The U.S. (un)educational system has become increasingly secular in recent decades. Many Christian education experts warned of this but were largely ignored while our schools continued to deteriorate. Sadly, we are reaping what we sowed, having condemned children to our dysfunctional educational system. While Christian criticism is rejected, mainstream analysis documents this dysfunction. A January 2015 report, AMERICA’S SKILLS CHALLENGE: Millennials and the Future, by Educational Testing Service (ETS) (see: https://www.ets.org/s/research/29836/), delivers shocking proof of the inadequate education students receive at all levels. ETS is a non-profit organization that tests over 50 million students worldwide, including the GRE graduate school entrance exam in America.
This educational deterioration has been ongoing for decades. The ETS report states: “In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education...declared that the state of America’s education made it ‘a nation at risk.’...’[T]he educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.’” Furthermore, adult scores have declined in literacy since 1994 and in numeracy since 2003.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research, by their Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), was “a household study of nationally representative samples of adults age 16 to 65.” It wasn’t mandatory group testing which might distort results. The analysis focuses on “millennials” because they “are a cohort of the population born after 1980 who...comprised 26.2%...of the estimated U.S. population...and 35% of the...labor force in 2012-14...This generation of American workers and citizens will largely determine the shape of the American economic and social landscape of the future.”
Fifteen countries scored higher in literacy than American millennials; only Spain and Italy scored lower. They were last in numeracy along with Spain and Italy. The report says this “is likely to test our international competitiveness over the coming decades. If our future rests in part on the skills of this cohort—as...the workforce, parents, educators, and our political bedrock—then that future looks bleak...[T]he disparity in skills and the increasingly large percentage of the adult population without adequate skills contributes to a continued cycle of income inequality that may, in turn, diminish growth.”
This poor education extends into our colleges and universities. Millennial college graduates outscored only Poland and Spain. Those with a graduate degree outscored only Ireland, Poland, and Spain. These students “demonstrate skill levels below...all but a few of the participating countries...Even though our younger population is among the most educated, our average scale score ranking is similar to that of other countries with relatively large percentages of their population with less than a high school credential.”
The following quotes prove our educational system is a bad investment:
“Our educational institutions...need to do a better job imparting skills.”
“[R]esearchers have found that many for-profit two- and four-year colleges do not yield impressive returns to investments in education.”
“[America] spends more per student on primary through tertiary education than any other OECD nation [but] systematically scores low on domestic and international assessments of skills.”
“We also should carefully examine what kinds of post-secondary education and training are leading to increased skills, and which are not—especially...in the U.S., where this education is largely privately funded and so many young adults are putting themselves at risk financially to obtain it.”
The report hopelessly concludes that “there has been an absolute decline of skills. A decade ago, the skill level of American adults was judged ‘mediocre.’ Now it is below even that. Millennials, who will form the backbone of this nation’s future, are not poised to lift us out of this predicament; in fact, the lack of adequate skills in this population has become a challenge for us to confront... Throughout much of the 20th century, in fact, the U.S. led industrialized nations in the educational attainment levels of its citizens. This is no longer the case.”
This begs several questions: 1) can President Trump restore America’s economy with such poorly-educated, unskilled workers? 2) If successful, can millennials maintain it when they take over? 3) Or has our republic stalled like an airplane rapidly losing altitude? The ETS report shares this concern, stating: “The skills of our millennials—our youngest cohort, who will be the workers, the decision-makers, and the parents of the next 40 years—will also have cascading effects on every level of society. A very real danger lies in perpetuating a cycle where low skill levels, less income, and less access to quality education will beget a further entrenchment of deep inequality, with some segments of society more at risk than others. This is the very opposite of what a meritocratic society purports to offer.”
This educational negligence is like throwing an interception: you don’t score, but if the other team does your loss is doubled. Likewise, our negligence causes disastrous social impacts while forfeiting the tremendous benefits of proper education.
But the following example provides hope. A December 2016 study, The Economic Benefit of School Choice in Milwaukee by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty documents the economic benefits of educational alternatives. Comparing the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) and Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system showed that MPCP had a higher graduation rate, and fewer misdemeanor and felony convictions. By 2035, MPCP students will earn $473 million more than MPS students, since graduates earn more. And fewer crimes means MPCP students will generate $26 million more in economic benefits. This illustrates the huge benefits when children are rescued from the damaging existing school system.
The ETS report documents that time is short. The following comparison highlights the fatal damage our educational system causes: the communist Soviet Union collapsed primarily because of the inefficient government control of property and distribution, not from its educational system, which produced good workers, scientists, etc. for State benefit. Capitalist America will also collapse, but in contrast from dysfunctional schools producing uneducated graduates.
This system has abandoned God and country, increased indoctrination and decreased real education. The ultimate result is the enslavement of the uneducated, unemployed masses, who were never taught useful skills nor their political and cultural inheritance. Unaware of our constitutional principles and unable to fight economically, they will be condemned to inescapable poverty.
Our (un)educational system has devolved into a bloated dinosaur consuming money and students. It produced a better education decades ago with less funding, but now “reform” is impossible. Paradoxically, a nation enamored with competitive sports now fears competition in both public and private sectors. Our unique constitutional system gives us fifty competitive laboratories. How did America succeed for two centuries without the Department of Education? Return education control to the states to find their own solutions, and the most successful states will produce the brightest graduates, greatest wealth and highest standard of living. Then others can copy the best solutions. The (un)educational dinosaur won’t survive the competition and will become extinct; if not, then America certainly will. God has given us a reprieve in President Trump’s election and there’s no time to waste. Parents must immediately be provided with economical choices to best educate their children, protect their future and restore America.