14 Facts That Show America's System Of Public Education Deserves An 'F' Grade

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

One thing that almost everyone can agree upon is that our system of public education is broken.  We spend far more money on public education than anyone else in the world, and yet the results are depressing to say the least. 

Considering how much we are putting into education, we should be producing the best students on the entire planet, but it just isn’t happening.  Personally, I attended public schools from kindergarten all the way up through law school, and the quality of education that I received was extremely poor.  Even on the collegiate level, most of the courses were so “dumbed down” that even the family dog could have passed them.  And of course millions of other people all over the country would say the same sorts of things about their own educations.  Many refer to what is happening to our society as “the dumbing down of America”, and if we don’t get things fixed the United States is on course to become a second class nation.

If you believe that I am exaggerating, I would like you to consider the following numbers.  The following are 14 facts that prove that America’s absolutely pathetic system of education deserves an “F” grade…

#1 Somewhere around 50 million students attend public schools in America today.

#2 Education is the most expensive item in 41 different state budgets.

#3 The latest PISA tests show that U.S. students are below average compared to the rest of the industrialized world

One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.

#4 A report from the Educational Testing Service found that American Millennials are way behind Millennials in most other industrialized nations

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

#5 According to one very disturbing study, fewer than half of all high school graduates “are able to proficiently read or complete math problems”.

#6 According to U.S. News & World Report, “inflation-adjusted spending per student in American public schools has increased by 663 percent.”

#7 In 2015, the percentage of students in our public schools coming from low income homes crossed the 50 percent mark.  That was the first time that had happened in at least 50 years.

#8 One study found that a whopping 76 percent of all high school graduates “were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.”

#9 The following are five numbers which show how far the quality of college education has fallen in the United States…

  • -“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”
  • -“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.”
  • -“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”
  • -“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages.”
  • -“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

#10 Just 36 percent of all full-time college students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and just 77 percent of all full-time college students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.

#11 One survey found that nearly 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

#12 Another survey found that 29 percent of all U.S. adults cannot name the Vice-President.

#13 And yet another survey found that only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between the years of 1850 and 1900.

#14 Perhaps worst of all, 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East.

This is what happens when we put federal bureaucrats in charge of education.

All over the country there are calls to abolish the Department of Education.  For example, the following was published on CNBC

The DOE currently employs 5,000 government workers and has an annual budget of $73 billion, yet according to the CATO Institute, it has not affected student outcomes in any demonstrable way over its 40-year history . It has successfully created a system that requires educators to teach reams of “politically-correct” content and focus on scoring well on standardized tests.

 

It has created an atmosphere of testing in our schools, putting intense pressure on teachers and students to “ace the test” rather than mastering the material. This promotes a culture of teaching to the test and score tampering.

Unfortunately, abolishing the Department of Education is not going to be easy, because there is a tremendous amount of money at stake.  And whenever there is a tremendous amount of money at stake, there are going to be very powerful interests that are determined to keep things just the way that they are…

The major stakeholders in K-12 public education are at an impasse. Teachers’ Unions are primarily concerned with self-preservation, maintaining extravagant perks for union administrators and exerting disproportionate political influence. A handful of publishing houses sell us $8 billion worth of warmed- over text books every year. Testing companies collectively spent tens of millions lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014. These politically powerful, entrenched special interests are heavily invested in maintaining the failing status quo.

But even though there is going to be a lot of resistance, I am going to try to abolish the Department of Education anywayI believe that full control over education should be returned to the state and local levels, but that is just the beginning.

Ultimately, we need to rebuild our system of education from the ground up.  Instead of politically-correct indoctrination centers that endlessly pump progressive propaganda into impressionable young minds, we need to transform our public schools into institutions that focus on the essentials.  We need a renewed emphasis on reading, writing, math and the skills that will enable our young people to function successfully once they get out into the real world.

At one time America’s system of education was the best in the world, and we can get there again.  But of course the left is going to fight against the changes that need to be made every step of the way.

Comments

E-Knight chrsn Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:44 Permalink

I tutored a lot for some side money, and part of the problem is they teach stuff that is utterly useless. Super complicated algrebra, mutli-factorials etc - all stuff you NEVER see in real life.

But of course nothing real like balancing a check book, not living in debt.

