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Newly Discovered Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down America Has Become

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posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:08 PM
I did a search of the following article and nothing came up.

This article is about an exam for 8th graders in Kentucky from 1912 which shows how dumbed down education has become the more the Federal government got involved in it. In the article you will find a copy/scan of the test, and you should notice how even in one of the questions in the exam they ask students to "define the following forms of government", and the students have to define among other forms of government the difference between "Democracy", and "Republic." Many people these days don't know that there is a big difference between democracy and Republic, and the fact is that the United States has always been a Republic, and not a democracy.

Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”? It is a movie about an “average American” that wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that is surrounding him. Unfortunately, that film is a very accurate metaphor for what has happened to American society today. We have become so “dumbed down” that we don’t even realize what has happened to us. But once in a while something comes along that reminds us of how far we have fallen. In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 was recently donated to the Bullitt County History Museum. When I read this exam over, I was shocked at how difficult it was. Could most eighth grade students pass such an exam today? Of course not. In fact, I don’t even think that I could pass it. Sadly, this is even more evidence of “the deliberate dumbing down of America” that former Department of Education official Charlotte Iserbyt is constantly warning us about. The American people are not nearly as mentally sharp as they once were, and with each passing generation it gets even worse.


This is imo actual proof that there has been a systematic, and intentional effort by the elites to dumb down Americans to destroy this once Republic of the United States.

The Republic of the United States is not a true Republic anymore as the founding fathers founded this great nation. It has been transformed into a true "democracy" where the "majority" tells everyone else, and forces everyone else into what this "supposed" majority wants.

edit on 14-8-2013 by ElectricUniverse because: add picture.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:24 PM
reply to post by ElectricUniverse

I always get a kick out of it when I see these old exams.

It is so funny that some of todays college students can't even answer these questions, let alone know what the moon is.. .. Not kidding.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:24 PM
I took the exam and I failed miserably.

It is truly sad how far we've fallen isn't it.
They should throw a copy of that into this years 8th grade exam and see how well they do.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:37 PM
Already posted

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:46 PM

That's about the timeframe that the commies started infiltrating the U.S. Government.

Education has been on a downhill slope since about then.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:48 PM

Originally posted by ShadellacZumbrum
reply to post by ElectricUniverse

I always get a kick out of it when I see these old exams.

It is so funny that some of todays college students can't even answer these questions, let alone know what the moon is.. .. Not kidding.

Could it be that these old tests were dumbed down over the years because the students of that time couldn't pass them?

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:49 PM
If your entire year was just dedicated to knowing the things on that test all of you would pass it with ease. Just as a student from then would fail a modern test today. Because you are tested on what you are taught.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 09:18 PM

Originally posted by hellobruce
Already posted

Normally we only close to an original when the threads are posted in a smaller time frame....about a month...

Therefore, please carry on with the topic.

edit on Wed Aug 14 2013 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 10:06 PM
reply to post by jiggerj

Could it be that these old tests were dumbed down over the years because the students of that time couldn't pass them?

Not at all.

I personally think that education was something completely different than what we have today.

In addition, the No Child Left Behind garbage has really served a blow to the education system.

With what standardized testing we have now days only focuses on certain areas. This helps to ensure passing grades. Any teachers on this forum would be able to confirm that.

From what I understand they don’t even teach civics in High School anymore. That was a class that was required to graduate when I was in high school.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:15 PM
reply to post by ElectricUniverse

I really don't know how many times this has been posted here over the years but it is a lot.
Dumbed down?

Newly discovered?

I think it is fitting that the spell check is telling me that the word "dumbed" is misspelled.

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:21 PM
The following three quotes are from ''The nature of Proof'', published in 1938 -Fawcett. I show these to allow people to see how the arguments were couched at the time. That and to provide evidence that critical thinking used to be understood as almost inseprable from geometry. Instead of belaboring the point, I'll let these quotes speak for themselves.

