Grandfather Economic Report series
| Grandfather Economic Report Home Page & Contents | Summary | Link Index | Feedback | What's New | Email

Grandfather Education Report
summary page
by Michael Hodges (email)
- a chapter of the Grandfather Economic Reports -

Graduation Hat

GOAL: The best quality in the world, without any doubt !
and - without any excuses!!

Dangerous Erosion
of Education Quality & Productivity
(proven with color graphics)

The Grandfather Economic Reports ( is a series of reports showing in picture-form threats to the economic future of families and their children, compared to prior generations - - from education quality to debt to savings to incomes to voting to healthcare to international competition to national security. You are now at the summary page of the chapter on Education, a very important chapter since unacceptable education quality is a very real and serious threat facing our young generation and their nation. Welcome. Some call this site one of the very best concerning education quality issues. It displays vital information in picture form, since 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' We hope your visit will find useful information to help you and your loved ones.

4 Questions asked by 2 grandfathers with 11 grandchildren


  1. A better quality education than received by children of other nations without any doubt, instead of lower quality? (one-third of our economy depends on trade - 3 times more than before - and global challenges to America are accelerating).
  2. To be better prepared to meet future economic challenges than all prior generations, or less prepared?
  3. The highest quality education at the lowest cost per student reasonably attainable?
  4. Or, less quality at high wasted cost and seriously compromise both their economic and personal futures, and that of their nation?

This is the summary page of a two-page picture report on education quality. First you will see 3 summary graphics, after which the table of contents to this chapter

Let us first examine the trend of education quality up to the mid-1990s - - and then the situation afterwards -

71% decline in education productivityThe poor level of education quality domestically and vs. foreign nations places our young at great risk.

This seriously impacts the economic future of our youth, including their future living standards - as they face the most internationally and technologically competitive era in history.

Here's a picture you may not have seen. It demonstrates the 71% decline in the education quality productivity index for the 34-year period up until SAT tests were revised in scoring methods and made less rigorous.

This index shows the relationship between education quality (SAT scores) and education spending (inflation-adjusted, '93 dollars) per student is worst than 34 years earlier - 71% worse. Despite rapidly rising inflation-adjusted spending per student over this period SAT scores declined. As a result, education productivity fell 71% - - as seen in the chart. (quality continued to deteriorate in the years following this chart, covered down the page).

(Note: Some say if one wants SAT scores in the future that cannot be compared to higher scores in past decades, without improving student learning, simply make the test less rigorous and change scoring as has been done - - just as if the distance to the left field baseball stadium fence was reduced to produce more 'home runs').

This chart confirms: 'The quality of schooling is far worse today than it was in 1955,'' Dr. Milton Friedman, Nobel laureate.

And, this decline in output quality occurred despite more spending per student and smaller class sizes, and despite more non-teaching employees per student, than before.

This chart further confirms the statement of another well-known economist: "There is an inverse relationship between spending and quality." Additionally, National Review reported, "students in the top 5 states in per-pupil expenditure fare worse on the SAT than students in the bottom five spending states."

The chart decline would be even steeper if costs of rising remedial courses required in colleges due to poor high school output were charged-back to secondary education costs - - which should have been done for accountability.

And how about today?
Answer: quality problems are worse, and more serious - not better

math and science literacy tests for seniorsHow have we done since the SAT tests were revised in content rigor and scoring methods? Following are later comparisons showing continued dismal quality performance - -

Were you surprised that in the Third International Math & Science    series (TIMSS) U.S. 12th graders scored behind every nation, except Cyprus and South Africa?

(Conducted on a four-year cycle, the first round of TIMSS was in 1995, the second in 1999 and the third in 2003.)

This chart shows the results. Note the red line for the U.S. ranking of our seniors. Even comparing our elite to the elite students of other nations, Americans were near the bottom.

And, Asian students (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.) did not participate in this latest test series - - although in prior such tests they scored well above the best in the chart you are looking at. This U.S. picture would have looked even worse if Asians had been included, and the average would have been much higher. Not a pretty sight.

The above statements are just representative of the voluminous evidence proving the sorry state of today's school quality well beyond the period shown in the first chart.

Clearly dismal performance continues, relative to ourselves and especially relative to foreign students.

Clearly, poor quality output of public schools is not because of too little spending per student - - its a system problem.

