Big Education has failed.

Big Education is not working. The term “education” has been successfully distorted beyond recognition. I’m not pretending that the high school graduation requirements are what they should be, but I’m certain that government cannot set the bar low enough to eliminate cheating. They are meaningless, and our society of relevance has eliminated any need to adhere to any acceptable standard. I’m certain that individual educators or administrators, applying their hard-learned “critical thinking” skills that are so valued in our liberal educational system today, decided that some students should not be held to a standard, or otherwise were incapable of attaining to it. Well, students learn more from actions than words. All the positive affirmations pasted across the walls of public school classrooms can’t make up for the message that achievement is meaningless.

Multiple stories (though not as many as one would think) have been written about how 1/3 of Tennessee high school graduates did not complete the required number or type of credits required to earn a diploma (here’s one). Twenty eight percent of Tennessee high schools had at least half of their graduates failing to meet the legal standard set for graduation. How is this instructive?

  • Education is no longer about mastery, or even completion. It is about passing through students for the sake of numbers. It is about not putting on the appearance of oppressing anyone who is not ready to move forward. Your children and mine are hindered in the process.
  • It is time to stop believing the lie that government can solve anything. Tennessee wasted millions on concocting an online standardized test that didn’t work. This was happening even as students were graduating without meeting the basic graduation requirements. Our own school system in Jackson-Madison Co. had to face the current superintendent about how students were passing through “credit recovery,” an online, self-paced, supposedly supervised process for those who have fallen behind, so quickly. It’s all a huge farce.
  • For those of you who have hope that education can be innovated in the public school system, don’t hold your breath. The only innovation that seems to be happening is about how can standards and requirements be manipulated to achieve the desired results. Again, in Jackson-Madison Co., school closures and consolidations have eliminated failing schools much faster than educational interventions or staffing changes ever could.

The workforce development woes that are daily used to justify more government spending and intervention will never be solved because those challenges are dwarfed by an integrity problem that exists within the very apparatus meant to solve them. I call it the “industrial-educational complex,” i.e. Big Education. Government started it, grew it, and seeks to reform it. Informed citizens are the only antidote. Public education cannot heal itself.


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