Where is the U.S. headed if SAT reading scores are at the lowest in nearly 40 years?
September 15th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Where is the U.S. headed if SAT reading scores are at the lowest in nearly 40 years?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

You probably already suspected this, but just in case….

SAT reading scores for high school seniors this year are the lowest they've been in almost 40 years.

The College Board - a non-partisan group that administers the test - reports that SAT scores are down in every subject; dropping three points in reading, one point in math and two points in writing.

Overall, the combined average SAT score of 1500 was down six points from last year and down 18 points from five years ago. A perfect score is 2400.

The College Board says scores are lower due to the growing diversity of students taking the test:

In 2011, 44% of test-takers were minorities, 36% were the first in their family to go to college and 27% didn't speak English exclusively.

The test administrators say more students than ever are taking the SAT, which includes more students from different ethnic, economic and academic backgrounds.

Meanwhile, these disappointing SAT scores come as schools have been working to raise scores on state standardized tests under the No Child Left Behind law. But it sounds like a lot of children may be getting left behind.

Experts acknowledge that we should be worried. They suggest that high schools need more rigorous classes to prepare students for college . Gee... there's an idea!

Others suggest that educators have been putting more focus on math and science in this age of technology - and not as much on reading and writing.

But without reading and writing, how will the next generation of Americans be able to communicate - and lead this country out of the serious problems we have?

Here’s my question to you: Where is the U.S. headed if SAT reading scores are at the lowest in nearly 40 years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

John in Alabama:
Jack, The SAT scores will get worse before they get better. The "No Child Left Behind" program only funded the testing of students. There were no funds for remediation of children who needed a little help. Therefore, this nation is now seeing low test scores in all standardized tests. In addition, the Baby Boomer generation is retiring, and the Bart Simpson generation is taking over education.

James in Greenville, North Carolina:
Jack, It means that they have all got a phone that tweets and chats and takes photos and accesses the internet. That is all my grandkids do these days. I am not sure if they even know how to read.

I am afraid that it means that the next crop of new voters is ready.

Test are not the most important thing in evaluation how smart a kid is there is a lot to learn out of school they have to deal with that they learn and it has nothign to do with algebra or spanish the deucation is so hyped up on one test they forget other stuff that determines how smart a kid will become.

Tony in Southport, North Carolina:
If the people are smart enough, they'll back legislation that gets the teachers fired for poor performance, and takes away tenure. The kids are the ones who suffer while unions and teachers benefit.

Martin on Facebook:
Well they're about to get lower. All kids do in school now is text and take pictures with their phones. When I was in school, the teachers used to actually teach us and had the courage to take our phones away.

Ernie in Vermont:
I guess that explains the rise of the Tea Party.

Posted by
Filed under: Education
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Larry -Denver

    Quite simply it means our education system like our infrastructure is falling apart. We don't educate our teachers, those teachers, once tenured can't be bothered worrying about how they educate our children. Most parents are not spending enough quality time in home educating their children away from school. Would help if English were a first language for students. Might help in reading comprehension.

    September 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  2. calaurore9

    Quick communicating. Tweets, texts. Grammar, spelling out. Emoticons in. Books out. Kindle in. Vocabulary? Coupla words will do. Sad.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    September 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  3. Andres

    Nothing other than tawdry fact that we are ensorcelled by a system of standardized testing that is not representative of a student and his potential to do well in school.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  4. rheapdx1

    What this means is that the US is heading towards being a 3rd rate country. The slide started long before the current adminstration, but as accelerated in the past couple decades due to the society becoming less and less literate overall, barring a talkshow host tells them what to read or how to think. What is even scarier is that this was predicted by some of the better minds in science and social fiction: Huxley, George Lucas in 'THX-1138' and even the movie 'Network', which in one speech by the main character, Howard Beale stated the very sad and pathetic numbers about those who read books, let alone newspapers. Add to this that in some communities, it is practically considered to be part of the normal day to day that being literate places them in the minority. This along with the same issue with math, be it basic or advanced.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  5. Annie, Atlanta

    It would be interesting to see statistics on who is in charge and where regarding these numbers. There has been an effort, nationwide, for decades, for Republican takeover of school boards. I think this goes hand in hand with their attempt to keep us ignorant and to privatize our public education system. Of course I realize this sounds paranoid, but I've witnessed it first-hand here in GA. The county where we live has their own extra special standardized test, created by a Republican, for a Republican school board. Coincidence? I think not. I'm just lucky my kids were fortunate enough to have a reading specialist Grandmother to help us battle the ignorance.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  6. Russ in PA

    Hey! I are a grad-u-ate of hi skool and I kan reed an rite ok. An I thank teh Departmeant of Edukation four all that I am. LOL

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    September 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  7. RB in CA

    The low SAT reading scores are a result of 40 years of educational budget cuts, an apathetic education system and arrogant and lazy students who were raised in an environment of generational entitlement:

    Less money means less educating.

    Instructors begin their careers very idealistic, but soon turn cynical at the onset of tenure.

    Generation X, Y and Z all genuinely believe they are entitled to EVERYTHING life has to offer free of charge; they want all the benefits but none of the responsibility.

    RB in CA
    Chino Hills, CA

    September 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  8. Rick, Medina, OH


    Perhaps, nearly $2 trillion spent on useless wars could have been better spent?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  9. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    It means just what the College Board says it means – more people are taking the test in hopes of going to college. If they are prepared when they get there by better education, this is a good thing. If they are not ready, this is not so good as it costs money to drop out of school.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  10. Kevin SD CA

    It is called contagion of aberration, and being dumbed down from entitlements rather than accountability! Now you have a United States Secretary of Education who thinks that drills to learn, and repetition to gain certainty is harmful! Who are these people? How do you learn without practical application?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  11. Mel - Houston

    Elect Rick Parry and see the headline in four years, "SAT at a 45 year low". If your wondering why the year differential is 5 the election isn't until next year.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  12. LLW

    It means that No Child Left Behind is a complete failure. We aren't teaching our children how to think critically, or to love learning. We are teaching to the test. I believe that NCLB was put in place to intentionally screw up the Public Education system. Bush hates anything that offers a level playing field for the Middle class. We just aren't his kind of people.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  13. Jenna Roseville CA

    What does it mean if SAT reading scores are at the lowest in nearly 40 years?


    This means that we invest and care more about our Corrupt Government, CEO Salaries, BIG OIL, and WARS than our own children.

    If we don't invest in our Children then we have NO future!

    Roseville CA

    September 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  14. Eric

    Mostly that more students that in the past would not consider going to college are looking at it and taking the SAT. This brings down the average. This is generally due to the poor job market and is a good thing, if it serves as a wake-up call for these particular students and for America at large. While America is not doing the job it needs to do for our students, this particular statistic should not be misread.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  15. Mark from Voorhees, NJ

    it is reflective of the country at large, witness the clueless collection of anti-science, anti-education, anti-logic Republican presidential candidates who actually are considered acceptable by a large minority of the country. It is also a result of 8 years of testing rather than teaching in which too many kids have been left behind.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  16. ImALibertarian

    From Houston –

    If SAT reading scores are at the lowest in nearly 40 years, it must mean that the Federal Department Of Education is over 40 years old.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  17. Bob from Melbourne

    It means we should re-evaluate collective bargaining for Teachers. We keep paying more and more and getting less and less. I don't know of any other place where you're guaranteed a job for life. As long as we have tenure its just going to get worse

    September 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  18. Ed from Texas

    It may not be good for the country, but if SAT scores go any lower, this 64-year-old may finally qualify as a National Merit Scholar.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  19. james in greenville nc

    Jack, it means that they have all got a phone that tweets and chats and takes photos and accesses the internet. That is all my grandkids do these days. I am not sure if they even know how to read.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  20. Noel Sivertson Roswell New Mexico.

    When we have engineers and MBAs flipping burgers and making pizzas why do SAT reading scores matter anymore?

    When cuts have to made education is the first to go. Education is not a profit center for business so it keeps dropping lower and lower on the nation's priority list.

    Republicans declared war on education years ago when the NEA and teacher's unions were formed. They will surely defeat the teachers and classroom portion of Obama's job plan because it will cost money and as long as brainpower can be imported from abroad why spend it educating our own?

    As long as education remains a political football, especially public education, it has nowhere to go but down. Neither do our kids.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  21. Dave - Phx, Az

    Right where the rich Republicans want us, to a third world country. They can create jobs at slave wages and claim victory.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  22. Lloyd, Penticton, Canada

    What a sad state the once great United States seems to be in, Jack.
    As always for Republicans money is more important than children. They won't rebuild decaying schools (mainly in low income and poverty areas) they want to fire thousands of teachers, they are such hypocrites they don't accept what most people in the world know, children are that countries major asset and their education should be paramount.
    What is the percentage of Americans living in poverty (continually growing) because of Bush and Republican tax and other policies?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  23. Tom in Desoto, TX

    As long as education is neglected, don't bother telling anyone about No Child Left Behind, this country will continue to decline. For most of the last 30 years military enlistment, defense spending, and political terrorism about the need for both will continue to eroded educational needs. An education is not needed to shoot a rifle, other positions more so. Many of our young fall for a John Wayne movie (he never served), a politician waving the flag and jets flying over a sport and the months quota gets filled. How many in high school cannot tell you what S.A.T. stand for?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  24. Dennis north carolina

    We all know that the education system inthis country is a failure. We educate our children to pass the test instead of educating our our children to increase their knowledge on many subjects. when I was in school, the sat test was given in our junior or senior yrs to be used to get into college not to rate our level in certain subjects. the decline of our education system started in the mid-1960s because we were consider to smart and the power to be did not want to lose control of power.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  25. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Up the creek without a paddle. The future generations don't have to worry about the debt as they won't be able to read or write or do simple math and it doesn't seem to matter as we keep cutting education so we can have more wars. The only thing they'll need to know is how to aim a gun and pull the trigger.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  26. Jk from Minnesota

    It headed toward where the powerful few (like the Koch Brothers) want them to head, Jack. uneducated and easily led by the powerful; the way it is in many third world countries. My guess is that's what the Koch Brothers and the other powerful are working toward.

