There is new evidence of the decline of education in America. Scores on the ACT exam for the class of 2018 fell to their lowest levels in decades, according to the ACT's annual Condition of College and Career Readiness report. The report measured ACT results from all 50 states and D.C. and found that only 40 percent of students met the college readiness level in math--the lowest level since 2014. In fact, the average ACT math score fell to its lowest level in 20 years. In English, only 60 percent met the readiness level--the lowest number since the level was established.
As for what is causing these falling test scores, there are multiple theories. Some critics blame Common Core, the national education standards adopted by many states during the past decade. Others simply believe students aren't being properly prepared for tests like the ACT or SAT. "Whether you're a valedictorian or in the top ten percent of your school, you can still bomb these tests---it happens all the time," says Jean Burk with College Prep Genius. "Because these tests are based on your thinking skills."
She believes too many schools simply teach kids to spit out info like robots, rather than teaching and encouraging broader thinking skills. "If we could bring back logic, critical thinking, and reasoning skills, that would not only help students in their own personal lives, but certainly help them ace these standardized tests," says Burk.
Texas has not adopted Common Core, but shortcomings in the state's education system have been blamed for hurting the state's wealth.
Burk believes many young people today have developed bad learning habits by becoming too reliant on the internet and smartphones. "Technology is a love-hate relationship, it's great in many ways, it's a tool but shouldn't be a crutch, and I think it being overused is dumbing down our kids," says Burk. "Libraries are the most unused, best resource there is, and we need to get our kids back to the library and get them into reading."