Education California Style

“Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal (…). There is a tendency (…) for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions. The most ridiculous example I can think of is that the people who run public education promote the stupid and idle along with the industrious – because all men are created equal, educators will gravely tell you, the children left behind suffer terrible feelings of inferiority.”

― Harper Lee

Statewide, about 90 percent of California’s high school graduates who have passed the requisite High School Exit Examination and received their diploma and go on to college need remedial math. And 75 percent need remedial English. 

As if that isn’t bad enough, beginning this year and applied retroactively, those who complete High School but do not graduate because they failed the exit exam can now apply for – and be granted – a High School diploma. The reasoning is that without the diploma, getting a job is nigh impossible and, thus, a lack of “equal” opportunity in the job market.

By what logic is someone who fails equal to someone who passes? And “feelings” of inferiority? Mustn’t allow that!  I wonder if Ms. Lee would consider “ridiculous” an understatement if asked about this new policy.

Here is an example question in the math segment of the exit exam: The five members of a band are getting new outfits. Shirts cost $12 each, pants cost $29 each, and boots cost $49 a pair. What is the total cost of the new outfits for all of the members? A $90 B $95 C $450 D $500. (I would expect this question to be easy for anyone in the 5th grade, let alone the 12th. But I’d be wrong, apparently.)

It’s time for a reality check. Everyone is afforded (more or less) equal educational opportunity. What you do with it is up to you. If you tried to answer the above sample question and didn’t get $450, then maybe you’re the product of a bad public school. 

Or your parent’s lack of involvement. 

Or your own lack of effort. 

Or maybe you just don’t have the mental ability.

Whichever, as Judge Smails said to Danny in the movie, Caddyshack, “The world needs ditchdiggers, too.”

That might be a touch hard, but true.

– Bill


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