Today we learned that the State of Oregon has dropped the requirements for high school students to demonstrate proficiency in reading writing and math. The New York Post offered the following;

Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Democrat, signed a bill last month with little fanfare that drops the requirement that high school students prove proficiency in reading, writing or math before graduation, a report said.

So…. No more “reading, writing and rithmatic” as the old song goes. Just a side note — The Chinese are going to kick our butts — but I digress. What does this mean for the future of our country if we continue to allow jurisdictions such as this to continually dumb down our youth. We can expect that these same high school students will be taught the socialist party line — for those who remember their Orwell “Animal Farm” its pained on the barn wall “All Animals are Equal” but as time passes as it will for these graduates they will look up and realize the words on that barn wall say, “All Animals are Equal, but Some Animals are MORE Equal Than Others”.

Their government handouts will never increase above the subsistence level… They will never be able to afford one of those new Green Electric Cars — those are for our leaders – you may ride the electric bus if its going your way! You will by necessity live in a government housing project and what was once available in the way of upward mobility for those willing to work hard – well Orwell told us about that as well — you will die without the expected reward.

Electric Cars Will Be Hard to Get Used To - The Atlantic

So where does this leave us — if there is no math how are we going to grow construction works to do all of the magnificent project promised by the New Green Deal — if you can’t use a tape measure or hammer you are useless. I suspect that most cannot use a screwdriver let alone change a tire on one of those new EV’s.

No electricians to wire up the high speed internet — electricians have to read a wiring diagram but teaching reading is out so — I expect that we will see our MIT grads taking positions as electricians or not. So…. no internet for you. Not to mention that someone has to bring all that solar and wind power to the place where it can be used but alas and alack no electricians because we did not train any. Has anyone seen a recent high school graduate with a plunger — Not a clue! So when the toilet in your newly refurbished green house backs up or refuses to flush — well I guess there is always YouTube.

So with all of this as an introduction what are we as a society to do — we rely more and more on the advanced technologies that shape our lives and ignore the very things that make us civilized and comfortable. The shower and toilet in our homes (Plumber), The flip of a switch or even a voice command to get light, television or internet (Electrician)…

The Different Types of Plumbers

Air Conditioning and Heat (HVAC Tech) and the list goes on; Diesel engine mechanic, automobile mechanic (how complex can those new EV’s really be). I suppose that one could argue that the continuing growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will provide solutions for all of these thing sooner or later – more likely later then sooner. So what do we do in the meantime.

How about a return to teaching reading, writing and arithmetic in school. Then — and this is really radical … stop trying to have every student take college prep courses because not all students are going to go to college. Make more VoTech available across the education system. How about ½ of the day in the classroom learning how to read and do basic math, learn how to measure a piece of lumber or how to read the schematic on a washing machine.

Then for the other ½ of the day – working as an apprentice learning, with hands on, how to assess the remaining life an EV’s battery, or replacing a shower faucet, cutting a 2X4 to the proper length or repairing the control panel at the solar power collection station.

You do not need to attend MIT or the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University to make a success of a life. But you do need to know how to add, subtract, and divide … you do need to know how to read and understand technical drawing, schematics and basic instructions to repair and replace things. And at some point you will need to take pen in hand and actually write a message to someone or make notes on a job because you failed to charge your phone the night before —

Record-Setting Bridges Across the Globe - Bridge Masters

The message could not be any clearer — Infrastructure, bridges, roads, trains, wind power, solar panels, electric cars, internet and all of the other promised improvements — all require the skill and labor of trained people who can read and do math and write. The consequences of not having such people to accomplish this work — well I for one would not want to cross that bridge — literally — if the guys assembling it did not poses the basic skills I have discussed.

The high school education system, school boards ad educators across the country need to heed the signs — there can be no infrastructure without the skilled labor to build it and maintain it. We need to see a sharp increase in the ability of the education system to provide America with the skills needed to ensure our continued development as the worlds leader. Anything less — well I guess we could move to Oregon!





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