Here's additional proof of zero improvement, this one in reading:

 trend of spending vs. reading scores"What you are seeing in the left chart is the impact of ever more money being tossed at elementary and secondary public school education. The ever more money (in real dollars) is represented by the line that streaks upward, while the impact on public education--in this case, scores on reading tests--is represented by the line that is about flat. The results for scores on math, science and writing tests reveal about the same situation: a flattish line showing little improvement over the past 30 years.

For three decades, American taxpayers have obediently given the education establishment what it said it needed--mostly more money to lower student-teacher ratios. Well, student-teacher ratios, over a 35-year period, have fallen to 17.3 in 1995 from 25.8 in 1960. Yet, as Eric Hanushek, senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, argues: "Overall student performance has not improved, nor have U.S. students shown any improvement in international achievement tests."

And so, as you can see, while funds devoted to public school education have trebled, students' performance has languished. It's not as if this miserable result is a secret, either. The tests were conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a project mandated by Congress and run by the U.S. Department of Education. At any rate, you can see all this for yourself by visiting the Web site The remedy can only come from introducing competition into the public school market." - Source: Opinion Journal from The Wall Street Journal editorial page - 20 Dec. 2000 at

This is just a sample of the type pictures you will find in this Education Report series - with backup and comments by students, teachers, parents and professionals.

Further, you will learn about the 'dumbing down' of standards of quality measurement, textbooks and teaching methods, compared to prior generations - from primary school to college.

For answers to these critical education questions, browse the following mini-reports with pictures you have never seen. This may provide added insights concerning your future and that of your loved ones. First, BOOKMARK this page so you can return - - and then it is suggested you read each of the following picture sub-reports, starting with the color graphics at Item #1 below - you may be surprised.

Knowledge is Power, if you have it
(give each page a bit of time to load those neat color pictures - they are worth it).


