Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs)


“There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.” (John Adams)

“A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district–all studied and appreciated as they merit — are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty.” (Ben Franklin)


“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams)

  • The US ranks 4th internationally in the amount per pupil spent on education; but its students rank 25th in academic achievement and have one of the world’s highest dropout rates.
  • 60% of US high school graduates don’t qualify for college level classes.
  • Unlike other countries that outperform US students, American schools spend up to 4 times more on high school athletes than on high school math students.

Politifact, 4/21/15. Sherman, Amy. “Does the US spend more per student than most other countries?”
National Center for Education Statistics, 2015.
PBS, 12/20/15. Mason, Kyla. “High school graduation rates rise, but US still lags behind other developed countries.
National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. “Beyond the rhetoric: improving college readiness”
The Atlantic, October 2013. Ripley, Amanda. “The case against high school sports” 

  • 84% of high school students do not work, and virtually no schools require students to have part-time jobs.
  • Employers cite a lack of work experience and a poor work ethic as reasons for NOT hiring recent graduates.

Washington Times, 5/24/12. Wolfgang, Ben. “Number of high school students with jobs hits 20 year low”
Online, 9/10/12. “13 common complaints employers have about recent grads” 

  • In a poll of Who’s Who Among American High School Students, 80% of the nation’s best students said they cheated to get to the top of their class. Between 65% and 75% of all high school students admit to cheating.
  • The most important qualities employers want from employees include honesty, character, and integrity.
  • The Common Core curriculum adopted by 42 states teaches nothing about honesty, character, or integrity.

Education Testing Service. “Cheating is a personal foul”
The Balance, 9/9/16. Loretto, Penny. “The top 10 work values employers look for”
The Real Truth, 1/1/16. Winkfield, Edward. “10 Traits of a valuable employee”
The Atlantic, 7/25/16. Barnwell, Paul. “Students’ broken moral compasses” 


  • 78% of employers require applicants to pass a drug test before they can be hired.
  • Over 35% of high school seniors use drugs.
  • 17% of students use drugs or alcohol on campus during the school day.
  • 60% of high school students say their schools are “drug infected”.
  • Only 20% of high schools drug test their students.

Society for Human Resource Management, 5/31/15. Maurer, Roy. “Nearly 8 in 10 employers screen for alcohol and drugs”
Washington Post, 4/27/15. Ingraham, Christopher. “Drug tests: costly, ineffective, and more common than you think”
Huffington Post, 6/23/12. “School Drug Use: Survey finds 17% of high school students drink, smoke, use drugs during the school day”
National Institute on Drug Abuse, June 2016. “Drug facts: high school and youth trends” 

  • About 1,200 teachers are physically assaulted every DAY in US schools, an increase of 35% in the last four years.
  • School incidents of violent crime and theft among students are increasing, but exact data is hard to find because school districts and government agencies are under-reporting and mis-reporting information
  • School districts across the US are suspending and expelling up to 70% LESS students because they feel they have their bad behavior under control.

The Atlantic, 6/28/16. Brodsky, Sascha. “Is discipline reform really helping decrease school violence?”, 6/10/14. Brown, Lauretta. “Student attacks on teachers up 34.5%”
US News and World Report, 6/10/14. Bidwell, Allie. “Report: School crime and violence rise”
Chicago Public Schools, 9/22/16. “CPS Suspension and Expulsion Rates Reach Record Low”
California Department of Education, 1/13/16. “Schools chief announces decline in suspensions and expulsions for third straight year” 


“Just because you have schools and universities doesn’t mean you have education.” (Malcolm X)

America has 129,189 K-12 public schools, but these schools overwhelmingly fail to produce acceptable results with everything they’re responsible for teaching. From academic achievement to character building, from employability to a desire for clean/sober lifestyles and law-abiding behavior, American public schools are inadequately educating our students and failing our country. Programmatic changes that could correct every shortcoming in our public education system continue to be resisted by teachers, administrators, politicians, and private businesses who prioritize self-interest above concern for children and their families.


Reforming our public education system could be accomplished by simply reversing the relatively recent trends that have caused the decline. Academic instruction should be based on skill-mastery, and not on arbitrary designations of age or time. Behavioral standards should be strengthened to match workplace expectations. 

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.” (John Kennedy)

Brief #21A – Dec. 12, 2016