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Every American Worker Needs a Better 4th Grade Education

In 1970 a high school diploma implied that the graduate had mastered basic arithmetic, could read and write a coherent paragraph demonstrating comprehension of what they'd read and possessed some knowledge of basic science. Maybe not enough to be admitted to Harvard or UC Berkeley but certainly enough to begin to build a middle class life – an auto mechanic, building trades apprentice, chef, miner, farmer, police officer, fireman, US military member or factory worker. Fast forward to 2016 there are still hundreds of careers that can be built on a 1970s high school education including new careers like network administrator or computer programmer -- jobs that pay +/- $70K or more a year – after only about a year of technical training. The problem is that a high school diploma in 2016 does not require the same mastery of basic math, English, science and civics as it did in 1970.