Illiterate Teacher Taught High School for 17 Years

A retired teacher has revealed that he was illiterate until age 48. John Corcoran “graduated from college and taught high school for 17 years without being able to read, write or spell.”

In America, getting a high school or college degree is no guarantee of knowledge or basic skills. Indeed, it is almost impossible to fail out of most U.S. educational institutions. (In many other Western countries which spend less money on education, such ignorance would be detected).

Even my dumbest high-school classmates got their diplomas. And I received a degree from Harvard Law School even though I spent less time studying than I did watching the sitcom “Married With Children” (I got a “B” in contracts even though I did not know which body of law — the common law or the Uniform Commercial Code — applied to five-sixths of my contracts exam). The only difficult thing about Harvard Law School was getting in.

My wife, an immigrant who took a series of law classes at France’s University of Nice as an undergraduate, had a better grasp of the law upon graduating than I did, even though she possesses only a degree in languages (with just a concentration in law), while I have a prestigious American law degree. (I learned the basics of law from a summer bar-review class taught by BarBri, not from Harvard Law School). When we needed to get out of our apartment lease and avoid paying further rent or liquidated damages, she was the one who did the legal research that enabled us to establish legal grounds for doing so.

It is impossible to set meaningful standards for Americans to get a high school diploma because our politicians want everyone, no matter how dumb or unprepared, to receive their high-school diploma and go on to college. No matter how bad your high-school grades are, you can always attend a community college afterwards, and then transfer to a four-year state college if your community-college grades are passable. That eliminates any incentive for American students to study in high-school.

Similarly, in American colleges, which are lavishly subsidized by the federal government, partying is often the focus rather than studying. Yet politicians like Bill Clinton want every high-school graduate to go on to attend college or community college.

In yesterday’s Examiner, Melanie Scarborough argued that college degrees have become so devalued that a college degree today serves the same function as a high-school diploma a generation ago. (There are so many college graduates chasing the few jobs that really require college degrees that some graduates end up aiming to work at Borders or Starbucks). Many high school students lack basic math skills and understanding of civics, and don’t even know what “Congress” is. (Rather than teaching basic skills, schools waste time teaching about “diversity” and “multiculturalism,” and other politically-correct dogma).

And college dropouts are actually less-informed voters, with poorer reasoning skills, than people who have never gone to college, but have mastered a useful skill, like being an electrician.