Fidel Castro evaluates U.S. education

We all know that Fidel Castro is pretty much an invalid. He now has to be bathed and provided with diapers. This is a product of his ailments and old age, and he certainly cannot be blamed for that. He can be blamed, however, for being so ignorant and for allowing his secretaries to give him poor advice and information on which to base his articles. His most recent one, just published in the website Cubadebate deals with the quality of U.S. education.

He bases his article in a study prepared every year since 1998 by Beloit College in Wisconsin, called the Mindset List. In this study the university lists the predominant cultural beliefs and attitudes of the incoming freshman year, in this case the 2014 class. Some of the habits or beliefs mentioned by the study include the fact that this young people do not use watches any longer, preferring to look at the time in their cell phones, do not write in cursive, believe that Beethoven is a dog or that Michelangelo is a computer virus. The list is long, some 70 items, and most perspectives from the students are not "good" or "bad" per se but simply indicative of the times and of their living in a digital world.

For Castro, who lives and will die in an analog world, this study is evidence of the poor quality of the U.S. education. He is "shocked" by what he calls the "distortions and prostitution" of this education. He says, "I am not exaggerating the gravity of the situation". 

There are a few things that he forgets. One is that the list applies to the 300-400 freshmen arriving at Beloit from high school, and do not tell us much about these youngsters as seniors, when they graduate after four years of college education. I suspect that, by that time, most of them do no longer believe Beethoven is a dog. Second, Beloit is one out of the 4200 colleges and universities in the U.S. and might not be statistically representative of the national standards of millions of U.S. freshmen. A third comment is that, only in the first decade of the XXI century the U.S. universities have produced about 50 Nobel prize winners in different technical, scientific and humanistic categories, while socialist or communist countries like Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, put together, have not even produced one. 

Another finding by the Beloit study is that most youngsters do not use email because they feel is too time consuming. I assume they "tweet". In Cuba emails and twitting are either forbidden or restricted to the political elite. The Cuban young revolutionaries are told that Internet is a satanic tool.

In his article Castro shows much ignorance and, yes, exaggeration. Writing in cursive is out of fashion with the young? So what? That they prefer to look at the time in their cell phones? So do I, and I am 77. I haven't used a wristwatch in years.  To extrapolate the findings of a small sample of the U.S student body to conclude that U.S. education is a disaster shows lack of objectivity. In fact, it suggests that Castro might be afflicted, at the end of his life, with a deep-seated inferiority complex in regards to the U.S.

A good example of poor quality education is the one found today in Cuba or in Chavez's Venezuela, where political indoctrination and the rewriting of history are the norm. Cuban and Venezuelan television show numerous examples of children reciting laudatory poems to Fidel and Chavez or giving long-winded, memorized, robot-like speeches about the wonders of the "revolution".

Talk about poor education!
We all know that Fidel Castro is pretty much an invalid. He now has to be bathed and provided with diapers. This is a product of his ailments and old age, and he certainly cannot be blamed for that. He can be blamed, however, for being so ignorant and for allowing his secretaries to give him poor advice and information on which to base his articles. His most recent one, just published in the website Cubadebate deals with the quality of U.S. education.

He bases his article in a study prepared every year since 1998 by Beloit College in Wisconsin, called the Mindset List. In this study the university lists the predominant cultural beliefs and attitudes of the incoming freshman year, in this case the 2014 class. Some of the habits or beliefs mentioned by the study include the fact that this young people do not use watches any longer, preferring to look at the time in their cell phones, do not write in cursive, believe that Beethoven is a dog or that Michelangelo is a computer virus. The list is long, some 70 items, and most perspectives from the students are not "good" or "bad" per se but simply indicative of the times and of their living in a digital world.

For Castro, who lives and will die in an analog world, this study is evidence of the poor quality of the U.S. education. He is "shocked" by what he calls the "distortions and prostitution" of this education. He says, "I am not exaggerating the gravity of the situation". 

There are a few things that he forgets. One is that the list applies to the 300-400 freshmen arriving at Beloit from high school, and do not tell us much about these youngsters as seniors, when they graduate after four years of college education. I suspect that, by that time, most of them do no longer believe Beethoven is a dog. Second, Beloit is one out of the 4200 colleges and universities in the U.S. and might not be statistically representative of the national standards of millions of U.S. freshmen. A third comment is that, only in the first decade of the XXI century the U.S. universities have produced about 50 Nobel prize winners in different technical, scientific and humanistic categories, while socialist or communist countries like Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, put together, have not even produced one. 

Another finding by the Beloit study is that most youngsters do not use email because they feel is too time consuming. I assume they "tweet". In Cuba emails and twitting are either forbidden or restricted to the political elite. The Cuban young revolutionaries are told that Internet is a satanic tool.

In his article Castro shows much ignorance and, yes, exaggeration. Writing in cursive is out of fashion with the young? So what? That they prefer to look at the time in their cell phones? So do I, and I am 77. I haven't used a wristwatch in years.  To extrapolate the findings of a small sample of the U.S student body to conclude that U.S. education is a disaster shows lack of objectivity. In fact, it suggests that Castro might be afflicted, at the end of his life, with a deep-seated inferiority complex in regards to the U.S.

A good example of poor quality education is the one found today in Cuba or in Chavez's Venezuela, where political indoctrination and the rewriting of history are the norm. Cuban and Venezuelan television show numerous examples of children reciting laudatory poems to Fidel and Chavez or giving long-winded, memorized, robot-like speeches about the wonders of the "revolution".

Talk about poor education!

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