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The Dummming Down Of Our Educational System And The Resulting Effects

Posted by: Rich Franco on 06/12/2013 - 1:39 PM

This past weekend, there was a little blurb about the "Top 25 Athletes in the World" and their yearly income. I thought it was interesting, so I looked and then took the time to add those numbers up. These 25 individuals earn collectively, $1,030,000,000.00 Billion dollars! 1 Billion dollars and that 25 people! And don't even get me started on the "Hollywood" crowd!

Yesterday, on NPR radio, there was a short piece about the dumbing down of our high school students and the reading level, for high scholl students, nationally was around the 6th grade level! If they read books, they were written to be understood by 6th graders! When I was in 6th grade, I was reading at the high school level, as I bet most of the "old timers" were too!

What is wrong with this picture? The $1 Billion dollars I mentioned above, is three times what the total salaries are for my county, Seminole County, which is a huge county. What is the logical conclusion here? Are we always going to short cut the teachers for the good of "sports" entertainment?

How short term is our thinking?

I would like to hear,especially from other members, in other countries how they value their educational systems and if they work, why?,0,6133655.photogallery



Oldest Reply

Posted by: Lara Ellis on 06/12/2013 - 1:45 PM

Amen! My mom was a school teacher for years and was seriously under paid even when she went back to school for her masters in Special Education. It's sad that what should be valued is not in our society.


Posted by: Mary Ellen Mueller-Legault on 06/12/2013 - 1:46 PM

In my humble opinion, you are right! I am thinking that the education of the youth, and even the demand for higher standards, has gone in inverse proportion to the size of the common mans behind.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 06/12/2013 - 1:54 PM

Mary Ellen,

I have to disagree!

I think my behind is actually larger than before, but teachers salaries haven't kept up with my " expansion"!!!! LOL!!!



Posted by: Lawrence Supino on 06/12/2013 - 2:03 PM

They are not "Dummming" down our educational system...
It was purposely dumb down years ago...
what we're seeing now, are the results ;)


Posted by: Gary Whitton on 06/12/2013 - 2:06 PM

Where I am at, we've been in last place for education spending for the last 25 years. Instead politicians choose to spend money fighting to acquire lands they will never get from the federal government, and protecting the state from a predator (the wolf) that doesn't even exist in this state.

Though I must give this state credit for somethings, we are #1 in our connectedness to the Internet. But then again we are way below the national average on women taking on STEM jobs. But that is result of the predominate Mormon culture in this state IMHO anyway.

One thing I do see as a bright spot, is there are high value awards starting to emerge for science related professionals that really excel at what they do. I can only hope it continues to catch on, or we will be overrun by countries that value education to the extreme (China) such that a child's parent's are willing to risk bankruptcy in order to ensure their kid succeeds....of course in that culture they know a child success will likely determine how comfortable their own retirement will be.


Posted by: Chaline Ouellet on 06/12/2013 - 2:10 PM

What Lawrence said.


Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 06/12/2013 - 2:10 PM

Pssst..Rich, it would help your viewpoint on this topic if you corrected your typo on the word dumbing in the title. ; ) I agree with your point.


Posted by: Deborah Smolinske on 06/12/2013 - 2:11 PM

Not too long ago, an FAA member started a thread to vent about the poor grammar, spelling, and usage of the English language here on FAA (and elsewhere). While a few of us agreed with the OP, the vast majority of others who posted said that they felt insulted by the original post, accused the OP of being condescending and biased, and accused those who supported the OP of being elitist. One memorable post used the word "prejudiced" to describe anyone who thinks that spelling and grammar are important components to the art of communication. The thread was quickly closed, as it descended into personal insults and vitriolic outrage.

And you wonder why entertainers are paid top dollar and teachers aren't? Because, apparently, the average American equates a decent education and the display of such with snobbery and elitism. Until and unless the average American decides that a good education has value, those who try to provide one will not have value either.


