Education, or (Mis)Information?

October 9, 2016

I've seen a meme floating around Facebook attributing Donald Trump's popularity to a broken educational system. But this isn't simply an educational system issue, though I am all in favor of more education about civics and government.


When speaking to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders about the presidential election, teachers often ask me to be careful about what I say, because some kids become very agitated for or against one candidate or the other, based on what they're hearing at home.  Most children learn their political beliefs at home, and I don't think it's the place of schools to undo what parents teach their children about politics. 


I think the bigger problem is that with all the cable and Internet outlets, news has become entertainment, argument and opinion have replaced facts, and conflict sells. Much of the media has a financial incentive to rile people up, and the Internet gives people numerous outlets to vent and spread misinformation. Our information overload hasn't created a more informed public, it's created a more divided, polarized, angry, and uncompromising public. And therefore candidates who can exploit that anger and division are going to do well with certain segments of the population. 


How do we undo that?


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