    Instead of focusing on funding the miltary industrial complex, this country had better fix and fund our children's education.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  27. Ken in California

    We are headed to be a 4th world country. By then most will think SAT is a past and past participle of sit. But then they won't know what a participle is.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  28. chris

    test are nott he most important thing in evaluation how smart a kid is there is a lot to learn out of school they have to deal with that they learn and it has nothign to do with algebra or spanish the deucation is so hyped up on one test they forget other stuff that determines how smart a kid will become

    September 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  29. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    Every tool used to evaluate the learning skills, behaviors or competency of a person must be regularly evaluated to assure that the test is repeatable, that is it is consistent in how it arrives at a score and is also valid, that is what is being reported is consistent with the objectives of the test. I would assume that the SAT in current terms is neither. It may have been good back in 1950 but is probably not the tool to measure the potential of incoming college students in 2012. Learning today is totally different than 60 years ago so the test must be designed to meet today's standards. Reading on your kindle,nook or ipad, if you read a word that is not understood it can be researched in seconds. In my mind the test is flawed and is not consistent with the capabilities of today's world. Albert Einstein stated, "That which is easily referenced should not be committed to memory."

    September 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  30. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    It looks like the U.S. is headed to a third world status. This is one good sign that we need to raise taxes on the most wealthy. We need to improve and update our public educational system in order to improve the SAT scores. Meanwhile the republicans want more cuts, they just don't get it or they do not care. Their children go to the best private schools and to the best colleges. If their children had to go to public schools and come out uneducated maybe they would realize what kind of crisis we have on our hands. Then maybe they might ask their rich friends to pay their fair share in order to keep up and compete with the other industrialized nations.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  31. Marion

    We will be just were the republicans want us to be, uneducated, poor, & jobless. If you keep taking from schools & put burdens on the them that cause them to lose money (no child left behind) we will never get ahead. Our kids are our best asset. It should be an investment as important as any in our future.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  32. dave in nashville

    Fact check Jack, the unionization of teachers was rooted in the 60's, took hold just thereafter....this is math made easy, and reading and writing followed suit graduating kids that can't function educationally because of teachers who just don't give a damn.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  33. Mr. D

    The same place we have been going for a number of years-down! Unfortunately it seems to be at an accelerated pace. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  34. Robert Doman

    I am afraid that it means that the next crop of new voters is ready.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  35. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It clearly demonstrate that we still are not doing what is needed to help these students build the reading skills they will need to deal with increasingly complex high school courses. The US is on a trend of producing more unsuccessful individuals who will be unable to survive the changing times of the world.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  36. Ron WPAFB

    Jack, I told you yesterday where we were headed on your second question of the day, but you didn't list it. Do you really want us to watch your show? It's pretty much second/third hand news, no wait 27 hand news, yeah CNN repeats the news all day long! Your moderator must be a prude! There was nothing bad in my response, who is your moderator and what education does he/she have. Probably Poli Sci which is two words you should never put together, it's not a science, it's surley not journalism!

    Lets try again, The GOP have blocked every social bill for two and a half years, including Education, GOP in Congress want cuts in education and every other social program. But of course, even Hitler knew to be effective at propaganda you had to keep the people uneducated and only let them hear what you repeated again and again and again. Just like the Catch Phrases of the GOP, the sound bites that by themselves do not explain the complete message. Here's a few, Don't tax the Job Creators, Debt, Don't give Obama a Blank Check, Socialized Medicine, on and on firing up their poor 45 IQ followers who themselves are poor but want to be seen on the Rich team!!!!

    We have lasted 235 years as a country, a Government, that used to be touted as the "Best", "The Greatest Country in the World"! And now, don't you see, the GOP are the very Government we fought off in 1776! The same kind of disregard for the common people, Taxes on the poor and not the Rich, can't you see it, Jack! If they are allowed to continue to destroy all the virtues this country was founded on, we're done! Really, we can't last like this much longer! And yet they delay, they won't vote on President Obama's Jobs Bill! And they have complete disrespect for the Office of The President of The United States and it is purely RACIAL! The Good old White Peoples Party rides again! Boehner, Cantor and especially Mitch McConnell are going to play politics for the next 14 months just to unseat President Obama, and you guys don't call them out?????? And today, once again, Boehner refuses any new taxes even though the Rich and Corporations are getting Tax breaks that we want to eliminate, and loopholes for the Rich but Boehner wants the loopholes!

    Our SAT scores are one of the lists of failures completely due to the policies of the GOP in Congress and the Republican Governors who are cutting every social program, getting ride of the unions, and not taxing Big Business and the Rich! How many times do you have to hear it Jack, before you and Wolf start pointing the finger at the Republicans? It's no longer funny! Course your moderator probably won't list this one either, just like the GOP Congress!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  37. Tony from Southport, NC

    If the people are smart enough, they'll back legislation that gets the teachers fired for poor performance, and takes away tenure. The kids are the ones who suffer while unions and teachers benefit.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  38. Pete in Georgia

    Fear not Jack !! We will still always lead the world in useless personal media, cell phones, smart phones, dumb phones and the rest of the toys that distract young folks from anything remotely serious or important. After all...............this is America.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  39. Jamie in St. Louis

    I don't know where we're headed Jack but I think it's time that people wake up and realize that increasing spending on education isn't the answer. That's all we ever hear but we spend more on education every year than any other country and it's not yielding results. We need some people in congress that are more interested in fixing our education system rather than just placating unions and special interests.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  40. John from Alabama

    Jack: The SAT scores will get worse before they get better. The "No Child Left Behing" program only funded the testing of children/students, and rewarding the smart schools. By the way, the rewards for being smart were not very good. There were no funds for remediation of children/students who needed a little help or those needing a great deal of help; therefore, this nation is now seeing low test scores in all standardized test. In addition, the Baby Boomer generation is retiring, and the Bart Simpson generation is taking over education. President George W. Bush started no child left behind program, and George sort looks like Bart. Don't think.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  41. Bill of New Mexico

    It means that "No Child Left Behind" was not only ineffective, but was damaging to America's education system!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  42. Jayne

    Unfortunately, one of our political parties seems to view education as a bad thing and is gleefully cutting funds for teachers and schools. You can usually identify the members of that particular party on Internet postings because they can't spell and don't know a noun from a verb. Where are we headed? Given the outsourcing of what jobs there are and lack of basic social services for many, I'd say third world status. And we used to be such a great nation. Very sad.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  43. carlos Magallanes

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I taught for 35 years. I have a M.A. Ed. The two policies that have ruined education, at least in California, are the "No child left behind" and the SAT tests. Teachers were asked to monitor the tests, but the biggest flaw is there is no student accountability for failure. Students would not take the tests seriously. I often saw students mark anything on the answer sheet, then lay their heads down for the rest of the test period. As far as reading is concerned, a teacher must display his Stull bill objectives, his objectives for the day's lesson, and then take roll. If he has to transfer to another classroom, he must then display his objectives again. This all takes class time away from the student. No wonder student reading scores have fallen.

    Carlos Magallanes

    September 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  44. Joe


    Perhaps SAT Low Reading Scores are indicative of a new paradigm toward educating our young. What is going to be the new language in an era of tablet computers, images, and the reduction of reading books. Perhaps our new education system needs to be developed around a new language, alphabet, system of learning.

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    September 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  45. Richard C.

    Jack, here's a radical statement; SAT scores are trending lower because America's kids are becoming more stupid by the year. The statistics support this statement. We keep throwing more millions at education and the bar gets lower by the year. Quality teachers and less political correctness may be the answer; stronger teacher unions are not.
    Malvern, PA

    September 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  46. Ron

    I would guess that more money is spent on education in this country
    than anything else. Might be a good idea to cut that spending. It;s not helping.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  47. Tony

    Look, if you have crappy education, you will get crappy test scores. It's simple stuff.

    I am getting annoyed that much of the older generation who voted in the people that got us into this financial hole by not doing enough research on the facts and being swayed by demagogues are continuing to hold up necessary changes by becoming angry and irrational whenever politicians want them to.

    Please wake up and help my generation and the nation out.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  48. Loren

    What percentage of high school students are taking the test? What are the demographics of the test subjects versus prior years? Are the test questions relevant to current educational subject matter? Statistics are meaningless without context and crying the sky is falling based on test scores is not much better than Chicken Little.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  49. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    This ain't good news.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  50. david

    it means the influence in evry day life from the 20th century housing side-effects ,that make it to loud to study in homes coupled with the proliferation of malt liqour has been derailing childrens progress..in large part to the 3rd world ways inside this country ..we are filled with bullies who beat down people trying to be proper

    September 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  51. bonnie from NJ

    I guess if all you are going to offer is $8 an hour service jobs, you have to dumb down the population. We should be ashamed.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  52. Bill in S. TX

    The SAT, GRE scores of the wealthiest American's children are very high and not falling at all.
    The rich have no intention of having an educated middle class, we might want to have jobs with living wages and benefits which are not in the plans of those who have bought the levers of government.
    You will notice Mr Perry, Gov of TX has just CUT 60,000 public school teachers in his race to put the US at the bottom of the world's educational systems.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  53. curtis in philadelphia

    I don't know, but it scares the hell out of me; as well it should you Jack, imagine if no one could read your questions, you'd be out of a job.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  54. Peter Giacobbi, Jr., Ph.D.

    Lowering SAT scores in recent years reflects an overall shift in educational values. From early childhood to higher education, the entire institution of education is treated like a political football. The resulting messages to children and parents is that education is not important, teachers are not worth their pay, and America's youth can find ways to cheat the system. I DECRY THE CYNICISM, DISBLIEF, AND UNDERMINING OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. Our public education system has made this country great and we must wholeheartedly support this important institution.