Posted by: Gary Whitton on 06/12/2013 - 2:21 PM

Getting all worked up about grammar sometimes is like complaining about the legibility of ones handwriting. At some point in Middle School I was taught an amazing amount about sentence structure, and the various components that go along with it. Like most people I don't remember 95% of the technical details, just like I don't remember a lot of the Calculus I took in college. But at this point in life I am neither an English or Math Major so I am not that concerned.

But do I think getting just a high school diploma is satisfactory....not if you want true job security. Heck at this point I'd say a Master's degree is almost a necessity if you want any guarantees...what very few guarantees the future can ensure. And its unfortunate that we focus on sports so heavily in school and beyond, because at the end of the day they won't sustain us, something many professional athletes discover after their body forces them to move on with their lives.


Posted by: Dan Daugherty on 06/12/2013 - 2:33 PM

While I am not fond of the amount of money that Certain Athletes "Receive", (earning is perhaps not the correct term), One needs to be aware of some of the things SOME of those Athletes do with all those millions.

As a NASCAR fan, I am constantly made aware of many drivers who have selflessly given many millions to many different causes to include Educational.

Almost every race team dumps money into one sometimes more than one cause. Jeff Gordon is perhaps the most giving and has won the Heisman humanitarian Award last year.

Check it out here:


Posted by: Dan Daugherty on 06/12/2013 - 2:50 PM

One more small tid-bit... One of my Favorite Music Artists is doing what he can for Education in the Music arena. Offering Scholarships in music and education.

Check it out here:


Posted by: Larry Lamb on 06/12/2013 - 3:03 PM

Ahhh. "Capitalism". Gotta love it.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 06/12/2013 - 4:00 PM


Got cha! That wass done on purrpse! Any other mistakes were not!



Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 06/12/2013 - 4:14 PM

lol! I was just teasing ya, Rich. The irony of a self proclaimed typo queen calling someone out on their typo was just a funny to me moment. : D

To really understand me is to get my humor........
and boy, am I misunderstood a lot! ....Haha!


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 06/12/2013 - 4:19 PM

The point is that sports stars are a marketable resource. Nobody will pay millions for the TV rights to cover a school classroom. If your activities make people lots of money and you are not easily replaced, then you can demand a huge salary.

In the UK recently, the Government announced that more people should take science degrees, because Britain regarded science and technology as hugely valuable. However, when you compare the salary of a senior scientist with the salary of a lawyer, accountant or merchant banker you have to conclude that Britain regards finance and law as being hugely valuable and has little interest in science. Scientists earn about the same as PR managers.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 06/12/2013 - 4:32 PM


Glad to hear that! Of course, there maybe folks here, that now think that's how you do spell dummm!! LOL!


The issue here to me is that a sport, which was once for fun, has become an industry and the tail is wagging the dog, in many cases. Here in the U.S., we have cities and states fighting over who will give away the most money to sports clubs and will build arenas and infrastructure for them, just to have them play their "sports" in that city, dumm!



Posted by: Jeanne Kasten on 06/12/2013 - 4:40 PM

We are already seeing teachers who don't have good educations themselves. Those in the public schools, even if they are good teachers, are forced to conform to curriculum requirements which don't include much more than teaching to the test. We're screwed, and have been for years.
I homeschooled my kids, but I work in the library of a public school in a relatively wealthy area. Just listening to those teachers try to put sentences together without grammatical errors sets me on edge every day, it's very sad.


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 06/12/2013 - 5:03 PM

When the family living in America had to share the possessions when my brother died, it came time to decide what to do with our Dad's violin that my brother had kept. So , all agreed it should go, not to me here in Oz, but the family in NY....and when I got the note from my nephew there , thanking me for allowing him to have this family 'hair loom', I knew America was in for trouble.
The crises exists here too. Teachers are undervalued and underpaid. The worst thing is that the poor education is ingrained and it's gone on for so long, since television took over, instant gratification became the norm,then followed women's lib,free love, you name it....every standard has been got the least sow what you reap.!
In the 50,s, one couldn't graduate without deep and meaningful knowledge of the it's "Shades of Gray". ! Madonna, lite entertainment, instead of homework...............this is a very old head talking, in gratitude for being raised by educated parents.....the expectations have been changed for far tooooo is not a new have to study history to see how poor education became the norm, years ago, sad to say. And Councils just reflect the values of their constituents....and the constituents values /,ok!