In reply to by chrsn

RenoCarlino E-Knight Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:50 Permalink

Once upon a time there is some merit teaching super complicated stuff early on before there is is an opportunity to present itself to use such complicated stuff because back in those days job opportunities were plentiful. Even if you learn something as irrelevant like xenobiology whatever the hell you can just apply to NASA or some research lab and easily get hired. Nowadays, not anymore. The way to survive now is to focus on learning things you are immediately going to use i.e learning video editing stuff to make money freelancing online. 

In reply to by E-Knight

Kobe Beef Shemp 4 Victory Thu, 07/06/2017 - 21:18 Permalink

Best in the world, and then the Courts ordered that IQ75 negroes be taught in the same classroom. Needless to say, any curriculum dumb enough for illiterate, innumerate hominids is unsuitable for White children. Until Segregation comes back, every student gets dragged down to the lowest common denominator. And it's "Mo money fo dem programs", for all the parasites sucking off the Edumacation teat.

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

wee-weed up NoDebt Thu, 07/06/2017 - 21:32 Permalink

  Of course, in terms of learning what they really...Need to know to survive in the real world...They get a solid F...But in terms of sly indoctrination to Lib/Socialist values...As planned by the Dim Party since the 1960's...They get an emphatic A+!Little Socialist snowflake robots... exactly as planned.

In reply to by NoDebt

Kobe Beef wee-weed up Thu, 07/06/2017 - 21:55 Permalink

Of course. Ideologically, most of our educators and administers are Frankfurt School Marxists.But practically...a parrot can't read a book, but you can train it to squawk rayyycist at presentation of selected stimuli. Continue rewarding that behavior, that's what it'll do, and that's an education and a six figure salary in affirmative action America.Shit. I think I'll buy a parrot now, train it in the above manner, then sue everybody for violating its civil rights. Could have my own $PLC in a few years.

In reply to by wee-weed up

Memedada Kobe Beef Fri, 07/07/2017 - 06:38 Permalink

“Ideologically” they are “neo-liberalists”. And the paradigm they follow (the one that mistakenly – only in US, wonder why – is conflated with “the Frankfurter School”) is “postmodernism”. The idea that we all create our own identities independent on others - on a market place of identities. And the idea that “all Grand Narratives” are dead – especially religions and ideologies (including socialism). It is the idea that we’re at the end of history – that our current model of society (everything privately owned by a minority = capitalism and all economic activity organized around the profit-generating entities of the ownership class) is the only feasible one. The task of education is – in this optic – not to create critical thinking citizens but “happy” consumers and competent workers (as Carlin said: “Just smart enough to operate the machines, but dumb enough to not realize how hard they’re being fucked by the system on a daily basis…”). But please enlighten me: what tenets/central arguments do you see represent the Frankfurter School in the US educational system today? I personally only see a corporate controlled propaganda system that depends on the US-educational system keeping people ignorant (and without a language = the reason why I almost never share definition of central terms with US-based people). 

In reply to by Kobe Beef

Memedada Creepy_Azz_Crackaah (not verified) Fri, 07/07/2017 - 06:28 Permalink

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Tabel - Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0cm;
mso-para-margin-right:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0cm;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}
Accumulated wealth and power in private hands (the 0,01%) --> Governments --> indoctrination/education-system. The US government have for a long time been servant of the capitalists. The result of their program of indoctrination (not new, as old as  the FED minimum) is what we see on ZH: a population without a meaningful language. All terms have been emptied of meaning and replaced by corporate invented slogans, half-truths, oxymorons and (surprisingly often) its antonym (like hyper-capitalism – all capital and everything else, including the state itself, is in private hands – is termed socialism).

In reply to by Creepy_Azz_Crackaah (not verified)

Memedada UmbilicalMosqu… Fri, 07/07/2017 - 05:51 Permalink

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Tabel - Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0cm;
mso-para-margin-right:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0cm;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}
Symptoms of cognitive dissonance: emotional outburst, ad hominem attacks and irrational/illogical/non-existing arguments.

In reply to by UmbilicalMosqu…

roddy6667 Memedada Fri, 07/07/2017 - 08:29 Permalink

A pet peeve of mine is all the ZH'ers who use the terms Commie and Communist in a kneejerk fashion. I doubt if one of them can define Communist. If they could, I wonder where they could find one in today's world? I live in China. Even the Party members are not Communists. Maybe a few really old holdovers from the Mao era, but nobody under 70.