    Peter Giacobbi, Jr., Ph.D.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  55. Mary C in PA

    I can tell you it scares me Jack. These are the future leaders of our country. We already know what is like to have a president with a C average and we know how that worked out. It just so happens that he is the one who has done alot of damage to our education system with No Child Left Behind. So much time is placed on taking those tests that I don't think the subject is being taught as well as it could be and there are allegations of cheating in more than one school district. We are spending money in other countries to improve education there but we are letting our schools fail. We give tax breaks to the richest 2 percent in the country and cut education. How are we ever going to compete in the world if our kids are getting dumber and dumber because apparently our government doesn't put a value on a great education here.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  56. Chris B

    I was born and raised in a third world country. I have lived the American Dream for the past 24+ years. It is still possible to live this dream if Americans are willing to work hard and sacrifice. Our daughter who was born in America did just receive a 800 on her SAT Reading and 780 on the Writing. She completed her high-school requirements in her junior year at the age of 16. Why can't others in America work hard just like the rest of us immigrants and our children?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  57. Karl in Flint

    We are going down the sewer the Republicans have been flushing us down with cuts to education [like gov. Snyder here in MI] for the past decade or more. As with anything else, you get what you pay for. You cut education spending you end up with idiots. The wealthy, as in Republicans, don't care, their kids go to the finest, very expensive prep schools. Our corporations are as vested overseas as here, if not more so, so what do they care. It's obvious in their exporting of jobs, too. China and India educate their people. It's all but mandatory. Here, it's an option, not always taken.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  58. Ray in Knoxville

    It's obvious, Jack, we're heading towards becoming a Tea Party nation.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  59. James (Denver)

    Education is, at heart, learning the view of life or creed of one's culture. What is important in the world to which students belong and will be a part of? What should they prioritize? Why? It is only those things their culture values that children learn implicitly are the important things. Reading? How many adults read, really read anymore? Tweets. Facebook updates. An email or two. No newspapers. And the future looks rather bleak. Ecological disaster pending. Economic collapse pending. When that kind of writing is on the wall, illiteracy is bliss.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  60. Lori - PA


    So long as educations budgets continue to be cut, the SAT reading scores are only going to get worse. It's sad, and you can't tell me this isn't a direct result of the high unemployment.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  61. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It says what the rest of our actions are saying, we're going backwards as a society and culture, and have been for 30 years. Education is just part of it.

    It was Regan who began this quest to have wages,benefits, and rights for the workers that are competitive with third world countries.

    It was Regan who began the reversal of our dependency on foreign oil by repealing the CAFE limits Carter enacted. Today we would not import one drop of foreign oil if this was allowed to stand.

    It will be the Republicans and Tea Party who will once again usher in deregulation that will re-pollute our rivers, our air, and destroy mankind with global warming. And once again allow the crooks back in the banks.

    So guess what, let's welcome back the 1930's.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  62. Austin from New Hampshire

    It's the economy stupid! Most high school students will take the SAT test several times, but now that they can't afford it they don't. Also the survey was a combination of all the SAT tests taken not just the first, and students always score better the second time.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  63. s in fl


    We're behind in everything and falling like a rock. I'm surprised it's not down more and at this point it doesn't even matter. Until our "representatives" actually start working in the best interest of their constituents instead of their Sugar Daddies, we're headed straight to the bottom. A few more years of this treasonous nonsense and Reagan's shining city on the hill is going to need a moat and a drawbridge. Maybe we can fire more teachers and close down the Dept of Education to pay for the upgrades.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  64. oakie

    the problem with low SAT scores is that the test has not changed, maybe if you updated the test to todays times things might be different its not like were still pulling plows and whitteling sticks for spoons we have computers and ipads and E-books, we dont even speak the same language anymore.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  65. Juanita-Ky

    Reading is the basis of learning and reading skills are developed by use. Young people today spend more time in sports and other extracurricular activities (some have a different activity every night of the week.) and few read for pleasure . The newspaper reading is declining. We turn on the TV for news and entertainment. People are so busy with new technology that they don't pick up a book. Teacher can teach reading in school but it has to used regularly and be a part of every aspect of an individuals life. With a decline in reading abilities will come a decline in all learning.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  66. Jim

    All you have to do is see the film "Iodiocracy" and the Country called "dystopia" where advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a unirormly stupid human society devoid ot intellectual curiosity and social responsibility and coherent notions of justice and human rights. Rather this future society emphasizes anti-intellectualism, popularity, sexual attraction and hedonism. We may get there in a couple of years instead of the 500 year prediction.
    Los Angeles

    September 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  67. Essie

    It's a cop out to blame the dip in score solely on ESL students and recent arrivals. My first language is Spanish and I was fortunate enough to attend a dual language program all through elementary school which actually was a boost to my language skills. In high school my sophomore year English teacher prepared a unit Latin and Greek root words and how they could help us expand our vocabularies and help on the SAT verbal portion...well, it did! Some kids payed for expensive prep courses and I just took the test and I scored very well.

    In addition, my home state (massachusetts) actually has a higher average when it comes to their SAT scores than the rest of the country. I agree that the focus has been taken off of writing and reading and placed on more so on science and math. We have lost focus and teach to standardized test rather than actually stimulating the minds of our students and showing them how writing and reading is important in everyday life.

    Lastly, it is important to mention that the test has also been changed in recent years and isn't at all the same test I took in high school.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  68. C Belin

    The numbers presented are not actually true indicators of where we were forty years ago to where we are today. More and more students take the SAT today. Also, a different group of students are taking the SAT, so the score long term dropped because twenty years ago less people took the SAT and less people went to college. Not surprisingly, only a certain group went to college–those that could afford to go. This number only tells us that more students than those just in AP classes (the traditional college bound) want to go to college, even if they are not as prepared. Long term trends in SAT will never tell us anything about how bad the students in the US are, especially compared to the students of yesterday because not everyone in both groups take the SAT. Students choose, select, to take the SAT and that makes a big difference when interpreting this kind of data.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  69. Dale

    Hello Jack

    Think about this, computer games, the Internet, iPhones, texting, iPads, listening to MP3 music, today's kids they are overloaded no time to learn what they need to learn to make it in the real world.

    And then there's the dysfunctional families mother and father that really don't care what their kids are doing as long as they're not bothering them.

    Dale New Mexico

    September 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  70. Ken Victoria BC

    Back when the dinos roamed the earth, I when to school. There was no TV, computers, mobile handheld devices. Cigarette, booze and illegal drugs were not plentiful. Friends had faces not face books, bikes were used and fun was playing children's games with other children.Finally, mothers did not work except in the home and were available to supervise.
    Today, times are different but not for the better as far as to eduction children. Did this comment answer your question?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  71. Jim, Denver CO

    Sure there has been more emphasis upon the STEM topics the last 25+ years, but because our society pushed it that way to build our "New Technology Economy". This has caused an imbalance in the skills sets, and now it is time to shift some focus back.
    There is a two pronged approach solution for this. First, get the schools the money they need to support and pay for these areas (reading, literature, writing, communication) and the teachers to teach it. Because of the various budget cuts over the years this area has been sacrificied. We need to re-invest in it again. Second, parents need to push their kids to read books and turn off the various electronics that hypnotize them. Again, back to basics.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  72. margie from phoenix

    Where's the U.S. headed ? Good question I'd say down the toliet Jack in the crapper. housing , education , employment , economy , etc down , it's the new norm get use to it it going to be around for decades. All those morons in DC that caused this mess have no clue what to do now , they only no one thing keep stealing from the american tax payer.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  73. Pete in Milton, FL

    We are heading to Republican Utopia, of course! Since all the public schools are so obviously completely failing, let's close them all and use the savings to give even more tax breaks to the wealthy. And don't worry about the kids – the fast food joints can always use more hamburger-flippers.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  74. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    We're doomed to become a country with nothing but Republicans in charge of all branches of government.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  75. Gigi Oregon

    Duh...We have not put education first in probably forty years and PLEASE... don't blame it on the minorities. It is a myth...some of the sharpest students are minorites 5 of my grandchildren our teachers. The problem is children who do not have encouragement/discipline at home, regular eating times, not going to bed at a decent hour, going to school hungry. And then there are the administrative...that's another can of worms. We are hearing today about wanting to break union for teachers so we can pay less and ask more of them. Our teachers are in the most important vocation, above doctors, lawyers, congress persons etc. And each one is the product of many teachers. Got the point Jack, and treated as if they are nothing of worth.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  76. Nancy, Grand Ledge, MI

    Does it really matter, Jack?? Unemployed people don't need high sat scores. The only requirement for the jobs that are available is the ability to ask "would you like fries with that?".

