About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

America Coming Apart

click on graphic to enlarge
The above graphic shows the 2018 results from the ACT (originally an abbreviation for American College Testing) standardized college-entrance exam, which along with the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), is used for college admissions in the U.S. & Canada.
This year's ACT exam was taken by 1.9 million high school graduates – just over half the graduating class.  Thirty five percent of high school graduates met none of the guidelines that indicates college readiness in the four subjects tested – English, Reading, Math, & Science.
Results were lower in 2018 in all of the aforementioned subjects compared to 2017 – see right side of above graphic.
Math results were @ a 14 year low with only 40% of the 2018 high school graduates taking the exam showing they were capable of passing a first year college algebra class.
The prestigious University of Chicago, where two of the greatest professors I admire taught – Professors Friedman & Knight, is getting around these depressing results by dropping the admission requirement for students to submit either an ACT or SAT test score saying in the most politically correct way possible that dropping the test requirement leveled the playing field for first generation & low income students.
And we see no improvement coming forward from the elementary school ranks.  For instance, the Detroit urban government school system continues to be the worst in the nation with only 5% of fourth graders being proficient in reading & 4% proficient in math.  My question is always how did fourth graders not proficient in reading & math get to the fourth grade?  But we can see how such fourth graders became the high school statistics described above.
Now these sad high school results carry over into later life after high school.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation recently gave a multiple choice test to 1,000 Americans based on the citizenship test administered by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.  Passing the test requires a score of 60% or higher.  Only thirty six percent achieved that score.
Some results of the test:
1.  60% didn't know which countries the U.S. fought in WW II;
2.  37% thought Ben Franklin was famous for inventing the light bulb; 
3.  57% couldn't say how many Justices are on the Supreme Court;
4.  13% could identify 1787 as the year the Constitution was written;
5.  72% were not sure which states were part of the 13 original colonies;
6.  12% thought General Eisenhower led troops in the Civil War; &
7.  2% thought the cause of the cold war was climate change.
People 65 years old & older scored the best, with 74% passing.  Only 19% of people under the age of 45 passed – a cheerless result just like the ACT exam result shown above.
Arthur Levine, President of the Wilson Foundation, reflected on these results before the midterm election saying "With voters heading to the polls next month, an informed & engaged citizenry is essential.  Unfortunately this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America's history & incapable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Test.  It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment.  Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today."
The results of the above two tests are no surprise when you consider the 2018 edition of the annual American Council of Trustees & Alumni (ACTA) report that was released on September 18 entitled What Will They Learn? 
Based on the ACT & Wilson tests it is obvious that students are no longer taught anything constructive about America in elementary & secondary schools & ACTA's initiative that grades the core requirements of over 1,100 colleges & universities across the country confirms that many students don't do any better after going to college – ACTA found that only 17.1% of colleges require students to take a course in U.S. government or history, while just 3.2% require any study of economics.  Many also skip the requirement of English, math, &/or science studies.
For instance, ACTA finds that students can graduate from the prestigious universities of Johns Hopkins & Vassar without ever taking one course in U.S. history, composition, literature, math, science, economics, or foreign language.  Both schools are graded "F" by ACTA, tuition is $52,170 per year @ Johns Hopkins & $55,210 per year @ Vassar, & not surprisingly 87% of the students graduate in 4 years from Johns Hopkins & 85% graduate from Vassar on time.
I have recommended to UMD that they offer a no credit remedial course in civics & U.S. history to make up for what is not taught or learned before college - if for no other reason than not having their graduates be an embarrassment to the university when they are seen or heard in public.  No one thinks it is the secondary school's failure when a college graduate seems poorly educated.
I post the ACTA report every year when it is released to help students, parents, & grandparents get a broad introduction so they have a good starting point to narrow the selection from the over 1,100 schools covered in the report.  ACTA says the What Will They Learn? website will provide unique information on whether colleges make sure their students learn the things they need to know – you can find what they expect their graduates to study outside their majors, how much they are charging, & how many students graduate on time.
In 2018, 23 colleges & universities received an "A" grade & 342 received a "B" – all of these are shown on the website.  Although they are graded by ACTA strictly on curriculum many of the "A"s are inexpensive especially when compared to a school like Harvard that was graded "D".