In reply to by Memedada

Aubiekong E-Knight Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:54 Permalink

Those useless skills may not be directly applicable to "real life" but it challenges the students to think, learn, and be able to solve problems.  But that is no longer what our education system is for.  Today our education system is for baby sitting.  I do agree that basic life skills should be taught since they are not taught at home anymore..

In reply to by E-Knight

land_of_the_few darkstar7646 Fri, 07/07/2017 - 02:52 Permalink

There's not a problem per se with the education system, private or public, both are suffering under a cultural problem.All the schoolkids, or let's be offensively accurate and call them as they actually are, *pupils*, now imagine they are "customers", so they think rhey can get high pass marks becsuse they "paid the money", regardless if they studied or not. I.e. the person handing out the gold stars is their personal coolie.And woe betide the coolie if they dare to give a bad mark to a bad pupil who is of course their Massa. Even worse in private schools, the parents turn up in expensive cars and try bullying the teachers. The "don't you know who I am" scenario.Education begins at home, gentlemen (and ladies). Have some discipline at home about learning, and half the problems vanish.

In reply to by darkstar7646

not dead yet Aubiekong Fri, 07/07/2017 - 00:31 Permalink

Bullshit on your first sentence. That's the excuse the liberal arts people in charge of the current education use to justify the liberal arts bullshit they push instead of giving kids real problems to solve. I read of one supposedly highly regarded school where they would spend weeks tearing apart and analyizing some stupid novel instead of skipping the fiction and get to real problems to solve. Maybe the kids aren't paying attention because your giving them crap they can't relate to instead of giving them real problems, and a real education, to solve. You can have them read and discuss the classics till the cows come home but it only teaches you how analyize a book or an intellectual arguement not how to build a house or troubleshoot a problem with the car. One teacher realized this so instead of shoving kids into the higher reaches of math which they either will never use or can't grasp the subject he gave a course of practical math that related to everyday stuff which they will use for the rest of their life. An intelligent use of resources instead of wasting them. In the comment section there were people calling it dumbing down and one idiot saying that even if the kid wasn't smart enough to grasp the concept he should be taught over and over until he did. Waste of resources. The husband of the lady who wrote the article was a mathemetician and his comment was that if all kids weren't being taught the upper reaches of math "how could they figure the value of a derivative." Right, all of us are using our spare time to figure out how to price Wall Street derivatives. Talk about out of touch with reality. Which brings us to the real point. Other than the 3 R's we don't have a clue what a real education is. They printed some questions that were on the national history test and most were bullshit. One question was "what song was sung by such and such group in the early 1800's?" That's not relevent history unless you're preparing to be a contestant on a game show. A lot of what is taught is great for playing trivial pursuit but not much else.The current system is a one size fits all where everyone is being prepared for a liberal arts college education. Many parents steeped in the arts, and have the pull, agree with this approach and will shout down and belittle anyone who disagrees. Some nice videos on this. Nice that Johnny, if you haven't bored him to sleep in the classroom, can quote Dickens or Shakespeare but what good is it that upon graduation he has absolutely no skills for a job. Almost all the technical high schools are gone and when it's suggested to bring them back educators, even your kids teacher, call them schools for dummies. Instead we force the kids who want to learn a trade to go to tech school, after wasting their last two years of high school learning bullshit, to get the training that in years past they got in a tech high school and were job ready at high school graduation. Until such time as outsiders who live in the real world make the decisions on what gets taught it will be the same old stuff. For those who don't know education is one big hunk of incest. You can't teach or be in any kind of adminstative position if you don't possess an education degree. Recently a couple of universities hired outsiders without education degrees to head their institutions and the howls from the education industry could be heard around the world. How can they know how to educate if they don't have an education degree was their battle cry. What a joke considering the educators don't know how to educate.In the local paper they are advertising for teachers for 2,3, and 4 year old pre school. We even have half day kindergarten for 4 year olds and full day for 5. We have lengthened the school day, the school year, and give out at least 2 hours of homework every day. Some kindergartens even give out homework. Yet the end results suck. They can't figure out that forcing kids to spend 10 hours a day sitting doing schoolwork, and some weekends too, turns them off to school. Studies have shown that the advantage given to kids in the pre schools compared to those who don't go is gone after a few years but the early starters are prone to emotional and other problems. Food gets blamed for getting kids fat yet we ignore the time the kids spend sitting doing schoolwork. Recess and gym classes are either cut or eliminated. In one full time kindergarten the kids complained how tired they were from sitting and that their recess was the last 15 minutes before they went home. Kids asthma is on the rise and how much is due to sitting in classrooms from age 2 on. There is a confirmed epidemic of kids needed glasses because they spend too much time doing close up work and their eyes never get to fully develop. We used to think the smart kids had weak eyes but it was due to their never taking their noses out of their books and getting outside to play. We recognize the crappy results of the current system but never look at the cost to the kids physical and mental health.  

