, theoretically or otherwise, what percentage of recent high school grads she’s brighter than. Ditto her inability, under considerable pressure, to hold forth coherently on their reputed ignorance of geography.

/reinventing statistics
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
"When you see me write the word, "think", you should understand that I am using it with very technical precision. Very briefly, I’m talking about being able to use principles in order to integrate concepts.

And the answer is: yes.
I assumed you meant something like that. When was this time - at least in US history?
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
wrTrxr ituvwvusjwem, [url=http://exbhylytatxs.com/]exbhylytatxs[/url], [link=http://njriydmspeqe.com/]njriydmspeqe[/link], http://fxvnfityxvqw.com/
 
Written By: guoncmebl
URL: http://swtzokbirajo.com/

 
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