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Anti-intellectualism in Schooling

Katarina Russell

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Every time I read a book out in public or even just talk about one, I risk the “Ew, you like to read?”comment and every time I mention liking an academic subject whether it is English or math, I risk the skeptical looks of the person I’m talking to. No matter how hard I try to avoid it, I always risk the disdain of someone for valuing intelligence.

Situations like this might sound familiar to you. They have happened to us all at some point or another. Whether you get all A’s or do all of your homework or just enjoy reading, someone is always judging you for being smart.

Intelligence has been downplayed in schools everywhere. The “popular” people are almost never the smart ones. Instead looks, sports, and charisma are what give them their charms. Meanwhile, the smart kids are the ones that are made fun of or just plain ignored. Smart people are towards the bottom in a school social hierarchy despite how important education is. While this isn’t the case for every school, there is enough for an impression to be made.

Anti-intellectualism is not a new thing. It is all over America. In schooling, anti-intellectualism is even more noticeable. Numerous teenagers either hardly care or don’t value their education at all. Teens proudly state that they hate reading and will avoid even class assigned books. They will ignore their failing grades and refuse to enlist the help of a tutor. There are repercussions for their decisions, but when others around them are doing the same things, it can be hard to see them.

On the other hand, there are plenty of students that maintain good grades and take advanced courses and strive to go to college. No matter what, those that value intelligence will always be present in America and in schools. Yet despite all those who value education, anti-intellectualism still prevails. All those little comments judging intelligence still happen in schools everywhere, even private schools.

So even though graduation rates have risen and drop out rates have lowered in recent years, anti-intellectualism still has a long way to go before it will die out in America. American culture itself will have to change before anti-intellectualism will no longer affect schools.
It’s possible for anti-intellectualism to fade from our society. We can’t make it disappear right away, but we can make it fade from our school.

As long as we continue to place value on education and encourage others to do the same, we can give anti-intellectualism less influence over us. We already have a supportive learning environment, but in the end, it’s up to us to work hard and keep learning.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Anti-intellectualism in Schooling”

  1. Tess Veloso on February 23rd, 2017 2:54 pm

    Excellent points. Thank you for writing this.

    [Reply]

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Anti-intellectualism in Schooling