As an educator for 40 years, I believe I know many causes of the dumbing down of schools.
1. Look to the parents' lack of good judgment that forces the boards of education, the administrators, the teachers and hence schools to make grading easier, the courses to be watered down and hamstringing educators wanting to implement the courses they feel the students really need for preparation for life.2. Originally the course that helped high school students prepare for college was called anatomy/physiology. A few years ago it was eliminated, watered down and given the name of human biology. Now the state Board of Education has eliminated that course, watered it down and renamed it biology with a human emphasis.
3. Some Salt Lake Valley administrators have hobbled teachers by saying that the students in their areas are as bright as any other students in the valley and therefore force teachers to raise their grades (that is lower their standards) although the facts do not match statewide SAT tests.
4. Students in most junior high schools are told that their academic grades and citizenship in seventh and eighth grades do not matter and they needn't worry, as only ninth grade counts. Many junior high schools make students repeat classes failed in English, mathematics, science and history, using their optional choices in eighth and ninth grades, but most junior high schools just pass them on.
5. The students' written work is really not up to par. I wrote out a paper of what I expected for student reports and found out that they have a hard time putting five paragraphs together.
6. Many parents seem to care more about the grade than about the learning.
7. Wages for teachers are abominably low, eliminating many educated people who would normally be attracted to the teaching profession.
John C. Josephson