- - Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Just when you thought liberals were focusing only on destroying our government, there is now ample evidence that fellow travelers have been working diligently to destroy the ideas and dreams of our young people.

With the establishment of the Department of Education, former President Jimmy Carter gave the liberal scourge of hopelessness an open door to assault not just the future, but also the free, competitive and creative minds of youth everywhere.

The latest symptom of an educational system abandoning its young charges has been met with some humor but should also be received with concern: According to a survey by Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy of 1,000 adults 18 years and older, “a full 48 percent of respondents said that they aren’t sure where chocolate milk comes from,” Food & Wine magazine reported.

Perhaps even more shocking is 7 percent of adults think chocolate milk comes from … brown cows. Admit it, you’re laughing.

In all seriousness, this involves some of the most basic knowledge about food, nature and, well, life.

Extrapolating from the approximately 242.5 million adults in the United States, that means almost 17 million adults think delicious, chocolatey milk naturally comes from cows who match the color of the yummy beverage. This is nothing compared to the 116.4 million adults who just aren’t sure where it comes from.

Instead, it’s safe to say God wanted us to earn our chocolate milk by giving us minds clever and curious enough to figure out that combining sugar and cocoa beans with milk would produce the beverage that got many of us through our childhoods. No, not whisky, but the fabulous chocolate milk.

Innovation is stirred by competition, which is a necessary component to success. One of our earliest lessons about the importance of defeat comes from elementary school and high school. After all, why compete when one of the possible outcomes of being challenged is failure? Because defeat is often the best way to learn about what really works, what our own weaknesses are, and what provides an incentive to get it right the next time.

How serious is our problem? In 2013, the New York Post reported, “Nearly 80 percent of city public high-school graduates who enrolled in a City University of New York community college last year had to relearn the basics of reading, writing or math — the highest percentage in years.”

The Statistic Brain website, having gathered 2016 information from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy, gives us even more of a perspective. The number of U.S. adults who can’t read: 32 million, while the percentage of high school graduates who can’t read is at 19 percent, or 2 out of every 10 students are graduating without knowing how to read. This makes one wonder if we’re graduating kids without that basic skill, what else are we doing to kids by casually advancing them through the system without any apparent expectation?

Could this explain the growing trend of ending the tradition of having a valedictorian address their graduating class at the end of the school year?

“The ranking of students from No. 1 on down, based on grade-point averages, has been fading steadily for about the past decade. In its place are honors that recognize everyone who scores at a certain threshold,” U.S. News & World Report reported.

“This year, one school in Tennessee had 48 valedictorians. … Administrators worry about the college prospects of students separated by large differences in class rank despite small differences in their GPAs. There are also concerns about intense, potentially unhealthy competition,” the magazine noted.

This is a remarkable turn of events. This notion of “unhealthy competition” comes from the left, of course, and is a necessary element to their narrative that everyone is entitled to what anyone else may have. It removes the personal aspect of success and accomplishment and replaces it with demands and agitation for “social justice.”

The fact is, school is to prepare students for life, within which competition is a large part of accomplishment. What good comes from shielding students from what life has in store? Competition pushes us to find our best selves; it forces us to evaluate who we are and what we want as individuals.

A reward-based system is meant to drive everyone to do better. This is true in business and our personal lives. This reflection of real life better prepares us for a future where scores of other smart, determined young people are competing, yes competing, for the same job.

In the meantime, as long as educators continue to see competition as “unhealthy,” society will receive another generation of people who should be leaders but instead won’t know how to read, write or run a business. This is more than political correctness, it’s a crime against our youth and society itself.

• Tammy Bruce, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk show host.

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