Why Can’t Johnny Get a Job? - Granite Grok

Why Can’t Johnny Get a Job?

School Choice

The story from the employers or human resource officers over the past 10 years hasn’t changed. For every ten applicants for an entry-level job, over half cannot pass a simple literacy test.


We’d like to thank Karen Testerman for this Op-Ed. If you have an Op-Ed or LTE
you would like us to consider please submit it to Skip@GraniteGrok or Steve@GraniteGrok.com.


They have a deficiency in reading, writing, or doing basic math.

Of the remaining applicants, half will not pass the drug test, leaving two potential employees. Alas, maybe one will have a work ethic, i.e. willing to show up regularly and willing to put forth the effort to accomplish the tasks.

A brief review of statistics from 2016 the nation’s report card reveals not only declining rates but adjustments in what is reported. No longer do we see numerical reports, but now it is “basic” or “proficient.” And what pray tell does that really convey.

Interestingly while illiteracy is declining worldwide according to UNICEF, articles continue to lament the declining literacy in the United States. Many focus on why but I wonder when did the shift occur? There was a time when less than 5% of Americans were not able to read and write.

In National Education in the United States of America, (1812) DuPont de Nemours observes,

“The United States are more advanced in their educational facilities than most countries.

“They have a large number of primary schools; and as their paternal affections protects children from working in the fields, it is possible to send them to the schoolmasters – a condition which does not prevail in Europe.

“Most young Americans, therefore, can read, write and cipher. Not more than four in a thousand are unable to write legibly – even neatly…”

Historically, the federal centralization of the Department of Education had the seeds of beginning in 1838 with Massachusetts State Senator, Horace Mann, with the establishment of a state board of education. The first compulsory attendance law surfaces and follows in Massachusetts in 1852. The idea did not fully attain official status as an independent Cabinet-level Department until 1979 with the heavy influence of the National Education Association.

Nowhere in the Constitution is education a protected right. Education in the early periods of this republic was a family affair with strong religious practice. This nation built on biblical principles was very literate. The educators did not have degrees from educational institutions, the government was not involved, and public derived monies were not showered into the education coffers. One thing was prevalent, parents chose where and who expanded the knowledge they provided for their children. It was the epitome of choice in education.

Yet as more and more efforts are in place to encourage school choice through government intervention, once again, like Groundhog Day, the solutions center around spending more money to pay for school choice. However, the right question not being asked: Are the children in America being educated?

Clearly when according to a report by Brandon Gaille in 2016

  • 1 in 4 children grow up not knowing how to read.
  • 32 million adults cannot read in the United States equal to 14% of the population.
  • 20% of graduating seniors cannot read their graduation diplomas
  • 85% of juveniles who interact with the court system are considered functionally illiterate
  • The number of beds necessary is estimated based on the reading level assessment of fourth-graders because 70% of inmates in America’s prison cannot read above a fourth-grade level.

HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM! The current government solution to educating the American public is not working. There is no question when over the past 25 years literacy continues to decline while over that same period of time spending has multiplied 500%. More money is NOT the answer. Perhaps it is time to return to family-centered education based on biblical principles.

While Educational Savings Accounts are surfacing in one form or another, is more governmental bureaucracy utilizing more public monies with more requirements really the answer?

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