Education13 Dec 2009 12:18 pm

Last week I was talking to a clinician friend of mine who is the director of a local alternative school. During the conversation I mentioned how high our local drop out rate was. She felt I was exaggerating and doubted my numbers. So, we googled it and saw that my numbers were correct.

Most statistics out there are in agreement. In the US less than two thirds of its children get a high school diploma. This means that over three in ten kids in the US do not graduate high school. Think about that a minute. Three of ten kids in your, or who were in your child’s kindergarten class will/did not get a diploma.

The media generally reports the yearly drop out rate which has stayed between 4 and 6 percent. So, the average person is led to believe that only 5 or 6% of students drop out and conclude that 90% or so of students graduate.

Yet, the reality is that 5% are dropping out per year. The accumulative result of which is that somewhere between 30 and 40% of students will be lost before high school graduation.
Below is the significant numbers posted by the Alliance for Excellent Education for the State of North Carolina.

Graduation Gaps and Inequities
Graduates
Graduates 63%

There are significant graduation gaps among student subgroups. To help close these harmful achievment gaps and raise graduation rates for all students, graduation rates must be disaggregated for both reporting and accountability purposes.
North Carolina’s Graduation Gap

All Students 63%
Asian          74%
White        70%
Hispanic   50%
African American   45%
Native American     44%

Estimated 4-year Graduation Rate
*Figures calculated prior to rounding. All graduation rates are for the school year 2005–06. For access to sources and notes please visit http://www.all4ed.org/publication_materi…. © July 2009 by the Alliance for Excellent Education

If you go to the web site below you will see an interesting national map of graduation rates for all states.

 http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/ind…

When you read the history of the public school system and the writing’s of many of its founders you find that public education was designed to be more often about indoctrination into the political/economic world of US society than about maximizing the intellectual possibilities and skill base of each citizen.

Many early social psychologists sympathized with governmental architects concerns that a truly democratic system could breed social instability. Public education was seen as a means to mold public opinion and create civic pride in the status quo while making future voters more dependent on the state.

In the early years the American public education system was able to attract and cultivate the best minds while fostering a strong sense of patriotism and national pride. These were the heady years of industrialization, empire building and invention.

Yet, the more successful the US became at becoming the reigning superpower the less the need for finding the best minds amongst the rabble. Instead they could reserve the quality aspect of American education system for the privileged few. This allowed the main focus of US public schools to become indoctrination and public control and less on unfolding the intellectual capabilities of the majority of children.

I have witnessed first hand the dilution of the American education system. The slow ingress of increasing chaos of the classrooms and the lowering of standards of academic performance.

In the late seventies and early eighties I worked in special education class rooms for both day programs and residential treatment facilities. Many of these kids came to us illiterate and with below average IQ’s. Despite these hurdles our children flourished in our school. We averaged 9 months of academic growth for every 3 to 4 months of class time.

A sizable portion of the students I worked with during that same time were average to above average students who came to us because of emotional psychological issues and not due to poor academic performance.

In the late nineties I returned to public schools for awhile and have spent the bulk of this decade back in special ed. dominated classrooms.

Though I have taught all subjects, math is my forte. I can assert with no doubt the skill level of kids I worked with in special ed. in the 70’s is higher than the average student in today’s standard level classroom.

The computational and reading skills of a child being promoted to the fourth grade now is inferior to the skills of the kids who were promoted in the 70’s. Pretty much the same can be said for each grade level.

The basic skills of our children are eroding as are the expectations. This can not be an accident or be explained away by changes in our society. For ever reason I can find that society makes learning more difficult, I can find five or six that could make learning easier and more productive.

The watered down American public education system now takes sixteen years to accomplish what it used to in twelve. The skills demanded of a student to get their high school diploma in today’s public school system is roughly equivalent to about a freshman level of the 1980’s.

The GED tests which students can now use as a high school education equivalency test is not even at the eighth grade level that I was familiar with in the late 70’s.

We are being told the truth by our educational system and government when they say that our child’s high school diploma does not open them up to the same jobs and opportunities that a high school diploma did for us when we graduated. They go on to say that today’s college diploma carries the same impact as yesterday’s high school diploma. It now takes a post graduate degree to avail yourself to the opportunities that were previously available to a college graduate. These are all true statements. In fact, they are understatements.

Today’s college graduate is probably available for less than a high school graduate of the 70’s. And even a post graduate degree does not assure you that you will get a job and pay of a standard similar to a basic college degree  in decades past.

Yet, what is deceptive about these statements is the reason why they are true. We are told that today’s workers need more skills and intellectual ability and knowledge than previous generations.

We are led to believe that the fast pace of technological progress and the increasing speed and complexity of the work place is demanding similar growth in our educational knowledge and performance.

Yet, for the most part this is just all out fictitious propaganda.

In my next post I’ll explore the fallacies of the above view and the possible reasons we are being asked to believe in the false hood of the need and benefits of a post graduate degree. I will also shed some light on the likely goals of the architects of the modern public education system, at least according to their actions.

Jim Guido

2 Responses to “The Great American Education Hoax”

  1. on 17 Dec 2009 at 11:06 pm gls

    You write,

    When you read the history of the public school system and the writing’s of many of its founders you find that public education was designed to be more often about indoctrination into the political/economic world of US society than about maximizing the intellectual possibilities and skill base of each citizen.

    It’s an intriguing notion. I’d like to see what primary sources you have in mind.

  2. on 19 Dec 2009 at 12:31 pm Ellen

    Looks like they are dropping the educational system all over the flippin world…hmmmm….must be a conspiracy… I find it pretty strange and ironic that the government would now rally up and state that because of the technological advancement we the younger generation need to be equipped with more knowledge when they are *gasp* watering down the use-to-be good system….maybe they feel we are kinda simple and need simpler knowledge…dont know…maybe they want to keep us dummified to keep control…if knowledge is power….*thinks* idk….Governments all over the world serve their purpose but most times they just irk the high-hell outta me!

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