American Public High School Education Has Been Slipping for Decades in a Competitive World Producing Mostly Unemployable Students


An Explanation Of What Career and College Readiness Means, How It Is Determined, The Impact Of Robotics And What Its Effects Are On Students' Education, Lives And Our Economy.

It is important to understand this area well if one wants to know the truth about our results in education.

We will see faster technological changes in the future than in the past. With each such change jobs will be eliminated, and new jobs will be created, in lesser numbers generally. The most important question in our opinion is how ready ALL of our children will be after leaving high school to be trained for new jobs and go on to a college or tech school to pursue a vocation in demand without being replaced by robotic automation. Today in Tennessee as an example, only 17% of graduating students are ready (26% in the USA) according to ACT. This is a very poor, unacceptable result.

In 2017 we would have to be above an average 25 ACT score (that means close to 80% ACT Readiness of diplomas). By 2020, that will rise to a 27 average ACT score because of nanotechnology's effect on robotic price/performance, old jobs disappearing, new better jobs appearing requiring more education.

But the ACT Readiness will stay at 80% of diplomas in 2020 because of increasing job requirements, the result of nanotechnology, that will increase ACT benchmark scores. Our school district objectives should be in the same ACT score areas, and not at 21 (equal to ACT Readiness at only 26%) that the State of Tennessee set for 2020 since 2005.

In 2006, ACT wrote that their empirical research (comparing ACT scores to jobs or additional education the student was able to obtain some years after taking the ACT) shows that college entrance and workforce training have the same requirement in English and math from 2006 onward. That has changed over the years. ACT defined the additional benchmarks for and definition of "Career (job) and College Readiness", that indicates what CHANCE (not guarantee) the ACT READY child has to finish the first year only of a non-science, non-engineering program in a college or tech/vocational school only. Engineering and science programs require a higher ACT math score than the ACT Readiness benchmark requires. Those who are NOT ACT READY will have spotty minimum wage employment. Robotics will replace them rapidly. With the years passing most job requirements increase as robotics and software automation replace lower level jobs as new technology influences job requirements. ACT changes one or more of the four benchmark target scores accordingly.

Looking for a school for your child? Pick one with a good high school with a high ACT Readiness percentage of those students who graduated.

See the graph below with actual examples

  1. ACT readiness: is the percentage of students with a regular high school diploma who have only a 50-75% chance to finish only the first year of a vocational/tech training or college program, NOT including any science or engineering program, because those require a much higher ACT score (26-28 average) in mathematics than what the ACT Readiness benchmark requires for mathematics. State report cards carry this information or ACT sent a report to your school district in July of every year that one can request. On the graph below, we just list these percentages from the Tennessee report card.

  2. ACT unreadiness is always 100% minus ACT readiness. Second, if we want to count it from 9th grade we multiply the "graduation rate" percentage by the ACT readiness percentage rate and subtract the result from 100%.

  3. ACT readiness based on 9th grade entry: Multiply 100% by the "graduation rate" percentage in the state report card. Then multiply the result by the "ACT readiness" percentage, and now you have "ACT readiness counting from 9th grade" entry.

  4. ACT unreadiness based on 9th grade entry: First, take the "ACT readiness based on 9th grade entry" percentage from above and subtract it from 100%. and now you have "ACT unreadiness based on 9th grade entry".

For other states follow similar steps. It would be helpful if you read the LATEST VERSION of the following references first:
  1. ACT announced in 2006 that their empirical research since 2000 confirmed that both college and job readiness requirements have merged, they are the same in English and Mathematics.
  2. Example of Condition of career or college readiness 2012,
  3. 2014 Tennessee Career and College Readiness, and

The chart below shows the actual results for the state of Tennessee and its Knox County.