    September 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  77. Curmudgeon in Centereach

    The future of the U.S. will follow the current SAT scores downward. Aside from comprehension skills, a majority of high school students can neither read nor write script handwriting. No doubt due in great part to the student's over-reliance of computers and calculators in elementry schools. But what happens when they reach adulthood and can't even sign their own name? In 10 years from now, your doctor might prepare your computer-generated prescription, and sign it with an X.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  78. Mark Trudeau (Carson City, NV)

    It's Official: America Is Now As Dumb As A Box of Rocks! Now you wonder why our government has failed us, yet the people keep re-electing the same destructive establishment politicians term after term. We're witnessing first hand the dessication of the once greatest nation in planet Earth's history through; dumbed-down, ignorance, and/or apathy, of Americans by their government.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  79. Alvah Brown

    Right where it is now- high unemployment and poverty. Get government and "no child left behind" type programs out of education and get back to the basics-the 3 R's. Take computers and I-Pads out of elementary schools and go back to books. If you can't read and have no writing skills you will not succeed in college or in today's work force
    Al -Gorham,NH

    September 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  80. Randy

    If you don't have a manufacturing base in your country to make everything from crayons to cars all the education in the world won't matter. India has the most ph.d's in the world but never made any headway economically until the textile industry from this country relocated there due to free trade deals. The rich and corporations throw the education roadblock out there to get the masses distracted from the real culprit of the American middle class downfall. Free trade.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  81. Chuck from Maryland

    SAT scores continue to drop because a higher percentage of students are taking the test. It used to be only the brightest students bothered. Now many more have college aspirations. Iowa ranked first in average SAT scores in 2010. Maine dead last. Is corn a better brain food than lobster? Hardly. Only three percent, presumably the brightest three percent, took the SAT in Iowa. In Maine ninety-two percent took the SAT. Of course Maine’s average score would be lower. Your concern seems to be based on a lot of dumb reasoning, Jack. Are you running for president?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  82. Nancy, Grand Ledge, MI

    Does the test measure their ability to tweet, skype or facebook?? I'm sure their scores would be really high, no matter what language they speak or kind of background they come from. The kids are way ahead of us in technology! Spelling and writing "prolly" doesn't matter as much as we would like to think. After all, there's spell check for that.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  83. Rick McDaniel

    The US is headed towards the same place it has been headed since the 1970's.........decline. Frankly, I blame a lot of that on Dr. Spock. Parents, stopped being parents, and tried to be "buddies" with their children.......and that basically hasn't worked.......and then in recent years, the government has been intruding into family discipline, sometimes justifiably, and other times totally unjustifiably, to where most parents have to actually fear the government persecuting them for disciplining their children.

    Electronics have also eroded the minds of young people, with web search substituting for learning real information, violent games taking the place of family games, and Reality TV condoning bad, and stupid behaviors.

    It is no wonder young people today, can't answer really basic and simple questions about history, or government, or even anything of life importance, in work, family, or government.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  84. Sandra from Texas

    I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I think we can start by getting parents out of the classroom. Let teachers do their jobs. Not every child is a genius and it's not always the teachers fault when a student is failing. When I came home with a bad grade, my parents assumed I needed to study harder. Today, parents think the class is too hard or the teacher doesn't like their child. Teachers are too afraid to teach and too afraid to fail a student who isn't passing. We have got to stop graduating under-educated kids. We aren't doing them or the future of our country any favors!

    September 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  85. Peg from NY

    With scores this low, the US is heading downhill, fast.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  86. Victoria Lepore

    The college I chose to enroll in does not require SAT scores for admittance, although I took the exam 3 times before graduating high school. The Class of 2011 had much more to worry about than mastering a test that does little to actually help us prepare for college. We apologize for being more concerned about affording college tuition and excelling in the classes left over after budget cuts. Maybe the Class of 2012 will buckle down long enough to raise these scores to the satisfaction of an organization that does not have to worry about entering the work force amidst a crumbling economy.
    Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York

    September 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  87. Simon/Orlando

    We should be headed in the opposite direction that the teachers union wants to go. They have systematically ruined public education. While teachers have been making more they have given less to educating our children because firing bad teachers is impossible. Like the rest of us they should be paid on succesfully educating our children, not just showing up and filling a space.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  88. Jane in CA

    This is nothing new – people were asking the same question when I was a child half a century ago. We are already close to the bottom of the developed world in a lot of measures and the coming spending reductions guarantee that we will go lower still. Education starts at home, and a significant portion of parents are hostile to education, or at least public education. When dad is demanding pay cuts for teachers, why should their children respect them? When politicians are saying that science is full of lies, why would a child want to learn about it? When media personalities lie about history to make a living, why should accurate history count? You don't have to know anything about anything to be a successful politician. In some parties it is actually a handicap to be honest or knowledgeable. Shorter answer – we are headed to a place we don't really want to be.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  89. William in Daytona Beach Florida

    My wife educates teachers and working on her Ed.d from what I hear schools should go back to discipline like they had 40 years ago! I am for corporal punishment whereas she is not. I have a theory on pain and education: how many times would it take for a child to learn not to play with wasps....? I am not saying use wasps what I am saying is that pain is a natural tool for learning.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  90. Ray from Cecil County Maryland

    Looks like we are headed down the tubes. Too many Viedo Games and Fantasy programs are available to our kids. We meed a dose of Sanity in Parents first and greater emphasis by the Heroes of today, Movie Stars and Sports figures to push education and personel study.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  91. Ken in NC

    With scores falling like they are, Americans are rapidly becoming more like cattle in a herd being herded by Republican Cowboys with a Trail Boss named Perry.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  92. mike hendrix

    We have inceased the education depts budget every year for the last 20 years. Think it might not be working. Everyone is worried about the NEA not the kids

    September 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  93. Larry, Boston, MA

    Forty years ago? If we could only turn back the clock and live as we did forty years ago we'd be much better off.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  94. Dan in Aluququerque

    It is clear Jack. The first priority should be major upgrades in tougher reading requirements, including a lot more reading. Before we can expect kids to bolster our output of mathemeticians snd scientists. they msut first learn to read. Teachers should not just assign reading for younger kids, expecting the parents to do it all at home. Teachers should be taught to read aloud with feeling in order to inspire and explain in the classroom. Many of them don't spell or pronounce words correctly themselves. Geography (a lost study )and foreign languages are also paramount in today's world. Kids need to be challenged and made to take more demanding classes in High School. They should also go more hours per day in grades 7-12.
    There is too much reliance on assigning homework and less on more personal instruction and inspiration in class.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  95. Mark Oklahoma City

    As a retired teacher I can tell you where we're headed by telling you how to invest your money. Invest in any company that builds prisons and hospitals.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  96. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    What a question to ask your viewers, Jack. People with computer issues who call for support get someone in India or Bangladesh...so if that doesn't tell you where the US is headed as far as education goes...I don't know what will

    September 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  97. David in Tampa

    Right where the Tea Bag/ Republican and Democratic parties want them to be. Illiterate, ignorant and incapable of independent thought. Get your opinion, and life, handed to you by talk radio hosts, reality TV personalities, our economic and political elite, and Madison Avenue. Sounds like a couple of books by George Orwell, which most students should be forced to read.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  98. steve - virginia beach

    We're headed to a realization that two-incomehouseholds, one-parent households, public unions, and the federal Dept of Education weren't such good ideas afterall and that in the future, we should refrain from fixing what isn't broken. and more carefully consider unintended consequences before fixing what is broken.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  99. leemarie50

    It simply means that we need to teach English to our immigrants and expect them to learn the language. Until we make English our language of country, we are out of luck. A great many immigrants are in our school system, we have to be able to teach them the basic for their own good and stop planning with Spanish.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  100. Peg from NY

    With scores like these, the US is headed downhill, fast.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  101. Dan K

    Unless we start to fund education properly and our schools get a handle on the disipline problems the United States faces an even dimmer future! For a super power, we rank WWAAYY down the list on funding spent per student and hours spent in ther class rooms!
    It also would help if families were families again and students had 2 parent at home WANTING and helping their kids to learn!

    Dan K Owens Cross Roads Alabama

    September 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  102. Mark CLemens

    That's easy. I also hear there is a plan to cut the school week to four days to save 20% of the budget. Of course, school administration pay would not change. There might as well be a cut eliminating all teachers from the budget which would save only about 20% of the budget. Oops. That won't happen because of the out of control teachers union that has crossed the line into becoming another form of government. How about combining school districts to reduce the number of school districts by 50% to save 20% by reducing the need for unnecessary school administration? Simply setting a minimum number of students required for a school district would do the trick. Anyone hear of national standards (i.e. SAT)? That way the Government would be happy passing more laws and the public would be happy that the laws passed would actually be useful. In addition the children would not suffer (at least until the teachers union figures out to use this one for the general union participant profit (oops – general benefit – union speak) too. Well, at least it is a temporary benefit to students.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  103. Ralph Spyer from Chicago Illinois

    Education starts at home,mothers no longer read to there children or help with their home work because they are at work. In order to help your child with home work you have to speak and understand English. In chicago more children are kill walking to school then service man in Afghanistan or Iraq. It is also helpfull to have a Father around and not doing time in jail.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  104. LA Belle

    The same place Congress is heading...no where.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  105. Ralph Nelson

    My mother was an avid reader of western novels and had a library in our basement. I was isolated from my family and spent most of my childhood in that basement room reading books. Though I was bullied by a string of seven teachers and had to drop out of high school, because of that "reading" I came back from to war and eventually had three huigh school diplomas, three college degrees, have written 15 books and over 2,000 songs...Reading is the key to all this and it's essential that kids be able to read. Their futures are unlimited if they can.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  106. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    As a C student that got low scores and couldn't go to college, I can only tell them that they are going to spend alot of years working in the service industry. If they want to be happy at that they should learn brewing, because there are brew pubs opening all over.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  107. Bruce of DE

    We will soon all be dumb enough to join the tea party – providing that they declare themselves as an official legal party instead of this illegal nonsense.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  108. Brenda from Maryland

    The US is headed to the same place that all empires go to die Jack – the land of hyperinflation and oligarchy. Our education issues are not the cause of our problems, but rather a symptom ... one of MANY symptoms for those that are actually paying attention. I’m sorry to sound so fatalistic tonight, but I’m afraid our era of bread and circuses is racing towards a brick wall, and the impact will give new meaning to ‘shock and awe’. But having said all that, I for one am curious about what’s on the other side of that wall.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  109. Ceemak. La.

    Until more parents actually act like parents, we will continue down the slippery slope......when you have kids who,s main ambition in life is to be screw ups....with their parents blessing it wont change.......Dont blame teachers......put the blame where it belongs.....parents.......Good parents will be supportive of the teacher and make sure their child is staying on task......It is a tandem......unfortunately many parents just are not engaged with their child.....just look at the kids getting in trouble with social media......

