What is wrong with American high schools?


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Charlotte, NC — American schools have changed a lot since the 1950s, (when the USA was frequently referred to as “the envy of the world.”). They have changed and not for the better.

Education has a huge effect on the economy, and well, our schools aren’t preparing students to get good jobs, cope with life, handle their money, or even be decent people. In fact, I am not sure that is even a concern of higher education. At least not anymore.

In the 1950s, when the United States was considered the top rung of the world, only the students who were academically inclined were encouraged (sometimes threatened) to go to college.

Students who weren’t well suited for college gravitated toward careers in trades and other careers where a college education isn’t essential. That was the perceptive way of doing things, and it worked pretty well.

At some point, someone got the bright idea that “every kid should go to college.” I know Bill Clinton said it.

Now, this is important; from a psychological standpoint it should be noted that he did NOT say “Every kid should HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY to go to college.” This implies a choice.

But what he said implies that the choice has just been removed.

And that little distinction makes it incredibly easy for one to predict what is going to happen next, now that our gum’ment is involved.

Not everyone is suited for college: there are plenty of jobs that don’t require a college education. Well-paying jobs such as being a real estate agent don’t necessarily require a college education.

And trust me, my plumber at $80 an hour (and worth it) is not concerned about making his mortgage this month.

We need plumbers. We need electricians. We need machinists. We need auto mechanics. We need farmhands.

College is not needed if you want one of those careers- Trade school is.

Forcing a kid to go to college who isn’t academically inclined will either result in him falling out of college with a huge debt, or he’ll graduate with a useless degree and with poor grades.

I realize that is a stretch on credibility, but can you imagine the damage that would occur if I am a right and we end up with a nation of brain-numb graduates that are butt-over-elbows in debt and barely qualified to work a minimum wage job turns signs for the D.O.T? I shudder to even imagine it…)

They wouldn’t be able to get a job that will justify the expense of having gone to college, much less service the debt. It’s incredibly destructive to the mentality of an individual to know that he has a college degree but not be able to use it.

Show me a college graduate waiting table at Denny’s and I’ll show you a potential serial killer. Well, actually they are more likely to be in the kitchen staff (personal experience) but you understand my point.

And surprise!-another ability effect of this push to “try to get every kid to go to college” is that to make it even somewhat possible, standards had to be lowered.

And lowered. And lowered again.

College standards had to be dropped so that kids who didn’t want to go, or belong in college but were talked into it, had some chance of passing their classes.

That lowers the quality of a college education for everyone and makes our college graduates less capable than they once were to compete with the rest of the world and to not only compete but dominate. The USA absolutely was dominating in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s and now we aren’t.

Every last one of us has seen the online test “Could you pass an 8th-grade history test given in the early 1900s? And we should be able to; they had less stuff to memorize then because it hadn’t happened yet.

The generation of people who went to American high schools in the 1950s put a man on the moon. Our current generation can’t write in cursive or drive a stick-shift.

Other countries have grabbed ahold of the concept that to compete effectively with the rest of the world you want your public schools to be top quality!

Here in the US, we’re actually cutting the budgets of our public schools, with no thought that a later generation of drones is going to cost us everywhere. Luckily, we are still pumping tens of millions in an individual that chases a ball around or sings some computer-generated song on a stage with autotune, so we’ve got that going for us.

We’re cutting budgets, eliminating music, history, civics, and physical education classes-any parent can tell you that the time that they received the least amount of sass was after they had Little Johnny or Little Suzy help plow the North 40.

The kids today that don’t have the benefit of those classes are not getting the well-rounded education that American kids of the twentieth century received. They are overstimulated and under-exercised, and (!) their attention spans are pretty bloody short.

Why would anyone think we can compete effectively with the rest of the world when we’re lowering standards, cutting budgets, and installing mindless repetitive work (more in the mind of active babysitting than for learning) in our public high schools while other countries are improving their high schools? They seem to understand that an investment (an intelligent investment, just to be clear) will be a required move for a payoff in the future.

Finally, discipline is almost nonexistent today in American high schools.

The administrators have taken away all authority from the teachers to keep their students in line and maintain order in the classroom (something about self-esteem, which seems to be getting confused with self-respect).

The kids run wild without any real consequences-well, not yet, anyway.

They can blatantly disrespect the teachers (my mom watched a kid tear up his French book in class-no one would do anything) and get away with it.

They can make it impossible for the other kids in the class to learn and these trouble makers get away with it.

An interesting observation: if you are trying to catch crabs and you put one into a crab basket, it will escape. And probably come over to pinch you for being a jerk. But if you put one in a basket that is ALREADY full of crabs, it WON’T escape. In fact, every time it does, the other crabs will grab it and try to pull it back into the basket. It’s nice to know that we have so much in common with our animal friends…)

It’s making it so that competent people find teaching to be a less desirable profession to enter. Who would want to become a teacher when they know they will have no power to maintain order in the classroom? And that they are simultaneously on the hook for anything that may happen, while they are getting pay and benefits cut?

Everyone should have the privilege of going to public school, but if a child abuses that privilege in a way so that the other kids in the class aren’t able to learn then the teacher has to be able to remove that distraction from the class. All the other kids need to have the opportunity to learn and be in an environment where the teacher can actually teach.

But, for some reason, we insist on polishing the pebbles while we diligently insist on dulling the diamonds.

Not preparing kids for success will lead to depression, addiction, and a host of other anti-social problems. What do you think it does to the psyche of a young person when they’ve done everything they were told to do so they could have a good life and it still isn’t enough?

Hint: for your answer, open your eyes.

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