THE ROBOTIC EFFECT: Mostly it was the low-end jobs in manufacturing that were replaced by robotics and software automation before 2015. However, robots are now advancing quickly to replace all low-end jobs, and go beyond the capabilities we currently offer with all high school graduates, advancing even higher by 2020 as the years go on. That means that children with a high school education only, will not be employable longer than a few years. According to ACT, 83% of those who graduated with a high school diploma are not prepared for more than a minimum wage job. That is a terrible result. Among African American graduates more than 95% are not ready. Naturally, there are many excuses for such poor result. But a 41-school charter school chain in New York City, Success Academy Schools, has been scoring top one percent with its students passing even most private schools with poor, African American children! AND we are not willing to visit them from Tennessee to find out how they are doing it. By the way, Charter Schools are also private schools, and they are not taking money away from traditional public schools. OUR POINT IS THAT A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF THE UNPREPARED GRADUATES COULD BE GREATLY REDUCED IF WE HAD BETTER TRAINED TEACHERS AND MANAGEMENT IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. BY DOING SO WE COULD PROBABLY MAKE AT LEAST HALF OF OUR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES SUCCESSFUL IN ADDITION.

Artificial intelligence passed average human intelligence in 2015. It is growing more rapidly that human education/intelligence. Artificial intelligence is the most important software module that drives robotic capabilities, as well as multiprocessor technology that will be greatly accelerated in performance plus at a huge reduction in cost by nanotechnology before 2025.

UNLESS K-12 EDUCATION IMPROVES VERY RAPIDLY TO AN 80% ACT READINESS LEVEL BY 2020, children who are not ACT Ready have absolutely no chance in the future for these reasons. Without change, the general public continues to be dumbed down, and public education continues to deteriorate with rising expenses per student continuing a trend since 1970. WHY DO YOU THINK OUR ELECTED LEADERS HAVE BEEN IGNORING THIS DROP IN EDUCATION SINCE 1970, AS THE PUBLIC PAID MORE PER STUDENT EVERY YEAR SINCE 1970? We became the fifth largest spender in the world per student, and dropped to 40th place from the top at the same time. No governor of either party initiated any program that raised the ACT scores and Readiness to this date. They all started many programs that sounded fabulous for our children, but the ACT or SAT score went nowhere - and they are the only tests that tell us every year how much a child learned from grade one to twelve.

Anesthesia robots have been announced since 2013, that can replace anesthesia nurses and some anesthesiologists with FDA approval in 2015 and 2016. These two jobs are way beyond an ACT READY high school diploma. From 2016 on, we will see more and more COGNITIVE robots in the workplace. Cognitive robots are not only based on the advancing artificial intelligence, but many of them can understand and speak, learn and make decisions, and not have any problems with basic as well as more advanced mathematics or communications in multiple languages. They do not have attitude problems, can deliver uniformly high quality results and most will cost less than minimum wage. Very importantly they also have a software application module for specific jobs, which then the cognitive robot can improve in two ways: one is by learning from any knowledge base on the Internet, or by downloading automatically from its manufacturer a more enhanced version of the "job module". As of 2015, China is making a major push to automate its production on a huge scale using cognitive robotic capabilities - click on it to read it. Google acquired seven of the most promising US companies in robotics and hired a world famous scientist and futurist, Dr. Ray Kurtzweil as VP of development. Several Japanese companies are very close to announcing and shipping cognitive robots from 2017.

The fast food industry is already replacing front line employees with robots who deal with customers. Look below what McDonalds is moving to in 2015-2017. They are not the only ones.

McDonalds' move toward robotics: "Customers love them. They're quick, easy, and customers avoid all the "wad U say" frustrations. They get orders in, get their food the way they want it, and they're on their way. That's fast food. And oddly enough, people SPEND more when they're on kiosks. The Harvard Business Review said they found the average check size was 30% higher. They found that 20% of customers who didn't initially order a drink would buy one when it was offered. The result is: no more $15 minimum wage earners for taking orders."

