Tuesday, April 5, 2016

California: Free Diplomas for Dropouts





By Professor Doom

     I focus on higher education, but it’s a simple fact that what goes on in the public (more accurately, government) schools before college has a major influence in what happens in college.

      There are many reasons 90% of the coursework in community colleges isn’t college work, is generally 9th grade or lower material, but the sad fact is: if high school graduates really learned 9th grade material, we wouldn’t be teaching (nearly so much)  9th grade work in “higher” education. Most students in higher education are high school graduates, after all.

     The government schools have been failing, and failing extravagantly, since their inception, not simply by failing to teach the things that used to be commonly known, but by graduating even the students that fail to learn under the ever reducing standards. Depending on what one means by “illiterate,” a large percentage, likely more than half, the students moving on to community college are illiterate…and these illiterates are all high school graduates.

     Part of the justification for the ever lowering of standards is the public schools complain they “have to take everyone,” including problem students, often students with very serious problems which drain resources from the system, making it hard to do a good job (those rising autism rates, combined with parents of such children consistently saying their kids were fine before the vaccinations, are placing an ever higher drain, by the way, as my friends in public education assure me). I can’t help but laugh a little at this excuse—before public education got serious in the 20th century, literacy rates were much higher, and a casual examination of popular written works in the 19th century shows we were generally far more literate before we turned education over to government professionals.

     Anyway, “everyone goes to school” is the justification for the miserable standards to the point that a high school diploma doesn’t even mean the graduate can sign his name.

      Despite these essentially non-existent standards, there are still plenty of high school dropouts. It’s a bit of a problem. Although a high school diploma is basically worthless, not having one make it tough to get a job, or so I’m told. Most folks lie rather than admit such a lack, and it’s no big deal…as long as the employer doesn’t check up.

     California, ever the source of stupid-crazy ideas, is leaping to the rescue here:

California Will Give Free High School Diplomas To Kids Who Flunked Out


    
On principle alone, this is just more California-crazy, and reading the explanation for the thinking behind this doesn’t help:

“…to counter the phenomenon of students receiving passing grades while learning almost nothing. The test is hardly complex. The math test, for instance, only covers 8th grade-level material…”


     Honest, there’s a reason our “colleges” start at the 9th grade now, what’s happening in California, academically, is comparable to the rest of the country: what a high school graduate knows today is comparable to the 8th grader of decades ago (outside of the exceptional students).

      The gentle reader really needs to understand how minimal the standards are now, and how many of our victims in the public schools are gaining nothing despite the kind of tax dollars spent:

249,000 students failed to pass the test by the end of senior year from 2006 to 2014.


     Now back to today’s regularly scheduled blog. You can’t get into college without a high school diploma. Well, legally, you can’t, but admin overlook this law as well as they overlook every other law that would cut into growth. It’ll be a moot point soon, as dropouts can just get a California diploma in short order.

      Now let’s connect the dots. There are no standards in the public schools, so we graduate illiterates, and this is justified because these schools have to take everyone.  Seeing that isn’t even good enough, we’ll be awarding diplomas to anyone who wants one, and this is justified because people “need” a diploma to succeed in today’s world (or so they say).


    “I look at my framed degree every day. Then I go to work and deliver pizzas…”
--a smart friend with a supposedly jobs-related degree said this recently.
 

     The justification had some truth in it back when college degree holders were pretty scarce. But now college degrees are worth about as much as a high school diploma, which is to say…not much at all.

     Hmm. Standards in college are in free fall in our higher education system, to the point that many campuses, even the ones that are not outright frauds, are still academic jokes…this is justified because “we need growth” says the administration. We’ve been trained as children to believe that we “need” a college degree to succeed in today’s world. We already award degrees to people that can barely read nor write (nor do arithmetic, at the risk of overplugging my book).

      The only question that remains is how long until one of our governmental leaders decides “hey, why don’t we just give college degrees away” as well?1 I do suspect there’s a big difference between giving away college degrees and high school degrees.

      Student debt is well over a trillion dollars now, and those dollars bought a whole lot of worthless (or nearly worthless) degrees. If a state, or worse yet, the Federal, government starts just awarding college degrees, all these indebted graduates are probably going to complain, loudly, that their own degrees are being debased.

      Sanders’ insane “free college for everyone”  idea has already received some negative observations, but does anyone think our government would really care about screwing over citizens? 

      Will anyone make the connection between printing up a bunch of degrees debases the value of current degrees, and realize it works the same way with our fiat currency system?

       I suspect the answer to both questions is “no”…but I sure hope I’m wrong.


    



1.    Actually, there’s a politically-connected graduate school that seems  poised to do this to/for the connected already, perhaps I’ll touch on what this place is doing soon.