Dumbest Generation Analysis

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AP Language Summer Assignment
Chapter 1:
1. In chapter one of The Dumbest Generation, Mike Bauerlein makes several statements about our generation and comes to a conclusion that helps set the groundwork for the entire book. His analysis of today’s youth states that the current generation is lacking when it comes to intellectual knowledge. He provides evidence that states that today’s under-thirty population in the United States does not have adequate knowledge, and their lack of knowledge with affect them greatly in their adulthood years. 2. As with most of this book, the main supports that Bauerlein uses for his conclusion come in the form of statistics. As chapter 1 progresses, he cites more and more surveys, polls, and studies showing test scores of youth in America and their dismalness. This strategy effectively lends a good amount of credit to his opinion that a large amount of today’s youth population is, in a word, stupid. The statistics and proof of the author’s conclusion are from credible sources and based on reading these surveys, etc. one would think that the generation that the author is writing about is the dumbest generation. A.History-“The American Council of trustees and Alumni, Losing America’s Memory: History illiteracy in the 21st century (2000) reported the findings of a commissioned survey aimed at measuring the factual history knowledge of seniors at the top 55 colleges in the country (Includes Harvard, Yale, Columbia University, MIT, Stanford etc.) Many of the questions were drawn from the NAEP high school exam.

-Only 19% of the subjects scored a grade of C or higher.
-29% knew what “Reconstruction” refers to.
-Only one-third recognized the American general at Yorktown.
-Less than one-fourth indentified James Madison as the “father of the Constitution”.” B.Civics-“In a 2003 survey on the First Amendment commissioned by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, only one in 50 colleges students named the first right guaranteed in the amendment, and one out of four did not know nay freedom protected by it. i.In a 2003 study sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures entitled Citizenship: A challenge for all Generations, barely half of the 15-26 year olds queried agreed that “paying attention to government and politics” is important to good citizenship, and only two-thirds considered voting a meaningful act. While 64% knew the name of the current “American Idol,” only 10 percent could identify that speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.” C.Math/Science/Technology-The 2006 American Freshman Survey found that only 0.5 percent of first-year students intended to major in physics, 0.8 percent in math, and 1.2 percent in chemistry, although engineering improved to 8 percent. i. American universities still have the best engineering programs in the world, but more than 50 percent of the doctorates they grant go to foreign students. At the going rate, in a few years 90 percent of all scientists and engineers in the world will reside in Asia. D.Fine Arts-According to the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance(Center for Disease Control), 37 percent of high school students watch three or more hours or Television per day. Clearly, students love entertainment, but not of the fine arts kind. The 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement(Indiana University) reported that fully 27 percent of first-year students “never” attended an art exhibit, gallery, play, dance, or theater performance and 45 percent only “sometimes.”

3. A primary assumption that the author seems to be proclaiming in Chapter 1 is that these surveys are a good reflection on the entire youth population of our generation. These are reliable surveys and polls but they are taking into account a minuscule fraction of the population of the current generation that the author is trying to prove is lacking in intellectual knowledge. 4. Throughout chapter one, Bauerlein exploits the use of heavy...
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