In reply to by Aubiekong

zhandax not dead yet Fri, 07/07/2017 - 01:32 Permalink

The best I remember, the derivative they trip you up with in college (the gobbledygook to the right of something that looks like a strangulated musical ligature) is change in the rate of change (and that after taking it three times), not something useful like option or CDS pricing. A complete waste. Possibly useful if I wanted to re-reprogram the fuel/power calculations in the computer in my car. If I just want to re-map that computer, the calculations are already available online by the dozen people who enjoy this shit (apparently they are looking for validation that this knowledge was not a total waste of time). And they bundle it up like a BLS black box (if you want this outcome, manipulate these inputs). Maybe there is a larger lesson here?

To support your post, the DOE idiots have lost any tenuous connection to reality they ever had.

In reply to by not dead yet

LetThemEatRand E-Knight Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:59 Permalink

"part of the problem is they teach stuff that is utterly useless. Super complicated algrebra, mutli-factorials etc - all stuff you NEVER see in real life."Let me guess that you didn't tutor in rocket science.The obvious answer is that not all people have the same aptitudes.  Teach the future rocket scientists how to build a rocket, and teach the future crack whores how to balance a checking account and fix a car so they have a chance of not being a crack whore.  Teach no student that they are exceptional and should get a merit badge for showing up.

In reply to by E-Knight

keep the basta… chrsn Thu, 07/06/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

1. dumbed down spelling so all could be equal; an early US policy.2. baby talk: eg mathematics becomes 'math'.  anyway (any way) becomes 'anyways" which is redundant. use of 'already' at the end of sentences..'do it already"3. spellcheck: dumbed down, alters my spelling to  incorrect4. bill gates wordcheck/spellcheck : rejects intelligent ie unfamiliar words  5. internationally: lack of awareness of public space eg.  shouting into phones, shouting  in conversations, shouting to the other end of the 14 person table in a restaurent and laughing with mouth open to the maximum. clapping and singing along as part of an audience during a public concert by a skilled performers  of another cultures heritage material and dance..(saw that in Dublin, then the groups leader pushed his way onto the stage and conducted the white americans in the audience in singing black slave songs.)ie its baked in  your cake

In reply to by chrsn

croecko chrsn Thu, 07/06/2017 - 22:33 Permalink

Accountability? 5 years ago I wrote an economics textbook/workbook for Canadian high school students, based on the book I wrote for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program economics course a year or so previously. Ontario's process for getting textbooks approved looked reasonable. I printed 4000 copies of the textbook and 200 copies of the teachers' guide. I then submitted the work for approval, along with the $4000 evaluation fee. A few weeks later I get my answer - not approved due to issues of bias and sensitivity. Needless to say, the supposedly biased and insensitive content was nothing of the kind (to see the flagged items, please go to http://croecko.com/blog/errors-and-corrections/) However, the rest of the report was entirely positive. So, I phoned the reviewing agency to ask if I could use the review in my marketing. I promised to use the report in its entirety and not cherry-pick just the good bits. The response flabbergasted me - I was told not to use the report as it was a 'confidential ministry document.'  I immediately pointed out that this made the review process entirely unaccountable - the agency that did the review on behalf of the ministry can make any decision it wants without any consequences. However, later that year when talking to other publishers I learned that I was lucky to have even received my report. The standard operating procedure, apparently, is for the books to be approved or not approved without explanation. Oh, and this was gold - when I asked the ministry representative how to avoid charges of bias, her advice was to avoid adjectives. No wonder school textbooks are so boring. The silver lining to all this is that most teachers don't pay any attention to the approved textbook list, and most publishers have given up on negotiating the approval process.

In reply to by chrsn

pparalegal Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:48 Permalink

Ask them about the Kardashians, the latest comic book movie, global warming or transgender bathrooms and you will get an earful. Add & subtract a checkbook ledger? What for? Hey! Are you diss'n me?

buzzardsluck Thu, 07/06/2017 - 20:49 Permalink

#14 Perhaps worst of all, 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East. This is bad since you can't eliminate what you can't find.  Fuck off synder with your lists in general.