In 2015 Educational Testing Service (ETS) did an analysis & found that millennials in the U.S. are "relatively weak" in literacy, numeracy, & problem solving compared with those of other countries.  I previously posted that European secondary school students "felt sorry" for how badly American students did on certain exams – the European students were not trying to be mean but it was very hurtful for me to hear.
In a global economy Americans are competing with an academic hindrance compared to people from Europe & especially Asia.  It is an understatement to say we must strengthen academic standards.
Now this does not mean everyone should go to college – especially if colleges are not teaching anything useful regarding how to make a living that allows you to increase the standard of living for yourself & fellow citizens.
To paraphrase Professor Friedman – it does not make any difference where you learn it, the important thing is that you learn it.
Just think how many people had only an eighth grade education 75 to 100 years ago – we all knew many such people when we were growing up & they were smart.  They read newspapers & books.  They could write a letter & they could talk coherently.  And they knew enough math to run a family business.  In short, they were proficient in the three "R"s.
Click on Kentucky Eighth Grade Exam & The Employment Opportunites - Income Gap In America to see what was expected of a student to graduate from the 8th grade in 1912.
In summary, this post shows that far too many Americans are ill-prepared to hold or be offered a good paying job in the global economy in which one fifth of the current jobs did not exist in 1980.  This fact screams for education & proper training – as of September 30 employers had 1,050,000 more job openings than there were people capable of filling them (i.e., 7.01 million job openings – 5.96 million jobless Americans actively looking for work = 1,050,000 unfilled job openings.  Source; Labor Department.)
There are over one million job openings currently in the U.S. that are not filled either because people are not qualified to do the work &/or they don't have the intellect to get the education or training necessary to qualify for the positions.
Two real world examples that underscore the scarcity if not shortage of qualified American workers are: 1) Amazon's decision to split its second headquarters evenly between two cities – NYC & the Crystal City neighborhood in Arlington, VA.  The scarcity of qualified workers prompted Amazon to prefer two locations thereby providing better access to top tech talent.  The original plan was to have just one city chosen to be HQ2 but Amazon did not believe that any one American city had enough technical talent to meet its needs; & 2) Foxconn's challenge to find enough American engineers to work on the $10-billion 22-million square foot liquid-crystal display panel plant being built in southern Wisconsin that will supply Apple with electronic components.  Foxconn is considering transferring engineers from China to Wisconsin because of the engineering personnel shortage in what is a real insourcing shame.
Its obvious that companies like Amazon & Foxconn cannot afford to employ people as woefully informed as the ones described above – like the 20 people from the above Wilson test who thought the cold war was caused by climate change. 
Instead of focusing the youth of America on creating value & wealth the American education system concentrates on the politically correct – worrying about diversity instead of merit, encouraging people to look for reasons to be offended even for the most innocent of comments, awarding blue ribbons & trophies for every elementary school athlete win, lose, or tie, & supporting  sympathetic, tolerant, & self-sacrificing immigration & asylum policies for people who want to kill us or take advantage of every one of the 126 welfare programs identified by the Cato Institute.
Dumbing down the society with a poor education system is the tap-root from which political correctness grows – it starts by producing people who don't know much about their own country or the world & winds up with a society who cannot tell right from wrong or good from evil.  Today political correctness continues to work its way through America eroding our prosperity & standard of living. 
Discerning readers will see how all of the above goes together. 
And this post shows how it is all coming apart for America.


  1. This time I agree with you. Remember teachers that give bad grades, give their school negative grade with parents, who are upset that their children are failing, they will blame the teachers. They will not admit problem with their children who would rather play than study.

  2. Doug
    The stats you present in your analysis are very discouraging but not a surprise. As one who has spent 35 years in Wall Street IT, I have witnessed less and less
    Americans with tech skills. If it were not for H1B visas for legal immigrants, my industry would be significantly weaker.

    Americans need a culture change, starting with parents to encourage their students to learn marketable skills and demand their schools also step it up. We need this to counter the quite deliberate dumbing down of public school students ( there r exceptions though). Parents should demand much better education from public schools and hold their elected local officials accountable. The Elite Left knows that a less educated electorate is easier to control, another scenario we need to reverse
    Thanks for reminding all of us of this harm to our future economy and freedoms.

  3. What a disgrace! Just quizzed one of our students (average). She got stuck mid-way #8 of the 13 colonies, which she had last year. Flunked Eisenhower and the Supreme Court. Am going to quiz some Juniors.

    I think I need to brush up a little myself. What score do the citizen candidates have to get?

    1. Citizen candidates need to answer six out of ten correctly. The national pass rate is 91 percent as of December 2013, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.