The dumbing down of American schools has caused real harm to students.


Walter E. Williams is examining this from a different point of view and put this into the category of liberal good intentions of giving black students special consideration is causing them harm. Dr. Williams details the troubles of a young black man who was mislead into believing that his high school education had prepared him to begin higher education.

The young man and his parents were sure of his preparedness. After all, he had good high school grades, but those grades only meant that he was well behaved. The college recruiters probably knew this youngster didn’t have the academic preparation for an electrical engineering curriculum. They were more concerned with racial diversity.

This young man’s background is far from unique. Public schools give most black students fraudulent diplomas that certify a 12th-grade achievement level. ….

And while he points out a truth, that it seems to be affecting black students in higher proportion than white students, there is another truth as well…. many students of all racial groups who have high school diplomas don’t have the minimum level of education that is expected to start a college degree program. In Dr. Williams’ terms they were issued fraudulent diplomas.

The standards we apply to ALL students seem to have deteriorated. I’ve become a bit more conscious of the problems of late since I’m running to sit on the board of a local community college, but it’s something that I think we’ve all known for quite some time. We aren’t doing a very good job of teaching our children in primary and secondary schools. Oh, some schools (usually private schools) produce very good results. And other schools (like my city’s high school) have honors or AP programs that produce top notch students…. along with a large crop of fraudulent diplomas. But by and large too many students entering college have to take remedial math and English classes before they can start the beginning college level classes. In some cases, the student must pass 2, 3 or more remedial level math classes before even considering taking the minimum levels of math required in a degree program. My college is having to finish the job that the public schools didn’t do.

But more importantly, those students who enrolled in a program thinking it would take them 2 years of full time study to get a degree have stretched the time required to 3 or more years, just because they have to take these extra classes to get up to speed. To add to the time, is the extra costs associated with taking extra classes. It also causes many students to become discouraged with the whole process and just give up. And this is all a severe waste of our society’s resources.

So what can we do about it? There’s an old saying “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats forever.” It’s education that allows people to get out of the cycle of government handouts so we must do the job that should have been done when they were younger. For people who have already graduated high school, I am going to continue to support getting students started on a college track, even if they must work hard and long to get up to college entry levels. But we must raise the standards for getting a high school diploma. Right now, it means little more than the student managed to show up at school for 4 years. We need to have a diploma actually means that the student has achieved a minimum level of competency.

We need to at least get students to the level of school house rock, a pretty low goal that we’re not achieving for all graduates.

Hat tip arunawayslave

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 11, 2011 3:04 pm

The No Child Left Behind program needs to go. Affirmative Action needs to go.

The break up of the Teacher’s unions we are currently seeing played out will also go a long way. I saw signs from the protesting teachers in WI with the most minor words spelled wrong. If they can’t even spell correctly, they are probably lacking in other areas as well, yet they are responsible for teaching our children.

March 13, 2011 10:28 am

This was a pleasure to read, and I could not agree more, Brian. Sadly, our Department of Justice is an enabler of these low standards when it threatens to sue police and fire departments because their minority pass rates are not high enough. We had two cities in our area whose police departments lowered the math standards because not enough minorities could pass. The media reported it as 8th grade level math. I saw a lot of the questions – they were well below 8th grade level. So now more minorities are gaining entrance to the departments; however, as one… Read more »