"The purpose of geometry is to make clear to students the meaning of demonstration, the meaning of mathematical precision and the pleasure of discovering absolute truth. If demonstrative geometry is not taught to enable a pupil to have the satisfaction of proving something, ..., then it is not worth teaching at all." W.D. Reeve (1930)

"Geometry achieves it highest possibilities if, in addition to direct and practical usefulness, it can establish a pattern of reasoning; if it can develop the power to think clearly in geometric situations, and to use the same discrimination in non-geometric situations." H. C. Christofferson (1930)

"I firmly believe that the reason we teach demonstrative geometry in our high schools today is to give pupils certain ideas about the nature of proof. The great majority of teachers of geometry hold this same point of view. 2 Our great aim in the tenth year is to teach the nature of deductive proof and to furnish pupils with a model of all their life thinking." C. B. Upton, (1930)

Once trained in the fundamentals of geometry, and how it can be used to show absolute proof (the square fits into the squre hole, or it does not), only then can ...

Critical thinkers can gather such information from:
    and/or reading,
    and listening.

Critical thinking has its basis in intellectual criteria that go beyond subject-matter divisions and which inclued:

Notice that logic is merely one category within a sub division, of applied critical thinking. It is not the foundation, nor is it the capstone of critical thinking. Merely another brick. The first sentence in this paragraph cannot, I think, be repeated often enough. Logic is merely one category within a sub division, of applied critical thinking.


Let's take a look at Jr High, and High school back in the old days. Here is some information on Indiana that is relevant. Let's take it as an example of what the whole country used to be like. First of all there is a strict moral code.

The Teachers will endeavor to combine mildness with firmness, kindness with justice. Strict regard will also be had to the language, the manners, the whole deportment of the pupils, in the school room and out of it, so as to secure, if possible, not only that they may become good scholars, but also good men and women. Students who will not refrain from drunkenness and other vicious indulgences, will be promptly dismissed, as dangerous to the morals of the school, and unworthy of a place in it or any other.

At the Indiana Seminary and Normal School a classical education was taught. The important thing to note here is that all of this just to get a student ready for college. Back in those days these were considered mere prepratory courses. To get one ready for college, where the advanced work was done.

In addition a student had to take a test just to get into this prep school. The things tested are...
    Orthography (that is, spelling)
    Reading, Writing,
    Mental Arithmetic, Written Arithmetic,
    Descriptive Geography (including Map Drawing),
    Physical Geography,
    History of the United States,
    English Grammar (including Syntactical Analysis),
    Vocal Music,
    also, for those who intend to pursue a classical course, Latin Grammar and Latin Reader, or French Grammar. Remember, this was prerequisite to entering the Graduating Course.

So it was assumed that if a student paid attention in Jr High they would pass the above tests, and now they are ready to enter High School. I don't know about you, but the above reads like advanced college course work these days.

Mike Grouchy

... continued

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:24 PM
In the following list, remember that the non math books would have been studied in their original languages. Greek, latin, or what-have-you. German in the case of Henraid and Corinne.

Here is the High School course work.

Junior Class, First Term: Caesar's Commentaries or Fasquelle's French Reader; Greek Grammar and Reader or German Grammar; Ray's Algebra, Part 1st; English Literature.

Junior Class, Second Term: Cicero's Orations or Telemaque; Greek Reader finished and Anabasis commenced (Xenophon’s account of the Younger Cyrus’ expedition into central Asia) or Woodbury's German Reader; Ray's Algebra, 2d Part, commenced; [color=gold] Geometry, Five Books.

I just gotta point out my personal favorite up there. Geometry, Five Books. Yeah... That's the missing key stone. You know. The central stone in the top of an arch that keeps it from falling in on itself, and gives the whole thing strength.

Middle Class, First Term: Virgil's Aeneid or Henriade and Corinne ; Anabasis, finished or Schiller's Wilhelm Tell; Ray's Algebra, Part 2d, finished; Geometry, finished.

