The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) recently released a report card on the state of education within the education. NAEP assesses “what America’s students know” and what they “can do in various subject areas.” In other words, they know where true education is taking place and where it is not.
The 2017 report card tells us that approximately one-third (37%) of high school seniors are proficient in reading and approximately one-quarter (25%) are proficient in math. The figures are worse for black students, who tested 17% proficient in reading and 7% in math.
The above information is “only a fraction of the bad news.” The worse news is that our high schools are giving high school diplomas to students who do not know what they need to know.
The atrocious National Assessment of Educational Progress performance is only a fraction of the bad news. Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent. That means high school diplomas, which attest that thee students can red and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math.
For blacks, the news is worse. Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level. However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level.
Williams calls it fraud for high schools to graduate students who do not have the education that the diploma testifies they do. He says that the diploma is basically a certificate of attendance. He then says that this is not the worst part of the educational fraud.
Fraudulent high school diplomas aren’t the worst part of the fraud. Some of the greatest fraud occurs at the higher education levels – colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college.
Here are my questions to you: If only 37 percent of white high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 70 percent of them? And if roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 58 percent of them?
It’s inconceivable that college administrators are unaware that they are admitting students who are ill-prepared and cannot perform at the college level. Colleges cope with ill-prepared students in several ways. They provide remedial courses. One study suggests that more than two-thirds of community college students take at least one remedial course, as do 40 percent of four-year college students. College professors dumb down their courses so that ill-prepared students can get passing grades.
Colleges also set up majors with little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits. Such majors often include the term “studies,” such as ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and American studies. The major for the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.
The bottom line is that colleges are admitting youngsters who have not mastered what used to be considered a ninth-grade level of proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Very often, when they graduate from college, they still can’t master even a 12th-grade level of academic proficiency.
The figures quoted by Williams are appalling! How can an employer hire anyone when they know that two-thirds of white high school graduates are not proficient in reading or math and even fewer black students? Is it any wonder that one in three college graduates find employment as janitors, parking lot attendants, bartenders, or taxi drivers? To me this is not the saddest part of the fraud.
The worst part of this educational fraud, at least in my mind, is that the least prepared students are those that go into education. Williams says that “education majors place 26th on a list of 38” when “SAT scores are ranked by intended major.” This is sad! We need the best and the brightest of students to be teaching the rising generation!
Where did the dreams for the rising generation go? When did our nation forget the reason why education systems were created in the first place? Could this be the reason why more and more children and youth are being taught by their parents in their homes?
The following statement by John Adams to his wife tells us how he felt about lifelong learning. It also explains why we must do something about the fraud in our education system in order to help the rising generation to become better prepared to take their places in the world.
It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives. (Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 29 October 1775)
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