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There was a time when our schools used to be pretty good. I think we can all easily understand that our educational system has needed to expand its curriculum through the years to deal with a world of exponentially advancing technology and the computer age. However, there are certain basics that should not be compromised. The basic foundations of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are still necessary, with a health mix in History, Health, and Civics. During a NBC Tonight Show, Jay Leno showed people on the street pictures of the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. These people, who appeared not to be mentally defective and were adults easily past high-school age, did not recognize the structures. Naturally if they didn’t recognize them, they also didn’t know where they were located. Am I the only one that finds this to be a disgusting statement about our educational system in America? A recent study released and presented by only a few media services, indicated that as many as 15% of teenagers did not know who George Washington was or from whom we won our independence in the Revolutionary War.

Did you know that within many school systems there are automatic and social promotions so that no one ever “fails”? Some schools have even done way with testing in order to do away with the possible trauma caused by having to compete and/or fail, or have one’s performance directly compared to another’s performance. Even if a school has no such policies in place, I personally know many educators who promote kids to the next grade, regardless of performance, rather than have to explain the student’s inability to pass the course. Unfortunately, students being passed along under such circumstances are cheated out of the education they deserve, and those that do pass, now have a diploma that has been watered down in value. The biggest problem being that the WORLD will not be handing out any such free passes through life.

Just recently in my own county the School Board voted to change the requirements for receiving an “A” from 94 to 92. I’m not even going to try and explain their reasons and justification, but it was basically so more kids who were working so hard would be able to get A’s instead of B’s. If they want more A’s then why not lower the requirements to 50 or 60 and they’ll have a hoard of “A” students! WOW! With this much common sense running loose in the School Board, I’m surprised they didn’t vote to give everyone that shows up for class a scholarship and diploma. That way the school system will be able to claim the stature of graduating 100% all “A” students. All the students will feel proud of themselves, they will all be equally educated, none will face any embarrassment of falling short or being lower than anyone else in the class, and they’ll be ready for college and life! RIGHT?

Bill Gates, founder and CEO of Microsoft, once addressed the kinds of problems generated by many of today’s feel-good, politically correct teaching policies when he gave a graduating class the following rules for life after graduation.

RULE 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it.

RULE 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

RULE 3: You will NOT make 50 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

RULE 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.

RULE 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

RULE 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

RULE 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not.  In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

RULE 10: Television is NOT real life.  In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

RULE 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.