Posted by: M Frith on 06/12/2013 - 5:34 PM

People vote with their pocket. If nobody wanted to watch sports stars they'd be as poor as church mice. If people wanted to pay taxes public services would be awash with money. Society gets what it wants to pay for.


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 06/12/2013 - 5:47 PM

I'd like to add.....among the financially gifted, America is wonderful for the philanthropy to's sorely needed.


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 06/12/2013 - 5:51 PM

This is right on the cusp of political. Keep it on the education and not on the votes and it will stay open for a while

Posts and threads of a political or religious nature are not permitted on the forum. You can catch up with all the forum rules here,

This group is for all topics, including religion and politics


Posted by: John Ayo on 06/12/2013 - 6:01 PM

Meanwhile... Flynn effect


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 06/12/2013 - 6:08 PM

Not the current superintendent of schools - but the last one before him - sports would be the last thing cut from high school. Today I was slumming in a thrift store - there were two books from the local college - used to be a community college - but now it's full fledged because they have "adopted" a 4 year on line program - but those two college books were "college physics" - excuse me - "I" nearly flunked physics in school - those two "college" books could have been understood by an 8th grader - they were replete with comic book drawings and mostly basic 7th or 8th grade science. I whipped through "college" biology when I returned to get my degree 27 years after I graduated from highschool - because my 10th grade biology teacher, Mr. York, taught us biology and not a soul was passed on that didn't KNOW biology.


Posted by: Jane Schnetlage on 06/12/2013 - 6:34 PM

Is it solely up to the local schools to educate kids? I was raised in mediocre rural school system but I had great parents who read and instilled a love of reading in us. I taught my kids to read well before they started school. We read to them from the time they were babies, books they loved well before they could read for themselves. We kept on reading aloud- bigger and better books. My youngest, a 5th grader now reads on 12th grade level according to school tests. More importantly, he loves to read. I taught two of my kids to multiply and divide the summer between K -1 because they were bored. I supplemented history by telling more interesting stories about what really happened. The kids participated in regional science fairs and made very elaborate projects of their own devising. We read a lot of nonfiction. My kids are in public school, in advanced programs, and it is a decent school system in comparison to some others but it leaves a LOT to be desired. I think our kids do well primarily because we also put in effort. Most evenings, the kids do homework as I prepare dinner and while I do not do it for them, I make sure they understand the basic concepts and reason with them on how to apply the ideas. I take my older teens to work in the summer- it is my business after all- and teach them the rudiments of business finance and the logic of determining value. As parents we have a unique opportunity to shape our kid's education and their minds as well as to try to pass on our values.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 06/12/2013 - 6:48 PM


Good info, but I think my point is not that we're actually losing points on our IQ scores, but as a people, becoming far less educated. I think kids these days are way smarter in many way, then I was at that same age, more worldly maybe, but not anywhere as educated as I was and am. I think IQ is probably a matter of better health and healthcare, then anything currently going on in most school systems.

Another example of better health, is this: "Most experts agree that the decline in the age of puberty is attributable to decreased rates of disease, increased nutrition, and human femalesí ability to adapt sexual maturation to environmental cues (e.g., health, food, shelter)."

Earlier than normal puberty is being watched bu the medical profession and it's potential ties to breast cancers.

What's now being accepted as correct grammar, will further deteriorate in the coming years, especially with the passing of this older generation, who were schooled and educated to a much higher degree. Also all these little WiFi "words" are creeping into our language and seen used now in newspapers and magazines, as they try to entice the younger readers to subscribe.



Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 06/12/2013 - 7:10 PM

I agree with Jane. A lot of the problem is in the poor parental example and lack of stability at home. Those trends started somewhere, though, sometime after my school days. Florida schools are not known for their scholarship, but we had some fantastic teachers, in writing, art, and science, and I feel fortunate for that.


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 06/12/2013 - 7:14 PM

A lot of it really does have to do with family life - and in this country we've done our damndist to destroy the family as a unit. Our mothers would rather work for money than work for a home, fathers seem to be driven by fun times and entertainment. But the school curriculum is also to blame - it has been dumbed down so that the mediocre is "exceptional" and our colleges have been turned into "adult" playing grounds.


Posted by: Janice Drew on 06/12/2013 - 8:34 PM

If kids have a good support unit, they will do well. That begins at home and within our school systems. When there's an override in town to pass another school, I always vote for it. Education is an investment in the future of our children. I don't know how it is with many schools around the country, but we have a decent school curriculum here. Accelerated courses are there for the taking. Some kids just don't have the mental capacity to do well. Others will challenge themselves and are most likely to succeed. The true test comes when they enter college and have to compete with students from all over the world.

As for athletes...I agree that they are overpaid. There are those who perform far nobler tasks and don't make anywhere near the money that athletes receive. I look at it this way....they are skilled at their sport and entertain the masses. Of course, officials are reluctant to cut sports programs. Those athletes bring in money for schools. Look what Doug Flutie did for Boston College in the 80s.

My family loves sports. Sports is huge in New England whether you participate or are a spectator. For many inner city kids, it has straightened them out and keeps them off the streets. Listen to the stories of some of these athletes and hear about their childhood years and how that one coach and sports made a difference in their lives.


Posted by: John Crothers on 06/12/2013 - 8:55 PM

I wonder, would we complain about an artist getting millions for their work? Would that be considered the dumbing down of America that someone would make millions just to paint or take pictures?


Posted by: John Crothers on 06/12/2013 - 8:55 PM



Posted by: Rose Art on 06/12/2013 - 8:59 PM

Bloody hell its hard to keep up with this forum. A few weeks ago politics was allowed, now its not? Ridiculous! Boring and annoying.

I was going to post, but how can you talk about education, and teachers wages, at least in Canada without it being political. Impossible! In my country they are paid quite enough thank-you. Our educational system has become so political its scary. I would not have my children in the Canadian system now, if I had children of school age. I worry for my grandchildren. The crap, drivel,and inappropriate material that is used for curriculum makes my skin crawl.

I have no problem with anyone making any amount of money as long as it isn't government , read "my pocket book", paid for. Sports builds character if nothing else, and if those who excel are well paid from ticket sales, what do I have to say about it, except good for them.

I posted anyway. This is holding my tongue.


Posted by: Mary Ellen Anderson on 06/12/2013 - 9:21 PM

On the public level then we do a terrible job of controlling our resources. When we spend on athletics, it's limited by what you can afford, there is no real economic limits on public costs. We as people and communities demand all the time impossible tasks. The only way to have a policy of "No Child Left Behind" is to not allow anyone to go ahead. We spend billions trying to educate human vegetables, We even pass laws requiring teachers to somehow (divinely) teach to children who by choice or birth are unteachable, and insist that we keep throwing money at it till we all starve. In general, We are caught in the void between being PC and each of us having unlimited wants in a limited resource world.


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 06/12/2013 - 9:39 PM

I don't ever complain about anyone getting paid for what they do - even if it's crime and they get life or the death penalty. BUT - this high school here had 400 graduates this year and almost the whole emphasis - at least what we in the public can see is on sports - How many kids can play football? How many are on the baseball team? The soccer team? then there is tennis and a swim team of sorts - but that is still less than one half of the graduating class. My kid graduated from here - he went to school in CA through the 10th grade - his complaint when he was a senior - "dad, I had this stuff in the 9th grade in CA". In this school - back then and it's been a few years now - they let them play dungeons and dragons on the school computers - educational I'm sure. This high school has a day care for kids whose parents are still kids in school. Book learning is nothing if what you see adults doing around you tells you different. The teachers can go outside and puff their cigarettes while inside they are trying to teach kids that tobacco is bad for you - hungh?


Posted by: Rose Art on 06/12/2013 - 9:58 PM

Sounds like a lot of people are not so happy with their respective Public educational systems. I think the problem is that they are public. Dumbing down is right. Lowest common denominator, you can say that again. I wonder what would happen if we had choice in our educational institutions, and the money was given to each parent to use where they saw fit, and I don't mean for cigarettes. It could be done, but for the political power of the union. The public school system in Canada, I would like to say, is nothing more than very expensive baby sitting, but I fear it is much more dangerous than that. That is not to say that there are not some good teachers in it. I just don't believe the system as it stands, is at all effective, edit: or desirable.

edit: regarding the Flynn effect, that probably has more to do with better nutrition than the current public educational systems.


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 06/12/2013 - 10:29 PM

Don't bite me..........but......our children, and their children, have been/are being educated in the atmosphere of strict private schools.....their education is classical, plus what's required for the 'general' courses to get into University - a double whammy. The days are very long. They are expected to 'achieve', do not even know, in reality, what 'hanging out' at malls is, they are too busy, and, they are motivated. Within their community of like-funded parents, it is the norm, and they go on to take positions of high responsibility in the community, almost as a requirement, because they are 'privileged'........I know, I know.......that's a dirty word in democratic (small 'd' to avoid controversy here) society....but, there's something to it..........and, 'wifi' language doesn't rule, in their lives, even with their mobiles/cells,etc. It's up to the home life to support children's education, and also up to the teachers, to be dedicated, well-paid,and inspiring. (The worst teachers the girls have here are......dadum!!........the 'art' teachers = how funny is that!). Anyway,, that's just where I'm coming from about ethics in won't cure the disadvantaged financially, sad to say......there are, though, great stories of gifted young rising to the top against all odds.....admirable.....rare. And , Rich, 'sport' plays a big role in their lives, teamwork,etc., school pride, etc, without being damaging - but, it's in focus - one doesn't get 'ahead' just on sport prowess.
Why shouldn't sports people earn big bucks? They're the idols of their time, most are fine humanitarians too, and, it's a commercial world now - such is life in 2013.
TV rules OK - cable or otherwise !


Posted by: Rich Franco on 06/12/2013 - 10:42 PM

Ms. V.,

I'm arguing the emphasis or value we put on sports and the focus many schools put on sports, because they generate huge amount of revenue to the schools. I was an athlete in high school and could have been in college, but instead I thought I was going to be an English teacher. Today, if you have any talent at all, you are encouraged to do as much as possible to improve your skills, even to the detriment of your education.

I'm only lamenting the loss of people who want to become teachers and educators and don't, because you can hardly raise a family, here in the U.S. on that salary, unless both parent work. Here in Orlando and the Central Florida area, we have articles in the papers every year,when school starts, of teachers, buying supplies themselves, because there is no budget for those supplies from the County or State. Not right.



Posted by: Rose Art on 06/12/2013 - 10:55 PM

It must be very different in the U.S. from Canada, regarding teachers wages.
Ya Viv, private schools where there is some accountability.


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 06/12/2013 - 11:16 PM

All of life is dominated by accountability, m'thinks, yes, Rose.

Rich, our public schools teachers have to do the same pay for all the extra work at home, no supplies.........the Parent/Teacher associations here just can't do's to do with budgets, state-wide, and federal. We're in the midst of a government that will be voted out in September, being a Union - based belief -system, who is insisting, via penalties nobody can afford, on their Plan for Education.......including - blackmailing the States here that they'll get No federal funding unless they sign this new approach into law ....... all horrible - all , whether it's allowed as a subject / topic here in forum...........politics plays an enormous role in education.
Our schools also have to raise fund for sport too.
The 'benefactors' at private schools gladly support sport initiatives financially - 'old school tie', etc etc.....
It's the usual Them vs Us stuff.