    September 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  110. D. Tacoma, Washington

    Standardized testing for graduation.... having put 5 children thru the public school system, I protested this then and still do... The standardized testing is grade 8 level...when a student fails it in math, science, english...the level of education is dumbed down to the point the "all" students will pass and graduate.... been going on for a long time in a lot of school districts across the country.... Sad reflection on our education system, and the victims are our children.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  111. lynnej in nc

    Our education system is headed over the cliff. Many blame teachers which is only one part of the element. However, the main part of this is that parents are not holding up their end of the bargain, busting Little Johnny or Mary in the butt to make them do their homework and study. Underfunding causing larger class sizes don't help matters much either. Instead, parents don't pay attention and leave the little darlings to their computers, video games, cell phones etc. Want to right the ship, start at home. Look at the parents. No matter how hard a teacher tries, he/she can't make Little Johnny or Mary learn unless the parents back them up.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  112. Earl

    Eye donught now wht ur tallkin abut jak, can nt reed wht ur rightin

    September 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  113. Matt (Amherst, NH)

    Jack it gets worse- these people vote.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  114. lindaglenn

    Jack! too words nowhere!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  115. Kelly J.

    What was the question, again? I think I was texting in class the day they were teaching reading and comprehension.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  116. Mark from Boston


    To the White House with Rick Perry a.k.a. "The D Student"

    September 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  117. Kay

    It says that the US is catering too much to the illegals in this country. How can you expect to have students do well on the SATs when they refuse to learn the English language because they are special and need to be taught in their own language!!!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  118. diane dagenais turbide

    Have you ever heard the new GOPTEA even talk about education Jack? This is where we are heading – too close to a painful fall!
    40 years of low score! That explains why some can't read and can't write a bill that makes sense! Imagine that with this new GOPTEA now!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  119. nita

    Who is making millions pushing for those stupid tests? Do away with all those tests and give the money to the schools.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  120. Ari

    This is a clear sign, not that the diversity of our students is changing but our education system is failing. Teachers and schools are constantly making changes to make students feel more comfortable under achieving. Changing names of special ed classes to intermediate and lowering standards is only going to throw our country deeper into the hole it is for now, and for the future which scares more and more people each day. When presidential candidates that went to I.V. League schools cant think of a good solution for our country, god help us when this generation gets up to run for president.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  121. Laureen

    We are headed to a future in which kids and young adults don't want to learn and don't want to read. They want to be told the information instead of learning it themselves. Teachers are not to blame! It is the test-taking system and parents! Teachers no longer have time to teach children useful techniques and logic skills. They are forced to teach kids how to take a test. So when they take a logic and reasoning test such as the SAT or LSAT, kids don't know how to figure things out themselves. It doesn't help that parents are not teaching their kids the value of education or installing a drive to learn. Kids aren't curious or driven because they are taught to be memorizing machines and education is not pushed as a value at home.
    Hopefully others my age will backlash against this and raise our kids with a strong value of education.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  122. Julie from Ohio

    We are headed for the same thing we have always been headed for unfortunately, throwing more money at the problem, refusing to hold teachers and school systems accountable, and trying not to make the teachers union upset. Isn't that the status quo? How can we change anything under these conditions?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  123. Russell Q.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the SAT is a standardized test, which means that it's graded on a bell curve. Each test is graded on a scale of 200-800, with 500 being the median score. Since there are 3 tests, 500 x 3 = 1500. Couldn't this new average just reflect an adjustment in Collegeboard's grading, where they properly apply a bell curve?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  124. Kevin

    Jack, SAT scores are over rated! Yes, the system is broken! The real power of creating a better life for ones self lies with the individual and the individual only then some stupid SAT score.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  125. Evan

    What do you expect out of a generation of Americans who live in a world dominated by text and instant messaging? What happened to grammar? IDK - OMG I have to go...I'll BRB to finish this post! TTYL 🙂

    September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  126. Nancy

    Jack, We've been headed in this direction for many years - The attitude of our youth in general is that life is one big party, sex, drugs, and the latest gadget to buy. They don't get it! What they don't get is that life includes survival and to survive means hard work, knowledge and responsibility PLUS values to guide them through the tough times. Like a wild herd of buffalo about to stampede over a cliff - that's where the majority of our youth (as well as parents) are. So sad.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  127. Mike

    I have a question for you, Jack: if too much emphasis is being put on science and math and not enough on communication disciplines (english, history etc...), then why is the US still lagging in the technical fields relative to the rest of the world? Sounds like young people are learning how to take tests rather than how to reason

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  128. Michael

    The way of the Romans, the empire is collapsing.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  129. Timothy Halpin

    The real issue is the amount of time kids spend texting on their cell phones and their only reading coming from Facebook posts of their friends. Scores will continue to drop until you can get kids to read books instead of reading synopsis' on the Internet.

    Tim Waterford, Connecticut

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  130. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ Average SAT scores have been dropping for years. The attempt everyone to go to college is a factor, but so is social promotion in school, loss of literacy in the media by the talking heads, the politicization of curricula at State levels, and the popularization of sports and crime as an alternative to academic succe3ss as the path to a better life. The greatest single factor in academic success is, and has always been, the socioeconomic status of the student's family. Not all of us are bright enough to get 700 on each SAT test, but those who do not spend ten years reading from K-12 are unlikely to get good grades on English in the SAT, no matter what.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  131. john ohio

    We are headed to numerous GOP victories. The dumbing down of America puts them at a big advantage.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  132. Kelly J.

    What was the question, again? I think I was texting in class the day they were teaching reading and comprehension.
    Ringgold, GA.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  133. Bobby

    From Arizona

    Im my observation in the educational system, its fair to place some blame on parents. Student should be prepared to study. You can't blame teachers for the lack of students not acheiving. Teachers are attempting to do their best with society's damaged goods. We know the education system is crumbling, but we all have to look around us. Today's young people aren ot willing to grasp the basics in education because they are so in tune with techology, ipods, phones, games, etc.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  134. Aryeh

    These low scores not only show the lack fo knowledge on our students' part but the lack of knowledge in the educators who are constantly lowering standards for our children, keeping there confidence high while they are at a low level. All this time they should be encouraging students to go for higher marks and classes.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  135. Teacher

    I taught overseas for many years and it is scary how far ahead foreign students are when compared to North American students. I know many people out there will blame teachers and call for more cuts and firings. Just remember, when the military falters in Iraq we pour in money and resources for a surge. When education falters, we cut funding and harass teachers.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  136. Alden C. Sheremata

    You asked, "Where are we going when SAT scores are at their lowest in 40 years?": We're not going anywhere without Simplices.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  137. Nancy in Florida

    In years past, the only students who took the SAT were serious and well qualified students heading to four year universities. Now, many more high school students take the SAT even though they are not qualified for college or have a desire to go. These weaker students would naturally pull down the overall score. I am surprised the scores have not dropped any lower. Also, in years past students were not so distracted by electronic media – a distraction that probably influences their success in schools. Stop blaming the schools and teachers for everything. The students who want to learn and do well, accomplish that goal.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  138. Ray in Las Vegas

    Are the scores down because 1.) Education is failing or 2.) because more kids especially those from more challenging environments are taking the test. Face it, a college is not the whole solution. We need more individuals who with the faith of their conviction are willing to lead and build tomorrow. That takes more than college, that takes the willingness to TRY! So if the 2nd reason is reality, we are winning.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  139. Adam Mercer

    Jack, I am an educator. Frankly we're being inundated with the idea that somehow technology is going to solve all of the problems. "The kid can't read." Answer, "Give him a computer." The bottom line is technology is a tool, people still have to be literate enough to read the manual, and flexible enough in their thinking to figure out what it means. Sadly, the answer the experts want us to swallow is making the problem worse not better, as access to computers has sky-rocketed in the same time frame these scores have fallen.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  140. Eric Taylor from Roseville, MI

    Unless all of us change the way we think about education, then years down the road, we will head into a world where the most sophisticated job we can handle is pressing a button. Everyone needs to be involved. My parents gave me the comprehension skills at home when I was struggling with reading and critical thinking in school. I had innovative teachers that didn't just lecture in front of class but gave us hands-on, visual experiences to handle the vocabulary and class material. Because BOTH parents and teachers put in more effort in my individual success, I am graduating with a degree in education in May. Parents and teachers bicker at each other over whose fault it is that our students are failing. Did anyone ever think about parents and teachers working together?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  141. Angie

    I don't know, but apparently Republicans think by cutting funding for public education and by laying off teachers they can improve test scores.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  142. Greg Romrell

    I I think the most important factor here is the College Board itself. As a college student myself I think its ridiculous that 80% of my admittance decision is up to a standardized test that doesn't measure practical college skills. SAT scores have been shown time and time again to be a poor predictor of college performance. So these score changes mean nothing, except students don't conform to traditional testing.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  143. Antonio Gonzalez

    Lowest score in 40 years....this means that the recently graduated class has scored better than the generation asking this question. Now, that gives me hope, even with a more diverse group of students they scored better than the great generation that preceded them.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  144. Bryab

    Mathematically correct the scores for a similar ratio of caucasian to minority scores as occurred 40 years ago, and see where the average SAT score sits. We may find that the increase in minority SAT test-takers, particularly those using English as a second or non-primary language, are responsible for the mathematically lower average SAT scores.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  145. ROSE

    How about qualified teachers based on merit and experience rather than seniority due to unions sticking their noses in where they don't belong. Maybe then, will the SAT's improve

    Vwenice, Fl.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  146. Josh Z

    As a student who has taken the SAT and ACT, I have come to the conclusion that they are not a good predictors of a students future performance in college. Jack, some students do not test well, some information is not covered in their classes, etc. There are too many variables to come to a solid conclusion just based on SAT scores. Many colleges are not even using standardized test scores anymore in the process of admittance. This country has become so crazed with standardized testing, that we are failing to teach students some information, and just teaching them how to test.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  147. Kari in costa mesa