Unless OUR SCHOOLS ARE CHANGED AND DELIVER MUCH BETTER RESULTS, THE PUBLIC WOULD PAY DEARLY for additional remedial training for the 79.6% or more of those students who entered 9th grade, in order to make up the high schools’ inability to get them trained well enough. Close to 80% of today’s high school graduates will have terrible life with joblessness and homelessness. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF LOW PERFORMING STUDENTS WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TWO YEARS OF ADDITIONAL EDUCATION IF FREELY PROVIDED, ON THE TAX-PAYERS' MONEY? Successfully, not many. WHY? Because they learned to become unmotivated for 12-14 years in our K12 public schools. They also picked up a bad attitude and a feeling of entitlement, and mentally they are not prepared to work hard. Two years of additional education will not solve the education problem as robotics increase the taking over of low-end jobs. It is K-12 itself that needs complete fixing. JUST THINK! WHY ON EARTH DO WE NOT WANT TO FIX THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEMS, THE K-12 GRADES, BUT SPENDING TWO MORE YEARS OF THE PEOPLE'S HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS IS THE BETTER THING TO DO?? The reported results of this program are interpreted very positively by those who started it. The first result is that 80% of those who joined this program will go on to the second semester. That is a meaningless result at best. No grade point average is provided. Percentage attending mostly remedial programs would be useful to know. 20% giving up after the very first semester is not good news. For low performers, who are the candidates for this program, after K-12 the motivation is not there to work hard; a product of some homes and mostly our schools, since teacher morale is very low. These students need very highly motivated and trained teachers, because what we would need to do very well is to test them for vocational preferences first, then put them into the right courses with highly qualified teachers who are very enthusiastic about their subject and can light a fire of desire within these students. Without that, considering that a normal working life is about 40-45 years, the jobs such students may be able to get are minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots in just a few years after which these students will be unemployed.

We are the fifth highest spending country per student in the world as of 2013. We set a new all time low record of being 40th in the world in 2016 when we used to be on top in 1970. Just look at our school district's performance above. We are producing on average during the last seven years more than 75% of the students who entered 9th grade, who are not prepared for anything beyond a minimum wage job, after leaving our high schools. How serious is this situation? Cognitive robots will be able to do things better and learn faster than the ACT "unready" plus an increasing portion of those who were ACT Ready, and cost a lot less to employers, while working 24/7 except for a few hours of maintenance per month. This is the price we will be paying for the poor education received for our hard-earned tax dollars, while the education districts' promotional machine fibbed to the public about how well they were educating our children. They are confusing the public. The only tests that tell us how well they are doing is the ACT (and the SAT in some other states). For 80% of a graduating class to be ACT Ready for job or further schooling and survive, they would need to have a 25 ACT average.

"It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."

Albert Shanker
President of the American Federation of Teachers

One would expect political and legislative leadership to recognize that, BUT THEY DO NOT.

Elected school district boards always produced a poor ACT or SAT result vs. the international competition. The reason: an elected board that is paid $25K/year does not attract management experience that is vital in getting a 9,000 employee organization to produce much better results than what they can produce by accident. Board members were not knowledgeable about the relationship of high school graduates' training level to how well our companies can function, and that is key to the needed level of national income. You all do not have training and experience to manage results out of such a large organization. There are very few people who were so educated and actually have done it in any activity. Sorry, but facts are speaking louder than words. We even hired superintendents who had absolutely no training and experience to be that. They have not even managed a single school, and we hired them to manage 89 schools and 8,000 employees. This is one version of insanity. Not fixing it right away is the other.

We cannot keep destroying our children any more with poorly organized education, that was the result of inexperienced superintendents who do not care enough about our children or have no idea what to do. This has to change. We will suggest new steps and explain why they are needed. We will also explain why boards failed without it.

What elected boards of education need to have is an intense desire to stop destroying so many children's future by providing them with insufficient education that robots WILL replace. The elected school board members were not aware of that.

Look at our ACT performance chart covering ten years. Such high ACT unreadiness percentage of graduating students is deadly. It is unbelievable that no one did anything before and during those ten years to fix the system, starting with its objectives and operating plans, instead of demonstrating from the superintendent on down that no one has/had a clue about what needs to be done. To make it worse, board members set objectives that were wrong, not understanding why (unmeasurable, not a key indicator of progress in education), and superintendents created a 5 year "strategic" operating plan that was also wrong (no objectives on individual schools and all supervisory talent within them like a monthly GPA objective measured in a year-to-date fashion), and they had no idea why the performance outcome was bad, but board members and superintendents gave each other a great performance evaluation for it. All of it at the expense of the public, as some people ruined the future of our children and with them the workforce and the economy.

Copyright(c) 2008-2017 V. Spencer
This is a work in progress.