Thrawn Rickle 11

The Sorry State of Education in the U.S.

© 1990 Williscroft

It is a fact that American young people compare very poorly with youths from other developed nations in their reading and writing skills, in their mathematical ability, in their knowledge of geography...actually, in just about everything, except producing babies out of wedlock, a subject in which they seem to excel.

Nobody really denies the problem, although it frequently is stated in ways that lend support to specific points of view. Depending on whom you ask, the blame for this unfortunate situation is attributed to almost every element of our society. The teachers, the parents, the unions, the government, the religious right, the secular humanists, the gays, the Communists...it goes on and on.

Consider this. From the turn of the century and before, right up to the Kennedy administration, a talented, educated, motivated woman really had only two satisfying career options. She could become a Registered Nurse or she could become a school teacher. Of course, there were exceptions. Nevertheless, each member of our society who attended school before 1960 can recall several of these wonderful, dedicated human beings. These ladies indelibly imprinted hundreds and even thousands of young lives during their careers.

Our society has changed dramatically during the last thirty years. A career oriented woman who might have become an influential teacher in the forties and fifties probably is a high-powered corporate executive today. Thirty years ago some of the best female minds in our society were school teachers. Today, very few women of this caliber choose to teachóand rightly so. The hours are long, the pay is poor, and job satisfaction almost nonexistent. Free individuals in a free society must be able to choose what is best for them.

Remove the top twenty percent of any group, however, and you significantly lower its average ability. Combine this with ineffective parental supervision, single parent environments, rampant drug use, and an apparent mind set that emphasizes mediocrity over excellence, and you get young adults who canít compete on the world stage. Is it any wonder that around this planet America is falling behind competitively, in quality production, in research, in engineering? When we start with mediocrity, how can we expect more than mediocre results?

Donít blame the female corporate manager. Would you turn down a $150 thousand corporate job to teach second grade for $20 thousand? See what I mean?