Dear Mr. President,
This morning I had the pleasure of attending my grandson’s pre-school graduation, and it was adorable. The kids all made t-shirts with different colored hand-prints with their name next to it. They then put on a little performance of songs they had learned over the year. After that they all filed out to get their graduation caps on so they could receive their diplomas. It was obvious that each ‘graduate’ and all family members in attendance were extremely proud of their accomplishment. These are the special moments that grandparents cherish, if they are lucky enough to live close by.
Some people think this is a bit silly, because the kids don’t really know the significance of what it means to actually ‘graduate,’ to them it’s a chance to be the center of attention and receive the praise an accolades from their families that all children crave. The purpose is really to impress upon them, at a very early age, the importance of a good education and to set them on a path to success.
Then somewhere along the way the message gets confusing and harder to maintain, the kids may encounter a teacher that doesn’t inspire them or they don’t get the continued support from their parents as subjects get harder. Then in high school when kids are the most vulnerable to peer pressure, they see other kids skipping school, and still others dropping out all together, they develop an attitude that getting their GED is good enough… they can always go to college later. This is happening all too frequently for a variety of reasons… none of them good.
It’s not surprising that this is happening more and more frequently, drop out rates are increasing, and teachers and school districts across the country are under assault from unacceptable levels of budget cuts. Parents are expected to pay for many of the necessities that were always considered part of our tax dollars, but have now become the responsibility of parents. With the economy the way it is and the unemployment level so high, many of these parents cannot afford the basic things their kids need to attend and be successful in school.
So by the time many of these kids approach collage age the message is quite different from when they were in pre-school. With the rise in college costs, and the public colleges and universities getting less money from the states, many of these kids are being ‘priced-out’ of a college education. Loan costs are outrageous, financial aid is unattainable or unavailable for many. And as a result of this, we are seeing an increase of protests on university campuses across the country because of astronomical hikes in tuition.
We need to fix this problem, because our kids are falling far behind kids in other countries at a very rapid rate. The “Dumbing Down of America” is upon us and we need to stop it before it’s too late. But, maybe that the “corporate” plan… less education, less pay, cheaper work force… new third world country… more profits for the super rich. Say it isn’t so Mr. President, and tell us you’re working to correct the problem.
Your Gadfly Granny