    Im a high school student and i will tell you why SAT reading scores are at the lowest in nearly 40 years. Its because kids have no movtivation. School is seen as being a bother, not a source of success. They make us wake up early and take tests. Of course i will admit, i have had moments where i've hated school as well, but the number of students that are truely motivated compared to those that are not are 1 to 30. seriously.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  148. Francisco

    One word: Idiocracy

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  149. James Allen

    That SAT reading scores have declined should be music to the Tea Party and the GOP's ears. After all, how else can the Republican virtue of ignorance be fulfilled by the inability to read but only watch Fox to be "enlightened'?.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  150. Adam

    "The test administrators say more students than ever are taking the SAT, which includes more students from different ethnic, economic and academic backgrounds." They are telling us that the demographics of the test takers have changed. We're comparing apples to oranges and fostering false hysteria about the fact that the oranges are not as red as the apples used to be.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  151. Damon N

    If the US is unable to compete with global opposition because our children are less educated, the country will be hard pressed to last as a superpower in the future decades. More emphasis needs to be placed on the quality of education beginning in the early years of elementry school and continuing through the final year of high school. In addition there needs to be more college prep courses offered to all students in our education system. No child left behind is not an excuse for lower standards in the classroom.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  152. Steve in Minnesota

    Without funding and focus on our most vital national resource, our children's education, our country is continuing on its downward spiral to being the least educated nation in the world...Where will all the high paying jobs go then?...maybe low paying manufacturing jobs will return...

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  153. mathprof

    Trust me: As a long-time college professor of mathematics, reading SAT scores are NOT going down because of excessive emphasis on math and science in high school.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  154. Dave from Chino Hills

    I was recently laid off after working 11 years in Quality Control and decided to returned to college to finish my degree. I was amazed by how many younger college students had a hard time with writing papers and speaking with proper grammar. They would struggle with basic concepts that should have been learned in high school. I was often annoyed when the professor would have to spend an entire lecture on how to correctly use MLA or APA formats and how not to write papers with slang or spanglish. If they can not master these concepts in high school, I fear for the 20-somethings in this country and fear that more jobs will leave the country due to higher educated competition in other countries.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  155. Antoinette

    Jack, as an old High School Social Studies teacher/department chair, I remember looking out at a sea of faces, each looking they had a shot of novacaine. It is no surprise to me that elementary and middle schools, each with their rush to technology, encouraged tiny hands to play on the computer, surf the web and have their "invented spelling" accepted as correct.

    Not one of those high schoolers had even HEARD of the five paragraph essay, much less a map key or political vs. topographical map. God help us all, but save me from the elementary school teachers in their denim jumpers and "Isn't that precious?" question.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  156. Jeff In Minnesota

    Gee Jack, have you read what passes as journalism out on the Web? Is it any wonder then that reading scores are going in the tank? Even mainstream media are getting sloppy with their editing and use of the English language. No one seems to care about using language properly, let alone using writing to express their ideas in a way that is understandable. A lot of writing is just rants. It is kind of tough to retain, let alone improve, reading skills when the writing skills are also in the tank.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  157. a. james

    We need to close all of the public schools and offer education in private schools. The US public education system is terribly broken. Check out other education systems in the world. Our education system is a disgrace.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  158. chris

    You cant compare the SAT test of today to the SAT test of 40 years ago. They are not the same questions. The questions on the SAT 40 years ago are now the questions given in the 6th grade. If you gave today's students the SAT test of 40 years ago.....We would have the highest scores in the last 40 years....

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  159. Chris from Colorado

    It's no wonder the scores are getting lower. Every time you turn around our "leaders", specifically the Republicans, cut funds from education. Keeping people in the dark and ignorant makes them easier to scare, thereby increasing their base. Leaders are SUPPOSED to lead. If the room is dark, they should turn on the light instead constantly telling them the "boogie" man is gonna get them! Instead, it's "Party first! to hell with the people.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  160. Juan A Martinez

    We are headed further down the list. We need to stop being hypocritical about the state of education in our country. Much was made of the Tea Party Response about the fictional 30 year old dying without healthcare. Play the tape back and listen for the roar of applause at the mere mention of shutting down the Department of Education. In fact play the tape back and see PROOF of the need to invest more in educating our people. I wonder if the political ambitions of some of our would be Presidents is best served by a constituency that could scarcely read or write. Remember the only people taking the SAT are COLLEGE bound. The SAT measure ignores the drop-outs and diploma recipients that intend to face the 21st century with nothing but an American High School education.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  161. Alex in Wisconsin

    So scores were this low 40 years ago huh? Well that explains a few things about why people 40 years older than me are screwing up at every level these days. Even explains why people claiming to be intelligent insist on half solutions to full problems. I'm talking to you Tea Partiers.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  162. Jerry from Salem, OR


    With zero job growth being reported in August and the few jobs that seem to be available for recent College graduates are minimum wage service jobs, I don't see this as being much of an issue. A very sad state of affairs indeed.

    Jerry from Salem, Oregon

    September 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  163. Rodney From Hauula

    If You want to know where the US is headed read The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire. We're right on track for failer as long as congress continues to betray the country by NOT DOING for the AMERICAN PEOPLE INSTEAD OF FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  164. Ahmad

    Not to a very nice place I'm afraid. Not surprising either. With so many things to play with, internet, cell phones, social media, the American student does not have any time left to do his/her homework. The great people who brought us where we are (or were?) did not have as many deterrents. With other things such as early sex, alcohol, and sometimes drugs, the problem is a fundamental one and it takes a fundamental dealing-with.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  165. Shari

    This is a no-brainer Jack. The test scores are going down because the Republican's don't want to invest any money in education.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  166. Bryan - North America

    The education system is going nowhere by design. Once we as a population become too dumb to stop asking questions or pursue constitutionally provided legal options against corrupt politicians then the establishment of men and women, those who stay in power as presidents and parties change, will have an easier time pushing their decade old agendas forward. Time to go watch ShowBiz Tonight everyone.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  167. Andrew

    gr8 kwestion jack. but SAT scores aren't THAT important are they? i mean, of course i wish more peeple new how to reed and rite good, but then again... look wear not reading got palin?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  168. K Spesard

    IWe're headed to Texas, Jack. It's fricking great there. Isn'it? Jobs for stupid people by the thousands.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  169. Bernie of Lowell.

    I'm surprised all this furor is over a statistical variation of three points. Each and every statistics course I took told us a "statistic" had a Mean and a Standard Deviation the same spin we get when election results come to us with a "margin of error". . Also, muutiple-chioce tests highly favor "intelligent guesses" too. For both of these random events, I don't believe that the difference of three points is significant. ... it's just another problem for biased people to blame on President Obama.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  170. Erik in New Jersey

    We're headed down the road to serfdom. It's no coincidence that education in this country started to decline around the same time the federal government got involved, 40 years ago. The same thing has happened to the poverty rate since the government declared "war" on poverty. British novelist C.S. Lewis said it best, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  171. Cathy Goorman

    The schools today need to go back to the 3 R's. The students today have not mastered basic or building blocks of fundamentals. When I have my 9th grade baking friend, she can not add fractions to double batch cookies, it is sad. The schools are failing our kids. Cathy, Morgan Hill' CA.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  172. Ray Smith

    Low SAT scores are the least of our problems in schools. Maybe if we stop cramming students into classrooms like sardines, and stop needing to teach respect, discipline, hygiene, manners, and sex ed, there might be more time for academics. We don't need better students; we need better parents.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  173. chaim

    This problem has been right in front of our faces for years now, just no action is being done just like all the other problems in this country. The twist is that this problem holds the people that will later have to solve our countries upcoming problems and when this happens, just like their response to work now, they will simply be too lazy, getting nothing done. Our country will simply go downhill if this continues.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  174. joe nash

    With the rising cost of both education and gas, it simply means that in a few years, there is going to be a lot of stupid people walking around.

    Toronto, Canada

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  175. Dave C.,

    We are headed if not have already arrived at becoming an "Idiocracy." Not only is this done through low SAT scoces, but we have a leading Presidential contender who had a 2.5 g.p.a in college.

    Dave C.
    Ada, Ohio

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  176. Abby in Florida

    We are going exactly the way we are headed now, downward. Until educators get serious about teaching, we will continue to go that way. We have children graduating who can not read. They are promoted each year even when their grades are failing grades so their self esteem is not damaged. Instead they end up damaging that child for life. When we stop dumbing down subjects, passing students that should be repeating the grade they are in and replace expelling with good old fashioned detension, then our educational system will start improving and so will our students. I couldn't believe it when my son told me his weight lifting class provided points towards his graduation. If we don't, the US as a third world country is right around the corner.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  177. Jay hill

    Politicians are making educational policies! Duh! They have dumbed dowm the curriculum and replaced good literature with "teaching to the test!".

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  178. Benetez (NC)

    Well i'm not surprised at the low scores from the SATs Jack!...kids spend more time playing video games, and texting than they do studying. I think we are in great shape(sarcastically speaking) since we will all be living in a virtual world in the near future. So to answer.... NO WHERE, INVEST IN PRISONS. THAT'S PRETTY POPULAR THESE DAYS...

    September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  179. PiedType

    Thanks to No Child Left Behind, we're creating a nation of test-takers, not educated, critically thinking adults. We're graduating young adults with meaningless diplomas instead of genuine, useful educations. The handwriting is on the wall for anyone who can still read it.


    September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  180. Jon

    It means that more people are taking the SAT than are prepared for college. The socio-economic background has a profound effect on student learning- plenty of research to prove that. There is a push for everyone to go to college, even though most of the jobs left in this country don't require a college degree or the debt that goes along with it today. Not everyone is smart enough or has worked hard enough to get into a four year college or university, and there are plenty of students with high SAT scores who don't make it in.