What a bummer this was closed. Truly intelligent posts devoid of political grandstanding, for once. It only takes one selfppointed "observer" to miss the point about a thread.Sorry,Rich.


Posted by: Lawrence Supino on 06/12/2013 - 11:18 PM

@Phylliss... "To really understand me is to get my humor........
and boy, am I misunderstood a lot! ....Haha!"

Sorry, but I just can't relate.

Just heard on "The Last Word"...that the guy who leaked the NSA spying stuff, never graduated HS. (he did then achieve his GED)

I know and understand that much to do with the "IT" world can be self taught and mastered...but I can't help from finding it strange that getting a job in the NSA...doesn't require some kind of college degree...let alone a HS diploma.

If not for the "maturity" aspect alone.


Posted by: Rose Art on 06/13/2013 - 12:06 AM

That is questionable Lawrence.

@Rich, "I'm arguing the emphasis or value we put on sports and the focus many schools put on sports, because they generate huge amount of revenue to the schools."

Possibly another valid reason for more free market choice in education. Although revenue doesn't sound too bad to me. If you don't like the main premise of a certain school, send your kids to another one of your choice.( if it were set up that way)

My preface would be that (speaking for what I want as a Canadian), any school wishing to open for business must be in accordance with Canadian Law. We have no responsibility to recognize another country's laws, regarding how we do things in our own country, and what we won't tolerate. No school (or parent) should be publicly funded by the Canadian taxpayer to advance another countries political agenda. That is what is happening now in the public school system. I don't want to see that in the public or private school system. This " all inclusive" shit is such a repeat of history its not funny. It will be very bad for this generation. But history is not taught in schools these days so .... it will repeat itself. It will be ugly. We are all immigrants, but if you come to my country where I was born, I expect you to assimilate, and respect Canadian traditions. If that is a stretch for you then why did you come? I cannot trust the public school system here to take responsibility for that anymore. Keep your traditions, language, religion, but no public funding. I say this because our public school system is being infiltrated by those who believe they are being politically correct, but are in fact selling out our country.


Posted by: Dan Carmichael on 06/13/2013 - 4:30 AM

The public education system in the U.S. is just fine.

Graduates of it know how to properly punch the keys of a cash register to assist them is calculating the change to give to a customer for a 98 cent sale when presented with a dollar bill to tender.

In addition, all recent graduates of U.S. public schools know how to mount a condom on a cucumber.

What more can you ask for?


Posted by: Mark Zelmer on 06/13/2013 - 4:52 AM

^^^ I agree with Dan... the US school system is perfectly adequate to prepare our future high-school dropouts with the education they need to in order to fulfill any number of career options in either the distribution, preparation, and/or sales of french-fried potatoes.

I have to inject a little levity here because it's bascially the only thing that prevents me from curling up on the floor in the fetal position and sobbing with fits of hysterical rage.

If I were King, we'd turn this whole thing around in a 20-year plan where the federal government took approximately... well let me crunch the numbers here... approximately 100% of what we're currently spending on nation building, and put all of that money into a world-class educational system that would be the envy of the civilized world. All of our troops need to come home immediately, and every last foreign base the world over needs to close up shop. The rest of the world can fend for itself without the US' intervention.

But since I'm not going to be King anytime soon, our highest priorities as a country are going to continue to be entertainment, followed closely by self-gratification and warfare, and bringing up the last and second to last place will be healthcare and education.


Posted by: Nature's Details on 06/13/2013 - 6:48 AM

@ Rose Art,

From another Canadian, I completely agree with you.


This thread is political right from the very beginning. "Politics" is about a lot more than just votes and politicians.


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 06/13/2013 - 6:54 AM

As this is yet again sliding over the line it is being closed re my earlier post


This discussion is closed.