Today, I made a serious error in judgement. (yet another!) I asked questions of a recent high school graduate. (oh Joy!) The questions I asked were simple enough, and I was even polite in doing it..(not easy for an old grump, especially this one!) I was (to say the absolute very least) apalled. The main reply to 99.9% of any question I asked was simple enough: "I don't know"! ( the other answers were out of the ball park!) I asked about who, (and showed the faces on the tv no less) were the people they saw.... The people were current politicians, and such....(not hollywood types!) I asked about the "preamble" to the Constitution of These United States....(I Even gave them a hint: "We the People...") I asked about the 3 branches of our government.... I asked about the constitution... I asked about the constitutional amendments.... I asked questions about everyday events, and the latest news about anything they had read or seen.... Then, I jumped from the frying pan right on into the fire! (my self abuse is evidently now becoming a hobby!) I asked questions (most 8th graders would know) about biology, science, chemistry, (I stayed away from history, not a good subject for me, except the last few decades!), and so I asked about geography....(bad choices too) Being a completely total IDIOT, I asked about physiology of the human body, that was not a good place to go either! I asked various questions and tried to elicit any decent response or at least a partially correct answer. I failed in ALL of my attempts.... Being such an IDIOT, I went on, further, I started to ask questions of 3 of these so-called "graduates".... I had to stop my 20 year old from answering, as they were his friends and he felt I was being "onery" or something like that! ( far be it from me!) I was set back, and my head began to spin...you know, "the blood shoots from your eyes" sort of thing? All had some "skills", in playing, editing and making video's, internet, and games, up the wazoo.....! Not one of these individuals were up to par with "real world" skill sets... Not one seemed to know what is happening in the entire country. Nothing that could have prepared them for a job, and were not the least bit interested in the world, outside of "gaming" and music/videos.... It was beyond my comprehension to see this in "real time" for myself.... The educational "system" has "dumbed them down" to the level of a 3rd or 4th grader! ( by my standards.....) I was in 3rd grade in 1959-60. Now, I was not cruel, and didn't ask what the speed of light was, or the chemical composition of salt or water was.... I didn't ask a lot. ( I learn quick, well sometimes anyway...) I did ask questions that put me into a frothing mad episode however! I asked WHO was the first president of these United States! I asked who's photo is on the dollar bill... I asked about the date the Declaration of Independence was signed.... I asked who "Henry Ford" was....( wanna know the answer I got?) "He's some guy that was a president once"! I gave it up.... I had reached the end of my ability to reach into so many heads filled with sawdust and try to get something of ANY value, of any 1 of them. I took 2 excedrin, and went to my room....I took a long and very disturbed nap! So, I ask of you... What has happened to the next, generation? (generation "X" I guess they refer to it today) What does this say about us and where we are heading....? I can see these individuals being "herded" like so many cattle into "workhouses"......(They have no abilities anymore) They seem to have NO clue, and are content with that fact. Due to cutbacks in school programs, there will be no more: Music/band/instrument classes, auto shops, metal shops, electronics shops, drafting classes, wood shops, art classes, and most schools have decided to drop their chemistry and biology classes due to the expensive materials and lack of funding...(besides no one today can afford the "lab fees"!). (Lucky to have clothes and books!) Where does that leave the un-educated? All to be fast food workers? Will they all work in Walmart's? No more scientists, mathematicians, engineers...nada. These "graduates" are supposed to be ready to head for college? Not going to happen! Even with the great shortage of nurses in this state, and I assume, all over the country, there are no "qualified" teachers anymore. That is the excuse given for not having enough trained nursing staff today! I mean, what is happening ? Why did this get so out of control? Are "WE" to become a "service" industry? No one seemed to take much notice when a not so long ago "president" suggested that WE all go back and learn a NEW TRADE via "community College". Due to a lot of manufacturing jobs that went south to mexico, and now they're griping, (mexico), having "lost" those very same jobs to china! How many people can be in a "service" industry, when ONLY the elite have the money to go to places that have those services! I am flabbergasted by all of it, and wonder what the heck is going to happen next.... I now understand why I have 2 sons in uniform.... It's a job "dad"....! I count my blessings as it were, they did NOT choose to go into the military...... But, the worry is still the same, at least for me it is. My youngest son aspired to become a photograper like I was long ago....(when I was young!) Today, there is little profit much less a living to be made there. When I did it, there was a need for advertising in newspapers, magazines, and even in portraits. Not even in the insurance industry anymore. Today it has become a "luxury" item, and money has dried up steadily. I gave him all of my equipment, some 30 all total-35mm film cameras, 4- 2 & 1/4"/120mm Hasselblads, some cameras that are as old as 35+ years. All 7 of my 4 x 5 studio cameras, and thousands of dollars in lenses, plus my digital equipment and all the darkroom equipment he could ever use. It sits in cases, (about 12-14), covered in dust today..... No more Kodachrome, no more "Polaroid" film for test shots, no need for film today say many. I have many books, a library, and I have taught him since he was in 7th grade. He began shooting portarits in his freshman year in High School and earned a modest amount....A good beginning. It was his dream job.....He has the tools, he has learned many of the skills, and he is thinking of looking for work today as a janitor! "It's a job...dad"!