The True Value of Twelve Years of Free Public Education: A Fortune Geatly Devalued

As it currently stands in the second decade of the 21st Century, most of the adolescent and preadolescent boys and girls attending public schools in the United States sadly don’t grasp the meaningful value of the 12 years of free education offered to them. The most comfortable and technically modern classrooms and laboratories are, in most cases, provided by approximately 99,000 public schools in approximately 16,000 school districts across the country for the physical bodies of these, approximately, 50 million elementary, middle, and high school students. The reason I’ve said bodies, and not minds, is that around 70 percent of those millions of students don’t particularly find going to school, free of charge, mentally stimulating and educationally rewarding. These physically healthy school-age children attend school primarily because it is required by law, and when they do come to school, they park their bodies in the comfortable classroom desks, leaving their minds somewhere else, but not at school.

It’s quite thought-provoking to realize that the greater percentage of all the 18 year-old adolescents in the USA, who graduated from American high schools in 2012, actually graduated on a cumulative 10th grade-level. That’s right. From the first-grade to the twelfth-grade, American students are given the freedom to learn as much, or as little, as they have the desire to do; but as the old expression goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” For the last 40 years most high school seniors in the U.S. have been graduating on a 10th grade-level, some on a 9th grade-level. Strangely un curso de milagros though, from 1920 until around 1969, the exact opposite occurred. For those students who attended public schools during those years, 80 percent of all elementary, junior high, and high school students did well academically, and most of them finished 12 years of education and graduated on a 12th grade-level. The dismal decline in learning that started around 1970 was evidenced by the fact that most high school graduates began needing remediation in the basic learning skills (reading, writing, and mathematics). This disturbing trend has rampantly continued to the present day, as approximately 68 percent of the total number of American high school graduates, in 2012, had to remediate the basic academic skills (reading, writing, and basic finite math), which they should have learned during the elementary and middle school years, if they wanted to qualify academically for admission at a major university. Sadly, only a staggering 32 percent of all graduating high school seniors, in 2012, qualified, at the time of graduation, to attend four-year universities.

These dismal figures are understandable only when they are viewed objectively in relationship with the concomitant variables of public education, which I have discussed in great detail in previous essays. These dependent variables are those directly, and primarily, associated with the types of parenting received by the millions of school-age children from their mothers, fathers, and alternate care-givers while at home during the years prior to 1970. In a nutshell, there has never been any reliable substitution in the public schools for the absence of nurturing, loving, caring parents, who send their children to the public schools ready and eager to learn.

From 1920 until around 1969, more parents saw the benefit of active involvement in their children’s public education than after 1969. Moreover, with the increased learning experienced by those pre-1970 public school students during their twelve years of formal education, fewer high school graduates went to college, during those years, than they did to trade schools, vocational schools, into apprenticeship programs, or into the military. At that time, many more high school seniors un curso de milagros en español were graduating with thorough understanding of the basic rudiments of learning, and saw the pecuniary long-term benefit of becoming skilled carpenters, electricians, plumbers, masons, welders, machinists, and the other professions requiring hands-on training and an understanding of mathematics, mensuration, and science, than those students who came after them. That was a time when more technicians, than engineers, were needed in industry and science. It was a time when high school graduates used their 12th grade-level reading and writing skills to continue learning what they had to learn to advance in their respective fields of endeavor. Comparing then with now, the sore lack of proper parenting in American homes and families, from 1970-on, has produced millions of children totally unprepared to enter the first-grade to properly begin learning academically. If children don’t learn the skills they need to know and use in the first-grade, they will enter the second-grade not progressing in knowledge and skill, but needing to remediate what they didn’t learn in the first-grade. By the time, the unskilled student is improperly promoted to the sixth-grade, she will be working on a 3rd or 4th grade-level. By the time the same student is socially promoted to the 10th grade, she will require extensive remediation, at a greatly increased cost to the public, to properly prepare her to perform high school-level work, to read to learn the things that she does not know.

Now there is a disturbing notion among public school students, which has become more of a mindset, that, if you don’t learn what you need to learn in high school, you can learn it in college. Today when you ask the average high school junior (an eleventh-grader) what he, or she, wants to do after high school, that 17 year-old will invariably reply, “I’m going to college.” This is an especially troubling response coming from students who have managed to only maintain (C-) averages throughout eleven years of public education, who have spent more time not doing homework, than doing homework, not studying, than studying, and not applying themselves to the task of learning. At the present time, thousands of young people who have joined the U.S. military, after performing dismally in high school, are given military training on a 9th -to-10th grade-level, and then encouraged to take, supposedly, college-level courses online, while getting college-credit for their middle school-level military training. Do you see something very wrong occurring here? Unless an aspiring student has prepared in public school to obtain higher (than secondary) education at a college or university, in a particular academic discipline (such as engineering, mathematics, physics, English, a foreign language, or social science), the true purpose of the university is ultimately wasted on such an unprepared person. Students who cannot proficiently perform genuine 12th grade high school-level work will not be capable of performing genuine college-level work, unless the work, they presume is college-level, has been substantially watered-down.

Today it seems that everyone graduating from a high school is going to college, and this highly-disordered trend is producing some very troubling educational illusions that falsely proclaim that people who do poorly in high school can take online college courses, pass open-book examinations that are not proctored, and, after a period of time, receive a piece of paper declaring the person a college graduate. There are also some disturbing financial issues directly connected to the foregoing facts that defy logic. If an 18 year-old cannot perform college-level work after completing twelve years of public schooling, what is a university saying when it confers on that person an online college degree, in an academic discipline, four years later? If a student cannot achieve, at least, a (B) grade in an academic course in a traditional college classroom, how, in the name of sophistry, can that same person derive a true equivalent grade of (B) in an online academic course where the academic requirements are seriously diluted, and there is no personal interaction with students or instructor? Why, pray tell, can’t an American attend law school online and then be permitted to sit for a state bar examination? Why won’t accredited medical schools accept online premed degrees from students seeking entrance? Why aren’t there any online ABA-approved law schools, and accredited medical schools? The answers to the three foregoing questions are pretty self-evident. Would you want a lawyer representing you, or a doctor treating you, who got a professional degree online? But who knows? If the future of American education digresses as much in the next 20 years as it has in the past 50 years, pre-law and pre-med students sorely lacking in rudimentary skills may, in 2033, be permitted to obtain watered-down professional law (J.D.) and medical (M.D.) degrees online. God forbid!

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