Failing Schools a Sign of Failing National Character

Ralph PetersFamily Security Matters

During a workout last weekend, I watched and listened as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan bemoaned our “crumbling schools.” Sorry, but it’s not our schools that are crumbling, Mr. Secretary: It’s our values. The wildly uneven, too-often-inadequate state of our Kindergarten-through-high-school system is a symptom of cultural cancer: We have become a slothful, self-indulgent, self-pitying nation of whining excuse-makers. We all want A’s for no effort. Our teachers and their students reflect our general culture of indiscipline and self-congratulation. Nor is it only the mopey-dopey left that has infected our public schools with a culture of mediocrity, when not outright failure. We all share in the blame (of which more below).

But we can’t even discuss the problem honestly and have to trim the conversation to keep it within politically correct patterns. Well, when yet another survey trumpets that the U.S. has fallen to sixth place in teaching math or science, or that we’re fifteenth in education overall, my reaction is “Okay, break those scores out by specific school locations.” Generally, our suburban and many small-town schools still deliver competitive (if less than optimal) educations. Our statistics skew sharply downward because of the appalling conditions in the inner-city and barrio holding pens and teacher’s-union bunkers we pretend are real schools. Read More: