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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

American Workers Are Dumbest In Industrialized World

By Carole Hornsby Haynes October 16, 2019

Once America had the world’s best educated workforce. Today the average American high school graduates are two-and-a-half years behind those in top-performing countries. The curriculum of our colleges is at the level of high schools in top-performing countries.

The U.S. has “gone from being the world’s best educated workforce to the least well educated in the industrial world: an existential crisis,” according to a recent National Center On Education and the Economy (NCEE) policy brief, co-authored by Marc Tucker.

Having the lowest level of basic skills of any nation in the industrial world means that American millennial workers can’t compete in the global market.

Public education is now workforce training

NCCE President Emeritus Marc Tucker seemed quite surprised at the results of their study. Yet he must share the blame for the despicable education of American students and its consequences for our economy - both short and long term. It was Tucker who wrote the infamous “Dear Hillary” letter in which he laid out the German-based master plan to centralize education and change it from academic learning to workforce training for a nationally planned and managed economy.

Academics are watered down with class time reduced for academic subjects to allow time for field trips, encounter groups to discuss feelings, and sessions with counselors about workforce choices. Individual achievement is replaced by cooperative learning, group grading, peer tutoring, block scheduling, job shadowing, mentoring, job site visits, and horizontal enrichment.

Road to Mediocrity

Since the 1930s there has been a gradual dumbing down of the U.S. public school curriculum with undemanding, non-academic courses and the lowering of standards for academic courses required for graduation. In a culture of low expectations, high schools have been “selling students short” for decades, offering too many options and too many watered down courses.

In the 1960s and 1970s, many one-semester courses, designed to be highly relevant but varying in rigor and content, were offered. Students were given academic credit for various aspects of the extracurriculum, including working on the school newspaper or yearbook. Watered down courses such as Shop Math and Consumer Math earned credits toward graduation.

Under federal legislation of the Clinton administration following Tucker’s plan, students are required to choose a career track among a broad array of watered down courses by the end of the 8th grade and then lock into a specific trade or college path by the end of the 10th grade.

The NCEE policy brief states that, since the 1970s, the United States has tried one failed education reform after another, including spending more than twice as much per student (after accounting for inflation) as we did then. This long string of reforms has brought vast wealth to ed tech companies and created high paying jobs for a bloated education administration. And we must not forget those public officials who also profit from reform schemes.

Even with the billions spent for reform, high school student performance whether measured by PISA or NAEP remains stagnant.

In 1983 the Reagan administration’s manifesto, “A Nation at Risk,” jolted public awareness about the education crisis. Then followed federal legislation that gave us Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all of which were supposed to “reform” our decaying education system. Yet the quality of public schools has worsen significantly as radical left ideology takes precedence over education.

With social justice issues and trendy courses consuming so much class time, there is little time for academic learning. Often the content is developmentally inappropriate and long since failed liberal methodology is used. The unconstitutional federal ESSA, which codified Common Core, has shifted the primary purpose of education to social and emotional learning with academic learning pushed down to second place.

Consequences for American economy

Tucker will never believe that his grandiose scheme has been a major factor in the deplorable state of American education. His public reaction to the results of the NCEE study show that he is convinced – as liberal reformers are wont to do – the plan is working but needs some tweaking.

Students are not being broadly and deeply educated to be adaptable to the ongoing rapidly changing job market. Instead, American education, from primary through college, is focused on teaching skills that will mostly be automated in the future.

The U.S.’s ability to compete successfully in a 21st century global market of automation depends upon preparing students not only for the lower skill levels of new jobs, but for even greater numbers of high skill jobs.

To successfully prepare students for flexibility in a rapidly changing market place, we must return to the basics of academic learning without the radical left indoctrination.

Getting big business and reformers, who are fleecing billions from taxpayers with their schemes, out of our schools must be a high priority as well.

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