    As for the push for science and math over other subjects, you have the government to blame. Just a few years ago several states were piloting programs that would pay math and science teachers more than the rest. The new federal education reform, known mainly to educators and called "Common Core" is intended to nationalize the teaching standards of two subjects- English and MATH.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  181. Kelley

    Sadly, until we stop focusing on how to take the tests and begin working again on cultivating the creativity by which America has lead the world, we will not have anything to write or read about except learning foreign languages, necessitated by the other countries that are leading us. I am a teacher within the performing arts, dare not say which, but am now not only teaching my curriculum, but tutoring reading. Most experienced teachers are running for their lives, hate the testing, but need the job and must continue until the government comes to its senses and allows each teacher to teach within their curriculum (after all, that's what all that specialized college education was all about) and use their creativity instead of trying to make us all teach the same and students to all think alike, we will continue the downward slide in U.S. education. Not all students are college bound, many should be training within a field in which they can earn a paycheck, whether it is computer tech or laying bricks, mixing cement, etc. We can't all be wealthy capitalists, but we would all love to be able to put food on our tables.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  182. Ann from Charleston SC

    I think it is very sad to see our education system come apart before our eyes. I am more thankful every day that I have no children to live in the country we are becoming.

    I taught for 34 years. I started in 1959 when parents supported the schools. I thought I was such a good teacher until years later I realized it was that parental support that made my students successful. By that time I was teaching with my hands tied behind my back. Teachers' authority in the classroom was taken over by government regulation, and with that loss, the students took over. Money isn't the answer to our education system. We need teachers who are well educated, who have authority to make decisions about their classrooms and the authority to maintain discipline, who know how to educate children without parental support (something I never learned) and who have the courage to ignore this obsession with the idea that test results measure how well educated a person is.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  183. ARruffin

    You wonder why our scores are so low. We have no money to spend on bettering our learning abilities & our development. They spend it on things that aren't needed, unless you call a pathetic expense paid trip to the Bahamas needed. If we can't get up to date books, or paper from the school board while the baseball stadium gets more renovations that they took from the education fund. The game might be fun, but whose going to read to them the score, & the teams that are playing?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  184. James LBK

    The United States education system needs to be more disciplined. The parents in this country need to pay attention to their children again. I believe that the United States is in a completely different place than it was 50 years ago. 50 years ago children were disciplined, respectful, and wanted to make this country better!!! Today, the children in the US are lazy, disrespectful, and do not care for the future of there well being. If the U.S Government keeps putting in standard tests the students will only keep failing! The US is also more diverse than ever, and the minority's in this country do not respect American values!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  185. Nel

    Jack these kids who took the SAT did not have to do MAth, they had calculators, They can't read or write because they have their own Texting alphabet.. They need to attend to their lessons & not use their cell phones during school. We made it without cell phones during our time.
    I think all school children should turn in their cell phones& other Electronic devices to the teacher while in class. We need Volunteers to do that for the teachers. & I will be one of them.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  186. Jay

    I am not an American by birth. When I have landed in the Us, I was amazed how low the level of education was. My daughter who finished 3 grade in my home country was admitted to 5th grade right away. Such was the difference in the education. The answer to your question is obvious. But my question is: when you Americans stop kidding yourself in believing that your education system, and I quote, is the envy of the world???

    September 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  187. A 16 year old.

    While I do agree that our country's literacy is at risk due to high usage of technology as a means of communication, the youth are simply not to blame. If you gave the SAT to the average, working, English-speaking male, you would find he is no more capable of a high score than the average student. The pressure on students to achieve is overwhelming, and a more vigorous school experience is not the way to handle the problem. All to often, I hear students talk of how easy English class is because they can look everything up on line. Because the students are so intent on getting an A in each course, they do not have the time to really understand what it is the teacher is trying to teach. They WILL cheat, because that is what society requires of them. When they don't have time to read for pleasure, or write about what a nice day they had, they will not be as practiced nor will they have the patience for it when test day arrives. As for the level non-English speaking students (and inhabitants for that matter), classes should be a requirement, but not a reward. Immigrants should take it upon themselves to learn the language of the country in which they live, and if they fail to comply, there will be consequences. It's harsh, but at this point a necessity for our country.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  188. John

    The future of this country lays on our ability to regain and keep the leadership in technology and science. Therefore math and science are primordial. Unfortunately half of our kids don't take even three years on these disciplines in the high school.
    What concerns the possible lack of lawyers and politicians within 40 years, I don't loose my sleep over it.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  189. Cheryl Lake Tahoe

    We have too many administrators and not enough teachers. A full time professor may only teach one or two classes a couple of days a week and then hold brief office hours. For that, they get salaries, benefits and retirement. Lets make them teach for a change.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  190. Renee Peoria,Ill

    It means this country is already circling down the drain and the last thing we can afford is a tea party president who would cut education even worse than it already has been. Check the statistics: the countries moving forward are the ones who are investing in education. If the world economy was based on video games we'd be sitting pretty.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  191. Paracielo

    Even our President uses poor grammar, not to mention many people in the media and leadership positions.
    We blame politicians and schoolteachers for the problem, but the problem lies in each of us.
    We are lazy and addicted to ease and comfort, not just in our educational standards, but in our life style choices.
    We have been living off the fat of borrowed money and getting physically fat from eating garbage and not moving our torpid bodies.
    We waste, pollute and poison the earth with hardly a second thought about it.
    The lack of mental and physical discipline which has become ingrained makes the rest of the world laugh at us.
    In some way or another, each of us will have to face the need for a personal renaissance, and only then will this spoiled
    country begin to improve.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  192. Lani

    I taught high school English 30 of those 40 years on the West Coast. Why the decline in test scores over 40 years?
    Mandated federal inclusion of special needs students, increased numbers of second language English speakers, greatly increased class sizes, and mandated federal and state testing programs have all taken a huge toll on the time to actually teach reading and writing in the classroom. Lani from Georgia

    September 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  193. david bidlack

    the republicans have for over 25 years been beating up on the last big union in this country which i might add that its members have to have a 4 year college degree to be a member. in their efforts to break this union they have over the years been questioning the skills of the teachers and have by their words talked the average american into thinking teachers are the blame. i live in michigan were the govenor has cut education funding so badly that there are over 60 plus kids to a class room in detroit this year alone which means the republicans are willing to throw a hole generation of childern under the bus just to take out the teachers union all over this country. you get what you pay for in education and now we get to live with the benifits of a very under funded education budget in the last 25 years!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  194. Grant


    Does everyone really think teachers have de-emphasized reading or encouraged their students to put down their books? What we face here isn't an educational crisis–it's a societal crisis. Unfortunately, the only Book ranking at the top of student high-interest lists is FACEBOOK. We desperately need parents to become advocates of true educational practices, not babysitting through television and social media.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  195. Keith, NJ

    Standardized testing has always been a ridiculous way to gauge what a person knows. As the saying goes, someone that knows a little of everything knows a lot about nothing. You only have to look through history to find that a lot of people that are good at one subject are horrible at another. To be exceptional in math and horrible in writing isn’t the end of the world. What would our world be like if Einstein was labeled as a failure because he failed the entrance exam for ETH? Quantifying people with standardized testing allows for no individuality. Everyone is different; putting everyone in the same narrow view of what is acceptable just serves to stunt the growth of children rather than encourage them to pursue what they can excel in.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  196. emily b

    Times have changed..texting in shorthand symbols instead of talking . getting our news in 25 words or less, Just the headlines please. Reading comprehension has to do with thoughtful analysis..this has more to do with the changing ways we communicate than educational deficiency is my guess.. Its a brave new world of 140 characters or less.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  197. John

    Who was it in the G.O.P that said we DIDN'T need the Department of Education?! Hmmmm.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  198. Patti

    Where is the responsibility of the parents. Yes our nation is diverse and that is a good thing so we should see a decline until the minorities can catch up with exposure to better education. But, the American people need to take responsibility for their own children. School is a partnership between parents and teachers. Stop blaming the education system (teachers) and start working as partners to help our children learn how to read. Sit down and read with your kindergartner and first grader instead of buying them the latest Gameboy to keep them occupied. Enjoy a good story every night!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  199. Allan in Lincoln

    Jack, When more short kids tryout for the basketball team, the average height of the group is lower. When more people act as commentators on cable news, the average IQ is lower. So, when more lower scoring students take the SAT, the average score is lower. What we need to focus on is how many there are at the top. Are the top high school grads better today than before? Are the top college grads better? Averages are not a good predictor of where we're going. Leaders, scientists, and entrepreneurs are not from the average range...

    September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  200. Sherry

    Now I know you won't read this because you never do. I taught school for 38 years and just retired last year–so this might be the reason test scores went down–just kidding ! I have always thought that students should be given a test after 5th or 6th grade and this test would determine if the student should go to a vocational school or pursue the traditional path in education. If we did this and stopped thinking every child should go to college, we could then train everyone to have a job. Every child could be given a test to see where their abilities lie. The kids in vocational schools could be given interships during these years. Let's stop giving them tests which are too difficukt for them and give them a chance to have a good job and be a productive part of our country. If we did this, our test scores would sky rocket.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  201. Kathryn Perry

    You’re right, us teachers want to leave students behind. We don’t care, work long hours, lay awake at night worrying about our students. We have to not only teach the curriculum, but have to ensure they are doing well socially. We have to ask which home they are going to, Mom’s or Dad’s, and do they need another copy because it was left at the other house.
    Can we do a better job? Absolutely! Have you asked the question: What are families doing to prepare and support their students?

