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2.10.2004

Independent review panel says high school diplomas are losing their value 

The American Diploma Project delivers a stinging critique of graduation requirements and high school education in general.

I fully expect the teachers' unions to go ballistic over this report. David Bloome, a former president of the National Council of Teachers of English, offers this reply:



"For a group to come out and say that a high school diploma has lost its meaning strikes me as a difficult position to maintain given how hard so many students work to obtain one," said Bloome, a professor in the College of Education at Ohio State University and a former public school teacher. As examples, he cited students who earn diplomas despite being new to the country, or those who graduate with vocational skills that fully prepare them for work.



I'd have to say that that's some rather selective sampling by Professor Bloome. For every student who moves to the US in his/her teens and has to learn English on the fly, there must be dozens of others who blow off their high school education. And students who end up on the vocational track still need basic communication skills and quantitative reasoning skills if they want to be productive members of society, not just hired hands.

Nowadays when manufacturing jobs and even low-level white-collar jobs (web design, programming, tech support) are being outsourced to other countries and other jobs are being automated, it's even more important for the health of America's economy that we continue to be the ones who push the frontiers of knowledge. Technological development and innovation is quickly becoming the capital upon which our New Economy is based; we simply can't compete with the cheap labor in these other economic sectors overseas.

Either that, or we should train our kids to be plumbers, electricians and construction workers. Not much danger of those jobs being outsourced.

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