Still digging through my stack of reading that I neglected, and this Bob Herbert column from the Times last week bubbled up.
An American kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. That’s more than a million every year, a sign of big trouble for these largely clueless youngsters in an era in which a college education is crucial to maintaining a middle-class quality of life — and for the country as a whole in a world that is becoming more hotly competitive every day.
Ignorance in the United States is not just bliss, it’s widespread. A recent survey of teenagers by the education advocacy group Common Core found that a quarter could not identify Adolf Hitler, a third did not know that the Bill of Rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, and fewer than half knew that the Civil War took place between 1850 and 1900.
I think that the lack of discussion about education in this election cycle is what is depressing me most about the state of change right now. We’ll be watching reruns of Paula Abdul’s “meltdown” on Idol last night for at least another week, or wasting even more time on Rev. Wright, but the idea of having a serious sit down about education that involves the interested parties (read: EVERYONE) just can’t happen.
I will say however, that if we are going to measure the success of education in America by how many people can accurately date the Civil War or identify Adolf Hitler, we may not be ready for the real conversation that has to take place.