Over the past 30 years, the Kansas City schools have slowly slid into the same abyss. There are so many reasons why the schools have gone into the dumper, but gone there they have. Now, as generations of ill educated people pass by, and education is less and less valued, the schools get worse and worse. What came first? The bad schools? The bad values? What has gone on with the drug trade in our poorer neighborhoods and the lure of easy money? The flight of those who value education more?--first the White Flight driven by prejudice and ignorance, then the flight of Black families that want their kids to be well educated. It gets harder and harder to overcome the poor family/parental support that the kids bring with them to school. Expectations drop. Discipline goes away. Instead of reinforcing school rules, parents threaten the school with lawsuits and blame. All this going on in a nation that is doing less and less manual labor and more and more things that require skills. Things that require the ability to read, do math, comprehend and follow concepts and ideas--basically the skill to be able to think. Both our institutions and our values are failing us here with the result that our abilities are decreasing daily as a nation and people.
You don't have to go to college to be an innovator, but you do have to develop an intellectual curiosity about the world around you, and have some basic and fundamental skills to create something special. That starts younger then college. We are losing those youngsters. It's hurting us already. To really fix it, we have to renounce our anti-intellectual bent, our lack of value of being educated in the family, our blame passing and our lack of expectations. We can work on the institution all day long, and spend lots of money, but these are the things that really need fixing.