America Lost Its Edge, but Putin Didn’t Do It

When were we left behind?

“If he’s a good hitter- why don’t he hit good?” That famous quote is officially known as the ‘Moneyball theory.’

This predication is in reference to the 2011 film ‘Moneyball,’ and here is the basic point it explores:  If something works, why isn’t it working?

It was not very long ago that America boasted having the best-educated people in the world. Many would certainly agree that much of the credit was also due to working a system, well- that worked. Although names like Steve Jobs, Thomas Sowell, Bill Gates, and Milton Friedman to name a few, are represented in this unique category, over the years unfortunately, we have abdicated that coveted position.

Yet to those like author Patrick Kiger of, the results of our best efforts in this arena have been paradoxical. “In 1970,” offers Kiger, “only 48.4 percent of high school graduates went on to higher education, according to a study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Applied Economics. But that edge is negated, because fewer than half of today’s students manage to stay in school and earn degrees, a slightly lower completion rate than baby boomers. According to the CFR report, the United States has the highest dropout rate in the developed world.

A likely reason is the astronomical rise in tuition costs during that time. From 1970 to 2007, tuition costs at colleges and universities rose by nearly 1000 percent, according to personal finance blogger and author Trent Hamm.” While this may shed some light on the reasons for continuation of education, addressing the dynamics of the how and why’s of a student’s focus is much more of a challenge. Historically and statistically, those closest to the child (parent, older relative, spiritual leader) have always been the most influential. But what if one or more of those relationships do more harm than good when it comes to keeping students on track?

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Dream Jobs

A recent Harris poll in Business Insider disclosed these startling results: “Children in the US and the United Kingdom were three times as likely to want to be YouTubers or vloggers as astronauts when they grow up. The survey asked 3,000 kids ages 8 to 12 to choose from five professions to answer which they wanted to be when they grew up: astronaut, musician, professional athlete, teacher, or vlogger/YouTuber.

Though the top choice among kids in the US and the UK was vlogger/YouTuber, 56% of kids in China said they wanted to be an astronaut.” “Neil Armstrong,” the article adds, “became a role model in the eyes of kids everywhere 50 years ago when he became the first person to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.” Due to America’s “less than competitive” approach concerning the value of education, self-aggrandizement has virtually replaced self-improvement, thereby explaining much of the dichotomy in America’s rankings internationally as well as domestically.

To wit, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (along with others) have concluded the following: “The United States ranks 27th in the world for its investments in education and health care as measurements of its commitment to economic growth, according to the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital.” It continues, “The US’s ranking of 27th in 2016 represents a significant decrease from its 1990 ranking of 6th. It comes from having 23 years of expected human capital, measured as the number of years a person can be expected to work in the years of peak productivity, taking into account life expectancy, functional health, years of schooling, and learning.”

So, one may ask, “what has changed?”

Between 1960 and 2000, the family dynamic has drastically changed. From the increase of single parent households and “latchkey kids,” to the increase of youth autonomy and programs geared to emancipate children
from their parents and guardians, the role of teachers as well as academic institutions has simultaneously increased and expanded. In addition, parents making an effort to unencumber their children’s ability to self-govern, have relinquished much of their parental rights in order to employ a less authoritative role.

As a result, the parents, the institution, as well as the child have contributed to the delinquency of the minor in question. To the aforementioned “Moneyball” reference; if that which is claimed to work is not delivering the desired results, it is incumbent upon us all to quantify the reasons why. The definition of insanity is, was, and always has been repeating an action, while expecting a change in the result. Suffice it to say, we are failing our children. Regardless of our best intentions, we can ill afford to leave any child behind. A failure to address such a salient concern is not only a continued sleight to our children-but to us all, both now and for generations to come.

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