Two and Two are Five’Sounds Alright to Me……

OK…let’s see if this makes any sense…a number of states in this land of ours have lowered their standards for students to qualify for graduation from high school. The folks running our schools have adopted the attitude that school is ‘just too hard’ on many students and if strengthened would result in the failure of many students to make the transition from high school to college.

Say what’

Listen to this quote by one of these school officials who is trying to defend their policy:

“In 2008, state officials in Alabama, Arizona and Washington delayed the start of the exit exam requirement and lowered standards after seeing that many students, including a disproportionate number of minorities, would fail the tests. Many states have faced lawsuits over the proposed requirements amid accusations that the tests are unfair to students with disabilities, non-native speakers of English and students attending schools with fewer educational resources.”

So, the new method of coping with a problem such as this is to lower the testing standards so as not to embarrass the poor student and perhaps cause a blow to his or her self esteem. To me that makes as much sense as it does to chop your hand off because you have a hangnail. You solved the problem but at what cost’

If anyone thinks the schools in this country are equal and fair, they have another think coming. They aren’t. But we all know this and yet nothing gets done about it. Those who can afford to send their children to private schools are doing so at a steadily growing rate. Private schools currently educate 11% of all of our students from kindergarten through high school. This figure is expected to grow in spite of the fact that sending children to private schools is not only more expensive but still requires the property owner to pay school taxes for services not being utilized. In spite of billions of dollars being poured into the school systems around the country, test scores and educational levels are on the decline.

In 2005 (last time I could find data) the United States ranked ninth in the world among industrialized nations with adults in the 25 to 34 year range who had high school diplomas. Twenty years earlier we were ranked as number one. Of course even if we consider the ownership of a diploma as a milestone for our young citizens, if there isn’t basic education behind it to support the diploma, what good is it for use in worldwide economic competition’

It may be alright for us to wink, wink, nudge, nudge and allow little Johnnie to believe that 2+2=5, but the kids growing up in China and India know that the correct answer is 4. We may not wish embarrass the poor darlings because they haven’t mastered the basics by the time they get to the 12th grade, but are we really doing them a favor by tossing them out into the world where it will be almost impossible for them to obtain any real employment that doesn’t include the phrase… ‘would you like fries with that’’

It isn’t the fault of the child. Perhaps in some cases the student refuses or is unable to learn, but it is the failure of the school systems that are not doing their jobs by utilizing better resources for each student to ensure that they understand what is expected of them when they are passed along into the real world.

In my mind this becomes an issue of national security, the education of our young Americans is what will keep this nation strong and competitive. Shouldn’t our tax dollars go towards better facilities and more qualified and yes, dedicated teachers than on wasteful programs to measure the sexual habits of the Titmouse or other nonsense programs Last year over 19 billion tax dollars were identified as wasteful by one group, see: http://www.cagw.org/newsroom/releases/2009/earmarks-rise-to-196.html. We as a country spent almost one trillion dollars on education in 2009, twenty years earlier the cost was closer to 280 billion. So we have tripled the budget and amount spend over the past 20 years with the result that our educational levels have dropped. Is this an example of efficiency I think not.

Throwing more money at a situation without having a clear definition as to what the result should be is shear madness or runaway government.