What is Lowering the Bar?


Throughout my series on the status of public schools in America, one, if not the single most important factor that the system is viewed as “ineffective and non-functional” I believe lies in the state of what is or what isn’t acceptable standards in the United States of America. I am of a generation that at all grade levels we stood, hands over our hearts, and before anything else, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance. I did it in kindergarten and I continued through the twelfth grade in high school.  

I am also from a generation of people who would not ever think to call Christmas Break, “Winter Break.” All things being equal, the same generation referred to Easter Break by its name, rather than “Spring Break.” There was an American flag in every classroom I attended; moreover, no one, and I mean not one single person ever spoke during the Pledge of Allegiance.  

My generation could NOT and did not wear Tee shirts to school. Nope. We wore collared Oxford button-down shirts always tucked neatly into our pants, and one didn’t even think about getting out of the house with scuffed up shoes! I was in on the tail end of a generation that only just allowed dress shoes to be replaced by athletic footwear; however, only the athletes did that…it just wasn’t vogue or remotely chic. 

Just one more issue about my generation: We believed in God and our teachers always alluded to “…if you feel the need…then just bow your head at your desk…” Ladies and gentlemen, not a test went by when just about the entire class had their heads down!  We also gave respect with reverence to those folks, who celebrated Hanukkah, mostly because we really didn’t know what it was—but hey, why beat up or call a friend names when one didn’t know what it was they celebrated? In short, that is where the Bar of Acceptable Standards was when I was growing up. 

People keep asking me, what do you mean about “…lowering the bar…” What standards have been lowered, and why does this make a difference in your life, anyway? Earlier this morning I read this article:  The Citizen-Times a newspaper published in the great state of North Carolina. 

Asheville Charges against an Asheville couple mark the first use of a 90-year-old North Carolina law on desecration of the American flag since the Vietnam War era, a state court official said Thursday.  Even then, police used the law only two times. Back-to-back U.S. Supreme Court decisions since then make it unconstitutional, civil rights experts said.

However, state law prohibits anyone from knowingly mutilating, defiling, defacing or trampling the U.S. or North Carolina flags. The Sheriff’s Office has said the Kuhn’s desecrated the flag by pinning signs to it, not by flying it upside down. We all know that the United States Supreme Court ruled that burning (or desecrating) the American flag is in fact, acceptable under the 1st Amendment; however, it is stipulated in the Court’s ruling that any “flag burning” should be done peacefully. 

Unfortunately for the Kuhn’s what they did not know is that the law banning desecrating the American flag is still on the books in North Carolina. This situation is clearly a states rights matter versus a federal rights decision. It will be interesting to follow this case and see how it turns out; however, what is the r-e-a-l issue behind this? What makes it newsworthy?

For the record, an American flag being flown upside-down is a signal of distress.  The Kuhn’s, who were hanging an upside-down American flag with signs attached to it on their front porch, said they flew the flag to protest the state of the country. The Kuhn’s said the signs pinned to the flag were to explain why they were displaying the flag upside down along with a photo of President Bush with “out now” written on it.

Ah-ha! So the truth comes out! This family was not alerting people that America—her people, infrastructure, military bases, or government—was in distress, rather they stated they were protesting the state of the country.

Coming around full scale now this is precisely what I mean when stating that the standards of acceptable behavior are being lowered. Theoretically speaking, suppose the Kuhn’s had children in a public school? Would they be encouraging the children to wear “hate messages” or other types of “free speech” on their clothing? Well, many people do.

What do I mean about “Lowering the Bar”? We would have never thought to desecrate our Nation’s flag. If one was from my generation they knew what to wear to school and how to wear it. Cheating on an exam was never acceptable, nor was using a calculator during a math exam. As students, we were NOT just passed through grade-to-grade even though some were not ready for grade promotion.

In my series, yesterday, I wrote about Standards of Learning and lowering the bar. Now that the state of California has instituted an exit exam to show the community that children are learning, what I did not say was that the test is based on 7th-grade curriculum and most recommend that one take it during their sophomore year or the 10th grade.

The only other issue I did NOT mention was that California realized very early that placing a passing level at 75% was far too high; therefore, officials lowered that to 55% pass rate. Where in the world can one do anything at 55% and still get paid?

Much more to come. . .



About J.Paul

Academia, Constitution, Musicianship, all around Caucasian male, straight, and professes Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. Guitars -- Classical, Acoustic, A/E, Strat, a real bassist at heart, Les Paul Standard bass.
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One Response to What is Lowering the Bar?

  1. dshilling says:

    Most excellent! You have held true to your promise and explained what is Lowering the Bar.

    You’ve got me now, I’ll keep reading!



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