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I am a product of the Detroit Public School System.
I graduated from the prestigious Cass Technical High School in 1974, (Michigan State two years later).
The curriculum offered there was practically unprecedented in public school education at the time, but it was representative of the mentality that fueled our nation's public schools.
Cass Tech was both "college prep" and "trade school" at the same time.
The students were required to choose a 'major'.
On offer was everything from auto mechanics, to chem/bio with all manner of specialties in between.
My 'major' was Vocational Music, not to be confused with 'Avocational Music' which was also on offer.
When I later studied at The Mannes College Of Music in NYC, I was able to skip the first two years of conservatory-level classical music theory, because I had already studied it thoroughly in high school.
The same could be said of most of my school colleagues, regardless of their field of further study or immediate employment.
The chem-bio students were shoo-ins for pre-med, while those that had studied auto mechanics were immediately hired by one of The Big Three.
What did the auto geeks share with the book-worms and us artsy types?
A well-rounded Liberal Arts curriculum.

Read further below the fold....

Beyond the demands of our specialized subjects, and the general requirements of math, science, history, literature, civics and economics, we were all required to participate in extracurricular activities.
These ranged from the usual offerings such as the school choir, pep club, band or orchestra, participation in plays, Latin Club, debate team, to sports and ROTC.
We all came together with our different personal leanings and learned to cooperate, work together.
Cass Tech is but one example of the American public school model of the 50's, 60, and 70's.
The downward spiral in public school education in the US began under Ronald Reagan who started shifting funds away from education and directing them instead to the MIC.
The result a generation later is an educational system that is ranking lower and lower internationally with each passing year, failing our students miserably.
Not only are they scoring poorly in math and science, many are not being offered any of the liberal arts options necessary to develop critical thinking and human-interaction skills, because those funds have been cut entirely.
It is our duty to ensure that our students are stretching their minds, as opposed to being taught to close them down.

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