As President Barack Obama moves forward with his plan to provide free college for all Americans, people would be forgiven in assuming the nation is getting smarter.
Unfortunately, that's just not true.
Students who took the SAT and ACT college entrance exams last year bombed the tests with the lowest scores in decades, officials announced this week.
A Bloomberg report shows high school students from the 2015 graduating class had the lowest SAT test scores in 40 years.
SAT writing scores have been declining steadily over the last few years, but this year's average of 495 out of 800 means today's college freshman are the least prepared students in years. That's the lowest score since 1972.The average SAT math score was 511 out of 811, the lowest since 1999.
Students who took the competing ACT test also failed miserably. More than 30 percent of test takers failed to score high enough to prove they would do well in college.
Since the test is only taken by college-bound high schoolers, that means today's freshman class isn't ready to succeed at the university level.
That matches what community college experts are reporting about their students' ability to succeed in university coursework.
Lauren Schuddle, an assistant professor from the University of Texas at Austin, told WalletHub improving graduation rates requires more than just money.
"A lot of students are not academically prepared for college coursework and require additional support to be successful. Most community colleges face serious resource constraints that make it difficult for them to meet students' needs."Maybe these statistics shouldn't come as a surprise considering the nearly continuous budget cuts faced by today's K-12 schools. At least a third of the states are providing schools less funding than they did before the recession, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Kansas funded its public school system so poorly that six school districts were forced to close early last year because they didn't have enough money thanks to budget cuts by Gov. Sam Brownback, according to the Huffington Post.
When combined with the assault on teachers, their wages, and benefits, the results become predictable. In a good year, 20 percent of teachers leave their chosen field in the first three years, but budget cuts drive them out of the industry.
Should we be surprised our kids have the lowest test scores in years?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]