  1. Education Report - main page ( ) - "primary & secondary school quality worse than 35 years ago." - 71% decline in quality to cost PRODUCTIVITY ratio - $72,000 per student wasted. This proven in picture form. Viewing this report, and its color graphics, is highly recommended.
  2. Page 2 of Main page of Education Report - powerful documents - teachers choose private schools - inflated grading standards - competition a must - data tables on decline quality productivity (SAT scores vs. spending per student) - articles, and RECOMMENDATIONS.
  3. International Education Report - OECD, the respected international organization: "U.S. elementary & secondary schools are mediocre, at best" - foreign nations more intense and successful developing math & science. (one-third of our economy depends on trade - 3 times more than before - and competition is accelerating while our students continue near bottom in international math & science tests). Also, check-out: International Test Evaluation Summary - DOE Secretary and the President were alarmed.
  4. College Report - Instead of holding to tough standards, prior mandatory college course requirements, admission standards, and classroom days significantly lowered, and grades are inflated more than ever before- while prices rise. Admission officers claim a large portion of their freshman require remedial courses in math and/or English, many admitted wrongly by virtue of high school grade inflation and social promotion.
  5. Parental Choice Report - not a 'rich-kid' gimmick; 57- 65% of minorities want vouchers and 66% of parents that receive them are satisfied with education quality achieved from their choice. Inner-city Catholic schools in Cleveland achieve a 99.6% graduation rate for poor, minority students attending with state vouchers to parents, compared to only 30% graduation rate from public schools.
  6. Centralized Power & Control - 50% of school funding controlled at federal-state levels - power to government & unions - not answerable to parents, or even local school boards. 93% less parental influence due to 85% fewer school districts. National PTA mimics unions not parents.
  7. Massive School Districts - 93% reduction in power & influence of parents, because of the massive shrinkage in the number of school districts per 10,000 population. And, 4 times higher rates of violence and discipline problems in large public schools compared to smaller schools - especially schools of more than 1,000 students.
  8. Union Power - in education.
  9. Poll: Voters consider public schools Mediocre or a Failure (Florida) - 67% cite low academic standards - 58% lax discipline - 47% incompetent teachers - 33% bad principals - 75% favor eliminating teacher tenure - 55% shrinking school districts.
  10. Polls Show Voucher support for private education accelerating - with high rate for minorities.
  11. Education Comments by teachers, parents & students - problems described from the inside. Quality teachers, parents and students need help. - and it's not arriving.
  12. Bilingual Education Report - a flawed social-engineering practice holding back minority children while wasting resources? A review of this controversial subject.
  13. Remedial Education Report - two-thirds of college freshmen require remedial courses because the basics were not learned in high school. Are high school diplomas 'bogus' even for those graduating near the top of their classes? Should high schools be charged back for graduating students who require remedial courses?
  14. Student-teacher ratio Report - Calling for smaller class size is perhaps the greatest myth invented by the education establishment. Quality actually fell instead of improving, as class sizes shrank, proving top-down mandates for smaller classes are not justified on a quality achievement basis. International students from larger class sizes blow away ours. The class-size myth suggests such as been created as an excuse for producing low quality, and as a justification for more money, staff and union members.
  15. Quality also declined during period of increasing ratio of non-teaching employees per student - Non-Teaching Report - indicating increased staff overheads are not justified and may be hindering quality achievement. Over staffing, excessive costs and low productivity are expected from all monopoly-based systems.
  16. And, quality declined and rates of violence and discipline problems increased as school districts and schools become larger - a need for downsizing & decentralization of public schools.
  17. Home Schoolers continue to significantly out-score others on tests - - a summary of recent convincing report data - stay-at-home parenting.
  18. Textbooks - studies (Jan. 2001) show 85% of middle schoolers use science text books significantly error-laden and unacceptable, although perhaps politically correct - and that math honors classes in high schools use texts not better than 8th grade basic readers 50 years ago. And last year, 200 mathematicians and scientists, including four Nobel Prize recipients deplored Dept. of Education math teaching methods. And, 'honors high school texts are no more difficult than an eighth grade reader was before World War II.' - - should we care?
  19. Grade Inflation - becoming out of control at universities for money reasons. Despite a higher percentage of high school graduates attending college than ever before, more than 44 percent of freshmen entering four-year colleges fall 2001 reported they had A averages in high school, compared to under 18 percent that averaged A's in 1968.
  20. Testing Standards and the 8th Grade Exam of 1895 - could you pass the test required to pass the 8th grade in 1895? Probably not, but neither could most of today's teachers and professors. Testing standards are a huge issue.
  21. Teachers - - within a monopoly system - - Many blame teachers for poor quality education, but is it not nave to expect high, measurable world-class quality from most employees of a monopoly system?
  22. Private vs. Public schools - - on average, private schools operate at a lower cost per student and produce significantly higher quality output.
  23. Recommendations from Bill Mechlenburg
  24. Public schools no place for teachers' kids - 25% send their kids to private schools.
  25. Recommendations to school boards from Michael Hodges
  26. What can parents do?
  27. To-do-list for students - - demand the best quality education, anywhere.
  28. Demise of the PTA - 75% drop
  29. A Joke - A History of Math Exams - Let's also be less serious - - relax, smile and learn how.
  30. Schools of Thought - Rick Henderson, Washington Editor of Reason. An excellent survey regarding education privatization.
  31. Additional links to related education sites, with excellent articles and data - see the Education section of the Links Page.

Where do you go from here?

You have just reviewed the summary page of the Education Report chapter. It is recommended you review each of the above education sub-reports with pictures you have never seen, starting with the first 2 links which include the main report page and then page 2.

Lastly, you have an Invitation to visit the HOME PAGE of the GRANDFATHER ECONOMIC REPORTS - - a collection of reports reviewing other difficult economic conditions facing young families and their children, compared to prior generations. There you will find a complete listing of each of the mini-picture reports in the series comparing today with yesterday and the trends - from education to family incomes to debt to social security to government spending to foreign trade to voting trends to healthcare to national security.

This grandfather is not very proud of economic & education quality trends facing the young generation. Hard data-based information might assist their futures.

Exchange information via E-mail to: Michael Hodges
Constructive input and links are welcome


| Home & Contents | Summary | | Feedback | What's New | Link Index | Eye-opener | Must See |

Copyright 1997-2010 Michael W. Hodges. The Grandfather Economic Report series is the intellectual property of its author; all rights reserved under Copyright Conventions. Permission to redistribute all or part of this series for non commercial purposes is granted by the author, provided the associated web page address is included and full credit given to the Grandfather Economic Report and the author, Michael Hodges. Notice appreciated via email.