Middle Class, Second Term: Odes of Horace or Racine; Homer's Iliad or Marie Stewart and Klopstock; Chemistry; Trigonometry and Surveying or Botany and Music or Drawing.

Senior Class, First Term: Mental Science (roughly speaking, psychology); Conic Sections and Analytical Geometry or Music or Painting; Rhetoric; General History.

Senior Class, Second Term: Moral Science (generally this means philosophy); Natural Philosophy (this means science, just like Newtons "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica"); Astronomy; Geology.

    Exercises in English Composition will be continued throughout both Courses. Classical students will somewhere in the Course study Latin Prose Composition and the rules of Hexameter verse; and all will be required to write frequently exercises in Latin or Greek, or in French and German. Students may study Differential and Integral Calculus, and thus complete their mathematical studies, if they have time and inclination to do so.
    Daily Lessons are given in the elements of Vocal Music, with appropriate practice. For these lessons no extra charge will at present be made. Besides this there is a daily exercise in Singing, engaged in by the whole school.
    The School is provided with a fine rosewood Steinway PIANO and an excellent MELODEON. Those wishing to become correct and tasteful performers on these instruments will here find excellent opportunities. The Music Classes are open to all, whether they attend the other classes or not.

This is the course of study for all students. The mathematics requirement consists of three semesters of Algebra, two semesters of Geometry, one semester of Trigonometry and Surveying, and one semester of Conic Sections and Analytical Geometry. Calculus was not required, but could be taken by those students with the "time and inclination to do so."

All of the above gets one a diploma. And now they are qualified to go to college to get an actual Degree. This is light years away from what a degree means these days.


..... continued
edit on 14-8-2013 by mikegrouchy because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:27 PM
So how was the process of teaching critical thinking through the study of Geometry removed from planet earth? Well... it wasn't that hard actually. There was a long tradition of criticizing geometry that went all the way back to the Greeks themselves.

The followers of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who esteemed feeling over reasoning, had no patience for the arguments of Euclid. His science is ridiculous, they said, pointing to a proposition half way through the first book of the Elements, in which Euclid labours to show that no side of a triangle can be longer than the sum of the other two sides.

'It is evident even to an jackass.' For a hungry jackass, standing at A (Fig. 1.1.2) will go directly to a bale of hay at B. without passing through any point C outside the straight line AB. The beast's geometrical intuition tells him that AB must be shorter than AC + CB.

The charge that Euclid stops to prove propositions evident even to an ass has echoed through the ages.

One of the echoers was the seventeenth-century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, who accused his fellow geometers of six perennial faults, among them 'proving things that have no need of proof'. He took as his example Euclid's compulsion to demonstrate that two sides of a triangle taken together exceed the third. To this objection the Greek philosophical geometer Proclus, who wrote a lengthy commentary on the Elements early in the fifth century, had replied that a proposition evident to the senses 'is still not clear for scientific thought'.

-Geometry Civilized

So, um, yeah. Standards have fallen.
I don't even want to show you what the entrance requirements used to be for college back in the old days.
The info I found in a Carnegie Mellon research book,
blew my hat off and made me so sad I wanted to weep.
Is America a lost civilization?

edit on 14-8-2013 by mikegrouchy because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 12:15 AM
reply to post by mikegrouchy


Best Damn Answer I have read all day.

I agree with every bit of that. The standards have dropped significantly.

I think some of that may have come with the population explosion.

Basic rule .. The more children you have, the more teachers you need.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when that basic rule has been modified quite a bit to reflect .. . .If you have more children you don't need more teachers you need less .. . . curriculum.

Incidentally I don't think this is something that is going to change anytime soon. Once something becomes set in its ways it is hard to revert to from where it came. Now we have set our standards on the bell curve so that we don't "Leave No Child Behind", and it is certain that we will low our standards again in the future.

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 12:52 AM
I don't know how many people know eighth graders or have looked at the work, but its very similar, at least in Canada.

Maybe your school system just sucks...or the parenting sucks

I agree certain things can be tainted by the controller of the education, ie. history, but general math does not change very much. Science advances and arithmetic remains the same, as most books read are from generations past.

Sure, if you haven't seen a eighth grade book in a while i can see you thinking this could be hard, but honestly, eighth grade here is comparable.

Maybe the blame should be put forth on the parents of children who cannot stand to see them fail a grade. From parents who do not spend anytime educating at home. Ill admit school teaches, but the real learning comes from the yearning for more knowledge, and that is taught by the parents.

I understand this is a busy life, yes, but who doesn't have time for 20-30 minutes a day to sit down with their kids and go over homework everyday? No one. There is no excuse. They are your responsibility, and frankly, I wouldn't just trust my kids minds to be moulded by someone who is basically a stranger to them. They can help, but I have the reigns...

So don't blame education, blame the parents who are too busy with their own lives who don't take time for their children.

edit on 15-8-2013 by predator0187 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 01:07 AM
reply to post by ElectricUniverse

There are a lot of spelling errors in that test. I don't know about school now, I've been out 10 years, but I thinj I couldve done well enough on that test in 8th grade.

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 01:11 AM
reply to post by GogoVicMorrow

but I thinj I couldve done well enough on that test in 8th grade.

Maybe not... just kidding I know it was a typing error, but seriously the test made me look slightly in need of a book and a lot of reading, there is really nothing we can do to prevent this , except revamp the system, but I dont it will happen.

Peace, NRE.

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 01:51 AM
As another said classroom size has grown to where teachers are lucky if they can just keep the kids civil. Back then they would throw kids out of school that acted up or demonstrated that they didn’t want to be there. Now there are too many parents that send their kids to school just to be rid of them for a while. It’s a daycare. Kids back then were glad to be in school it was a break from hard work and bad grades meant an arse whooping. I also believe teachers would have the same kids for the entire day no shuffling from class to class but I could be wrong. There just are not enough teachers or classrooms and a lot needs to change to get back on track.

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 04:38 AM

Originally posted by GeneralChaos

I really don't know how many times this has been posted here over the years but it is a lot.
Dumbed down?

Newly discovered?

Where did I write it was "newly discovered"? That would be the article itself where this was written, not something I wrote.

Originally posted by GeneralChaos
I think it is fitting that the spell check is telling me that the word "dumbed" is misspelled.

Spell check software is not always right.

Definition of dumbed-down in English


Syllabification: (dumbed-down)

simplified so as to be intellectually undemanding and accessible to a wide audience:the dumbed-down nature of modern politics

posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 05:17 AM

Originally posted by MrSpad
If your entire year was just dedicated to knowing the things on that test all of you would pass it with ease. Just as a student from then would fail a modern test today. Because you are tested on what you are taught.

First of all, back in those days they taught you more than what was just needed to pass these tests. It was not like today's multiple choice, or true or false tests which are quite easy in comparison.

Second of all, it is in modern times that students are only taught "what is needed for the tests".

Heck, even in the 70s and 80s students had to type/write at least an entire paragraph, if not more, describing each topic you were asked about, and you had to explain the subject concisely. At least it was like that in Europe back in the 70s and 80s. I wasn't in the U.S. until 1989 so on that part I can't say what it was like in the 70s or 80s in the U.S. However, from the 90s on education was imo already getting from bad to worse in the U.S.

Back in those days, in Europe at least, we weren't allowed to use calculators for math tests. We had to write our equations in a separate sheet of paper, and had to turn that sheet of paper in with the tests as proof that we did our work.

These "multiple choice" and "true or false" tests are not helping students, they are helping with the dumbing down, and for what I have seen it is happening not only in the U.S. but other countries as well, including Europe.

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