Our Dysfunctional Education Systems Affect Economic JusticeDecember 1st, 2012 | Posted by in Economic Justice
Your Education is worth what you are worth.
Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.
Whatever happened to our school systems since the first school was built April 23, 1635, in Boston, Massachusetts, has adversely affected our communities, our economy, and our nation. Yet we rave about American exceptionalism. We have a relatively uneducated citizenry: evinced by only 27.2% of Americans have a bachelor’s degree, per the U. S. Census Bureau; only 8.9% have Master’s degree; and only 3% have earned a doctorate. Now what do these statistics portend for this “great democracy”? What does it mean?
It means 14%, or 43 million Americans cannot read these words—that’s 43,000,000. Not only do they not know what they don’t know, they do not know THAT they don’t know; meaning, they think being illiterate is normal. Add that to the 93,000,000 (that million) functionally illiterate adults: they cannot read and understand material between the 5th and 8th grades. It also means that we have three million jobs that we cannot fill—3,000,000 unfilled jobs: no qualified applicants. So, the ones who have a college degree don’t have the necessary skills employers are seeking. It also means that most of the college graduates are unable to write a grammatically correct sentence; they don’t know the difference between a colon and a semicolon. Not only that but half the nation is innumerate; meaning half of our citizens cannot do simple fractions, are unable to add two- or three-column numbers, cannot “add and carry,” and cannot balance a checkbook.
And when it comes to high school, we have 12th graders who cannot do 5th grade work. How do we explain that? How are students allowed to advance to the 12th grade and not be able to do 5th grade work? Consequently, the Department of Education’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel, found that:
• 78% of adults could not explain how to compute the interest paid on a loan.
• 71% couldn’t calculate miles per gallon on a trip.
• 58% were unable to calculate a 10% tip for a lunch bill.
What are we doing to our students, ourselves, our nation? And how do we compare internationally? Well now, a report from Harvard University’s Program of Education (2012) found that American students ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading. Should we take our country back to 1635, when the first school was built? Since our mantra is, “Let’s take our country back.” To where?
Finally, our dysfunctional education systems need educational leadership; we need national leadership; we need community leadership; and we need family leadership. Our biggest deficit is leadership. Ergo, until we “fix” our leadership situation, our economy will suffer. When our economy suffers, our citizens suffer. That means economic justice is relatively dead.
What are your thoughts?