    Teaching in Maryland

    September 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  202. Julie from Ohio

    If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always gotten. Throwing money at the problem doesn't solve the problem. When it costs $14,000 per student per year to educate them and that isn't enough, we need to try something else. We've taken so much real education out of the schools and replaced it with administrative costs and fluff, we've then produced students who've been passed from one grade to the next who cannot even read. As a baby boomer who had much more strict guidelines when I was growing up, it's amazing our kids can even form a proper grammatical sentence. It's so sad! Hold the system accountable, we are paying huge money for educating our kids!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  203. De Williams

    As an English teacher in a Public Charter school, I teach middle and high grade English for 2011-12. Every year I work harder than the year before; in fact, I work harder while the children do not – clocking in a 60-70 hour work week on a regular basis while seeking professional development for myself on an ongoing basis. While I am working harder than every, parents continue to pamper their increasingly work and study challenged students making every excuse and demanding that their students only be held accountable if it suits their summer fun schedule, soccer, etc. Additionally, my End of Course State Exam scores were fantastic as were the yearly achievement tests demanded by the state to accommodate No Child Left Behind regulations. However, our school has a salary schedule policy for teachers that according to the principal who devised the schedule "allows more pay for science, math, and special education – critical needs areas. English is not a critical needs area." Apparently, anyone can teach English courses. SAT reading scores are down – ask teachers and they can tell you why!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  204. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    How do you expect me to answer this question Jack? Where are my multiple choice options?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  205. Mary, NJ

    As a current high school senior, I know all too well of the perils of the SAT. This test is a mentally and physically grueling four and a half hour debacle. My peers and I are tired of being "taught the test" and reduced to mere numbers in the stressful college admissions process. We rely too much on standardized tests and rely too little on teaching reading comprehension and literature appreciation. As for where the U.S. is headed, your stats say it all. 36% of test takers where the first in their family to go to college. That's 36% in the right direction. Reading and writing are exceptionally important, but countless state standardized tests that take away up to a full week of school are not. Quit mandating these essentially meaningless tests and mandate your students to read a book.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  206. Allan Cruz

    OMG .... Seriously Dude?! More minorities taking the test is the confounding factor the College Board could come up with?

    How about the fact that current generation is now using different ways, but lazy ways, of communicating? LOL!

    Has the Board considered other dominant forms of communication vehicles such Twitter and texting as confounding factors? Why blame it on the minorities?

    To know where we are going we need to what is taking us there and not only where we are.


    res are lower due to the growing diversity of students taking the test

    September 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  207. Rand from Georgia

    As a veteran high school teacher in Georgia, I am stunned at how rapidly the quality and effectiveness of American public education has declined over the past ten years. More and more, school leadership positions are being filled with managers seeking to apply corporate-style, business principles to the education of children. Many of these individuals are anti-intellectual by nature , unqualified, and view the entire process as a moving, mass assembly-line operation with teachers stripped of all authority and relegated to mere 'facilitators'. In fact, the new mantra in public education is to treat all problems with a 'customer service and satisfaction' approach in order to reduce complaints and minimize responsibility and accountability. Students may not know anything, but they will sure feel good about their schooling. I am beyond angry or sad.... I'm ashamed.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  208. Terri

    Why is anyone surprised! There are lots of parentsout there who are either unaware that SATs are a prerequisite for college and serve as a marker for success in college, maybe even a successful life. There are teachers and educational administrators at all levels who believe in teaching or, perhaps, are forced to teach children above grade level is the solution without making sure the children have command of the basics. There are parents who will not constantly engage with their children to find out what they do and don't know or will not challenge teachers and administrators when they propose something stupid. Educating a child is nuanced and is guided by that child's abilities and weaknesses. If you are not there with that child dealing with this day by day, then the child is "SOL". The public school system is geared to "one size fits all".

    September 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  209. Alex from Cleveland

    40 years? It's only going to get worse. Honestly, classes are too easy, teachers practically hand out grades, and a lot of kids just don't care. How do I know this? I am currently a junior in high school and I see it everyday. School is so pathetically easy, I can sleep through most of my classes and still pass the class with an A. How about a little bit of a challenge when it comes to education?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  210. Kenny C

    College isn't necessary in the American information age. How often are U.S. college dropouts glorified by the media? Is an education necessary to acheive the "American Dream"? There's Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in business, Jay-Z never finished high school, the Kardashians, and the countless professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, PGA are glorified for acheiving their wealth without a higher education. What about those who do seek higher education? I'm speaking as a minority member of my post graduate class in bio-staistics, I was one of only a handful of students born in the United States. The majority of my classmates were foreign students studying diligently, to bring their new skills back to Asia. Go Scarlet Knights!!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  211. Barney R.

    We're already there Jack. Free public education is a drain on the budget and the power elite feel that it's time to privatize the education system and makeit a for profit industry. Millions of American workers don't need a college education in a service society.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  212. Bill, Canada

    Headed in the right direction if you ask them , drive by a high school, you see kids everywhere reading and sending text messages, that's enough to get by in this world by their standard.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  213. Greg J.

    America can expect a generation that is able locate information quickly but lacks the critical reasoning skills to do anything worthwhile with it. Having scored written responses on standardized tests and taught at the college level, I have seen (most) students are able to pick out relevant information from sources, but consistently fail to explain its relevancy or link information from multiple sources together. I find it difficult to believe reports that claim society is getting smarter in the face of more frequent reports like this.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  214. Keith Wilson

    We are now headed for a Nationwide eight grade mentality — to overcome this we must have somewhere to go — that is, we must go into and freely enable other countries, with the expertise we have now, to raise their standards so they will be able to trade their goods (be it labor or merchandise) worldwide. Then, and only then, will we be able to increase our abilities and SAT scores, so we might create the education needed, and jobs for our own populace. The greater the territory, the greater the intellectual abilities needed to strive for perfection. To give what we have is the answer — the World will never muzzle the ox that treads out the corn.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  215. sf2015

    It means that students don't care about education. It's a shame that American students see school as opresssive when thousands of children in developing countries dream of an education. Most students know more about texting and Facebook than they know about American History and math. Unfortunately some states set lower educatonal standards that to little to prepare the students for college. Unless America's youth change their attitude about education, America will lose its status of a world power.
    Scott Philadelphia

    September 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  216. Charlotte in Pennsylvania

    This is a cop out to blame this on diversity of students. This is the age of techie kids. They no longer have a love of books. They live by acronyms, abbreviations and brief, terse statements. Read ? why when theycan click on audio and have it read to them. Schools now debate whether to teach writing – cursive vs printing, upper case vs lower case, etc. Of course no one wants to take responsibility for this. No Child Left Behind also means 'Pass this Child Even Though He/She Doesn't Have the Knowledge to Move Forward.'

    September 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  217. Bernie of Lowell.

    Actually, Jack, I'm shocked that the young people who work the super market cash registers do not know how to make the proper change without reading the answer on the electronic cash register and get confused if I give them a few pennies "extra" so I don't get any back; it becomes even more complicated if I give them the difference so I can get the maximum numbers of quarters I can use in the washer and dryer.

    They have absolutely no reason to learn their basic number facts when they've got a machine to do it for them and a coin counter machine at the bank where they can dump their tons of loose coin.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  218. Ellen

    When it comes to education, there is a village educating children, from parents, educators, however when I saw on the news that first graders were going to use IPads, there is where education goes wrong. Technology should be the second thing, how are these children going to learn to read and write. And we wonder why so many graduates are illerate. How can we let this happen? I have put two daughters through every level from grammar to Master's Degrees. This a no-brainer, if these childre don't learn the basics, how are they going to survive in the real world. Is your child beyond technology ever going to sit down a read a book for enjoymneny. There's alot said for technology, but I think teachers might want to test their student, no matter what g grade they are in to see what their capabilities are. This generation is so pressured to perform, they are losing something along the way – themselves

    September 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  219. marybeth, massachusetts


    Silly question. We're winning the race to the bottom. Kids today don't read. Parents don't read. They watch tv, surf the internet, play video games or whatever the computer/internet version is these days, are plugged into the ipods and blackberries and are texting and sexting and tweeting.

    The reading and writing scores have dropped; no big surprise there. When I read some posters comments, I have to read them multiple times and even then I can't figure out what they mean because of the misspellings and poor grammar. Math scores dropped a little, and schools are more focused on math, but not every math problem will come to you in a formula–some math problems are word problems, and if the kids can't read, they'll never be able to translate the words into numbers and figure out the answers.

    The problem is multifaceted and on many levels including but not limited to unemployment, kids whose first language is not English, kids whose parents are high school and junior high dropouts; kids whose parents are immigrants; poor kids (because schools in poor communities don't spend money on schools); kids who just don't care; kids who feel entitled to A's in school for merely breathing even if they flunked the test and didn't do any homework; parents who don't respect and support teachers and who teach their kids to feel entitled without earning the grades; budget deficits which means that education is the first thing that gets cut and when things improve the funding is never ever restored to its previous level; too many distractions (cell phones, blackberries, games, sports, dating); selfishness (tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are more important than public education.

    Viewers have commented about teachers being the problem and especially tenure. They completely misunderstand what tenure really means–poorly performing teachers who are tenured CAN be fired, but the school has to show cause and there's a hearing. A non-tenured teacher can be fired for any reason or no reason without a hearing. It takes longer to fire a tenured teacher, but it can be done, provided that there is cause (poorly performing teacher), not merely because of petty jealousies or because the Mayor's son needs a job. If there are that many bad teachers, then the problem is "management" for not taking the time to help the teacher improve and if the teacher doesn't improve, then starting the process for termination.

    Defunding education has been going on since the Reagan administration. I think the GOP wants the most ignorant, stupidest population that can't read, write, or think, but will blindly obey the rich masters/corporations and be slaves. They're succeeding.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  220. Hector

    Where????? Serious?????
    South my friend, to fruit land.
    Makes me cry.....
    Can't add anything else, nobody will understand it or if longer than 40 words, read it.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  221. John In Bellevue, NE

    What do you expect? EVERYDAY, more people pour across our borders, who can't even SPEAK a word of English! I WEEP, for the future of this country!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm |