A piece of sheepskin

The high school diploma doesn’t mean anything, says the American Diploma Project, which was launched by a consortium of education reform groups.

The diploma has lost its value because what it takes to earn one is disconnected from what it takes for graduates to compete successfully beyond high school — either in the classroom or in the workplace.

Despite all the complaints that graduation requirements are too tough, the project calls for raising the bar, writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post.

Here are the main points in their argument:

The new state high school graduation tests are often at only an eighth or ninth grade level, and they do little to change the fact that 28 percent of high school graduates going to college take remedial English or math courses when they start their freshman years.

Even though more than 70 percent of our high school grads attend college, fewer than half of them get a four-year degree, and that record is even poorer for African Americans and Hispanics. We Americans used to say, “So what? We still lead the world in college-going.” But the truth is several European countries have caught up with us by adopting our open university system.

Most employers say the high school graduates they hire lack basic skills. That’s old news. The American Diploma Project, directed by Sheila Byrd, has spent $2.4 million of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s money on two years of research that has produced this new and rather startling conclusion: high school graduates NOT going to college, in order to find jobs that will provide them a comfortable living, need just as many academic skills as their classmates enrolling at Old Ivy.

The American Diploma Project recommends English and math skills that all students should master to prepare for work or college.

The report offers conclusions on what students are going to need to survive in the workplace or in college from more than 300 faculty members from two- and four-year institutions, front-line managers and high school educators. One surprising part of the report for a technologically ignorant poly sci major like me were the examples of workplace tasks a high school graduate confronts these days. Here is an assignment for a machine operator apprentice at the Eastman Chemical Company:

“Ask the apprentice to mix a solution (#1) of 5 g Peters fertilizer and 50 g distilled water. Determine the percent concentration-by-weight of this solution. The basic formula is weight of the solute divided by the combined weight of the solute and solvent equals percent concentration-by-weight. . . . Calculate the density of this solution (#1). [The basic formula is] divide the weight by the volume to determine the density in gm/ml. Ask the apprentice to make a solution (#2) using 10 g of Peters and 50 g of distilled water. Determine the percent concentration-by-weight. Ask the apprentice: Why is the concentration-by-weight of solution #2 not double the concentration-by-weight of solution #1 since the solute is doubled? Ask the apprentice to use this formula to explain: C = x/x + V and 2x/2x + V ? 2(x/x + V)”

Employers must spend more to teach new hires basic reading and math skills. Or hire in India.

About Joanne


  1. As I said over on #2 Pencil a few days ago:

    I have parented kids continuously for 30+ years (our oldest is 31, and we are raising at home now 19, 15, 12, and 7 – and there are 3 others out of home between the 19 and 30 year old) – so I have had a good “continuum” to watch over the years as an extension of my own public school and college and grad school education. In addition I still work in (defense) industry and am a hiring manager as business growth allows.

    Today’s industry is much less “brainless” assembly work and much more team oriented knowledge based. The current educational model, in my opinion, is structured to provide a majority of workers who can understand and execute simplified instructions and tasks, and a minority of planners, thinkers, and knowledge manipulators (i.e. bosses). What we are producing is many people who can enter data into a spreadsheet, but precious few who can DESIGN the spreadsheet and the generate the formulas that go into it (and I won’t get into those that need to design and code and test the spreadsheet application itself!)

    What I look for to hire are people with specific technical abilities – AND – good social skills, who can fit into a team of diverse personalities, skills, ages and social/ethnic… backgrounds – who can think and act independently, who can spontaneously come up with creative and innovative solutions and who can be led by being “pointed toward” rather than dragged and driven ( or, shudder, threatened). They need good written and verbal communication skills, and at least a good solid grounding in basic math, and science, plus some appreciation of language, history (and yes the arts) to support the ability to be inquisitive and questioning. The results that I see coming out of schools today do not meet these criteria very well at all. These candidates need to think, acquire and evaluate “data” for themselves and come to reasonable (logically and scientifically) defendable answers, not regurgitate canned “most correct” answers that someone else already has in mind as “correct”. When you are doing what has never been done before – there is no predetermined “correct” answer, you have to invent it yourself – and know that if the answer is “wrong” the consequences are much more literal than “minus X points”.

    The current educational model is NOT good at graduating individuals that fit the above requirements, and with excessive focus on a “one size fits all model” of educational content and testing, with time subtracted from education to enhance test scores, I don’t see it improving.

  2. I have to agree with harvey (and kudos to you, harvey, for your very well-written descriptions). I also work and hire in industry, and I have to agree that the graduates coming out of our schools today are totally unprepared and unsuitable for today’s work environment.

    In order to compete effectively, American industry can no longer afford a group of minimally-educated manual laborers. Companies are pushing decision-making down to the lowest levels, and along with the power to make decisions comes the responsibility to accept the consequences for those decisions, both good and bad.

    We now require a 2-year degree for new hire plant operators, plus have a 2-year training and apprenticeship program before they’re released. They must have or develop the following skills: computer skills, including MS Office, a host of company-developed computer-based tools and databases, programming skills(a Fortran-derivative) that is used to operate the plants, writing skills (they write new work procedures and review and propose modifications for existing job procedures), team skills (they participate on teams for everything from improving plant processes to reward/recognition to hiring teams), leadership skills (they are expected to work as largely self-directed teams, understand their boundaries, and be willing to take the initiative on things outside their core of daily responsibilities).

    Everyone in our company, from the top to the bottom, is expected to constantly be learning new things. We use an on-line computer-based training system, where you can work it in your own time and at your own pace for a large majority of topics (and at no charge except for a handful of special courses). Everyone has an annual list of minimum required training courses (such as state and federal regulatory requirements, internal safety training requirements, etc), plus you can optionally take almost anything you want to improve your skills or learn new skills for a new job, from writing skills to computer software to web creation to leadership skills to engineering and science topics such as fluid dynamics, solids handling, CAD/CAM, materials science, etc. NO ONE can afford to count on only what they learned in school – you’d be so far behind you’d never catch up.

    I earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in chemistry in college. Thanks to training available to me through my employer, I now have the equivalent of several additional degrees over a 22-year career: mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, materials science, analytical chemistry, business administration, business economics, marketing. I also have marketable expertise in technical writing, graphic arts & design, and web design.

    I might mention that the unions are not particularly happy with this. See, hourly folks can work on increasing their skills on their own, and can then apply for any salaried job for which they meet the minimum qualifications (degree or equivalent work experience) (We have an on-line, global job posting database where you can self-nominate). We’ve got a lot of folks that were previously hourly operators who have moved up to salaried technicians, and technicians who have moved up to salaried professionals, based on interest and ability.

    If we hire someone just out of college, it takes at least 2-3 years before they’re minimally competent (but they come in thinking they know it all, of course), and at least 3-5 years before they’re actually productive enough to earn the equivalent of what they’re getting paid. One of the biggest challenges we have is getting new hires to understand that they don’t have all the time in the world to work on a problem, and that there may not be ANY right answer.

    More important than knowing something is knowing how to go about finding out – who are the knowledgeable experts, what do they say, is this a known issue or something new, has someone else done it already and if so can I leverage their learnings/experiences and not reinvent the wheel? Is it possible? Is it economically feasible (return on investment, time to break even, projected market growth, etc.) Can it be done in time to meet deadlines? Is there a lower cost alternative? These are all routine questions asked in business, but new graduates tend to look at you as if you’re speaking alien gibberish. (Well, maybe you are, given the kinds of radical-left socialist agenda that most kids get force-fed in college these days.)

  3. Claire,

    I agree with your comments. A lot of students who graduate from high school (or even college) these days, will take a very long time to get up to speed on something (and in the current economy, workers are expected to be MORE productive, not less productive).

    The model of our current school system is completely outdated, a throwback to the 1930’s when a large number of labor based jobs (inc. agriculture) were the norm. The school year, and day have decreased over the last 75 years to an average of 180 days at 6 hours a day in class.

    In order to correct the problem (which may NOT be correctable) would require a complete redesign of how schools operate (lord knows the NEA and teachers unions will never go for that).

  4. Just wondering about those liberal arts professors who think they are the smartest people in the world (viz the recent comments from Duke). I wonder how many of them could pass this test for apprentices?

  5. I don’t think the standardized test movement is going to alleviate this problem. We do need to reform education, especially secondary education, which I don’t think works for a large percentage of students. The problem is that the reform movement currently in vogue is back to the model of the 50’s and 60’s.

  6. I find it interesting that the comments talk about workers requiring more skills and the ability to operate independently.

    My experience has been that companies have been desperately trying to deskill lower level jobs and have almost removed the ability of lower-level employees to exercise any judgement. Doing so makes employees completely fungible, allowing the company to add, move, and replace workers as necessary. It also allows the company to centralize all control as high as possible so as to institute best practices.

    I strongly suspect we’re seeing a big company versus small company split. Small companies need even their lowest level employees to exercise judgment. Large companies need their lowest level employees to conform. In the example above, measurement could be automated in order to avoid a possible miscalculation by the employee.

  7. Tom, the more you automate, the more things break down and the more skill is needed to fix them. I don’t have experience in big companies, but I did work as an electronic technician in the Air Force for 6 years, and it doesn’t get much bigger or more bureaucratized than that. Theoretically, the lowest tier of techs would remove bad electronic boxes from the airplane (F111D) and bring them to us in the shop. We would put them on enormous automated testers that would identify what card was bad inside the box, and we would replace with a spare card. Actually, we spent most of our time fixing those automated testers, which were more complex and harder to troubleshoot than the aircraft electronics. When we did get the problem isolated to one card, there usually wouldn’t be spares left. Overall, the automation probably saved some manhours versus troubleshooting the electronics on aircraft mockups, but the skill level required was higher.

    In the small electronics factory where I work now, we wouldn’t survive at all without extensive automation. About 80% of the jobs require computer skills and at least some decision making. That’s managers, engineers, technicians, test operators, machine operators, and even the janitor’s assistant needs skill at handling plumbing crises and at maintaining equipment like floorscrubbers. The very bottom 20% of the workforce are doing handwork that it isn’t cost-effective to automate.

  8. Apart from the appenticeships, one can also measure “ready for college” From the current state standards, only 34.6% of 2001-02 high school graduates in California met the CSU/UC entrance requirements
    112,934 of 325,928 graduates


    forbidding enough, but when you factor in that this class of ’02 started with 468,162 9th graders, the college readiness for 9th graders drops to 24%

  9. “In the example above, measurement could be automated in order to avoid a possible miscalculation by the employee.” True enough, but then someone has to establish the procedures to be used by the automated system. This will need to be redone every time time process changes, or whenever a new process is added. And the danger of miscalculation is still there: screw it up, and you’ve screwed it up not just for this batch but for every batch from here on out (until someone figures out what’s going on)

  10. Steve LaBonne says:

    Deskilling and outsourcing are not a guaranteed source of profit- they often backfire. I remember reading in a recent “Forbes” about an inventor who brought back the manufacturing of his product to the US from China because the Chinese factories he had contracted with fell way short on quality and flexibility.

    We will retain those industries in which the productivity of our workforce yields quality and efficiency that justify its higher pay. That will require workers who are intellectually flexible and can take initiative. That’s why business leaders are screaming about the quality of the product coming out of the schools, just as college teachers have been doing for years. This is a truly, truly crucial issue for our future economic health. Much time has been wasted since the original “Nation at Risk” report with little improvement to show for it. Time is beginning to run out.

  11. To respond to Tom West’s comment about big-vs-small companies:

    “My experience has been that companies have been desperately trying to deskill lower level jobs and have almost removed the ability of lower-level employees to exercise any judgement…I strongly suspect we’re seeing a big company versus small company split. Small companies need even their lowest level employees to exercise judgment.”

    Actually, Tom, this is the case only in some limited areas of widget manufacturing: automobiles, appliances, and other types of assembly line-type construction in the traditional manufacturing sector. I happen to work for a Fortune 100 company, and I can tell you that what I described about requiring more skills, decision-making, and responsibility for lower and lower levels is becoming the norm in successful big business. I don’t consider the models used by the automotive companies as ‘successful’, and they’re the one everyone always cites when they talk about outsourcing. There are fewer and fewer opportunities for the ‘all brawn and no brains’ type of labor, and I say ‘good riddance’. People who want to ‘check their brains at the gate’ are a luxury that American business can no longer afford.

    Big corporations also make decisions about where to manufacture based on the harsh economic realities of today’s markets. Margins are very small, raw materials and energy are very expensive and getting more so every day, literally. Labor is a significant cost, and so productivity is important. Local economies, labor situations, local and state/federal laws, tax incentivies, barriers such as import duties or trade tariffs, etc. all have to be considered. And when your choice is to manufacture overseas and make 2 cents per pound profit, or manufacture in the U.S. and lose 3 cents per pound, it is really no choice at all.

    I also hear the constant refrain that ‘big corporations treat their people like expendables’. Perhaps this was true in the past. But the really successful large corporations today realize that they can’t afford to do this. It’s not a fuzzy, feel-good thing, but simple economic realities. People are a valuable resource, and to get and retain good people, you have to treat them well. All the big companies pay about the same and provide about the same benefits; the points of difference are the way you are treated. When you can enjoy going to work, enjoy doing your job, and have opportunities for new challenges, and feel you are valued as a person, you’re likely to be more productive and more successful. And that’s good for both you personally and for your employer.

  12. Claire wrote: Companies are pushing decision-making down to the lowest levels, and along with the power to make decisions comes the responsibility to accept the consequences for those decisions, both good and bad.

    Hmmm…. IME, for most corporate employers, that’d be a first!

    We’ve got a lot of folks that were previously hourly operators who have moved up to salaried technicians,

    Why would I want to be salaried instead of hourly? Does someone think the word “gullible” is (or should be) written on my forehead?

    Tom West wrote: It also allows the company to centralize all control as high as possible so as to institute best practices.

    My experience has been that companies centralize all control as high as possible so as to avoid having to even hear about best practices, much less institute them.

    Large companies need their lowest level employees to conform.

    Better say, large companies believe (erroneously) that they need this.

    David Foster wrote: And the danger of miscalculation is still there: screw it up, and you’ve screwed it up not just for this batch but for every batch from here on out (until someone figures out what’s going on)

    And the sooner companies allow corrective feedback on this sort of problem without firing the employee who gives it to them (AKA “killing the messenger”), the sooner the “someone figures out what’s going on” part will happen.

    Steve LaBonne wrote: I remember reading in a recent “Forbes” about an inventor who brought back the manufacturing of his product to the US from China because the Chinese factories he had contracted with fell way short on quality and flexibility.

    And I’d wager that somebody predicted this very thing to him and he didn’t listen.

  13. Tom West, et. al.
    MacDonalds dumbs down worker tasks because kids can’t make/count change, and because the deliverable product is mature and consistency from unit to unit, store to store is a high priority.

    I work for one of the largest defense contractors, and previously for a smaller other defense contractor. Both the currant sub division here, and the previous employer were relatively small (1200) groups that our customers came to when they needed a solution that didn’t exist. Our businesses were to invent the solution, pushing the limits and laws of physics and the state-of-the -art, or inventing a new state-of-the-art to produce unique solutions in limited quantities. Frequently, we were asked to deliver something that worked – yesterday. While our corporate trend is to have a uniform “process” for everything, this frequently does not fit well (one size does NOT fit all!) in our environment. Why? Because much of what we do has too many random unknown or uncontrollable variables. Therefore, creatively, innovation, questioning, independent thinking, teamwork, and specific technical skills combined with broad basic knowledge, good verbal, presentation, and writing skills etc. are critical attributes of successful employee candidates.

    Similarly to Claire, this is a complex technical, and process oriented environment where experienced new hires may need 6-12 months to be fully productive, and new COLLEGE grads may need 1-3 years to figure out organizationally/process wise, how things work, who does what, whom to see for what kind of knowledge, service or mentoring.

  14. It sounds like some people on this thread are working for dinosaurs. Better look for a career change, because extinction is coming.

    At least part of the push to “de-skilling” and removing decisionmaking from lower and middle levels comes from the ISO-9000 standards. These aren’t all bad, but they combine good quality assurance ideas with encouragement for bureaucratic paralysis. Writing down everything you do and making everyone follow the written procedures _sounds_ like a way to comply. It doesn’t work so well in practice. There probably are better ways to meet the requirements, but the way it’s often treated makes it seem like a plan to make large European companies competitive by dragging the rest of the world down to their level of ossification. I think in the long run, it’s not going to work. Companies that remain nimble and rely on everyone to use their brains will beat out the rest.

    Then there are companies where the problem-solving techniques favored by management are killing the messenger, denying the problem exists, and blaming it on someone else when it becomes impossible to ignore. They lose source code for programs, lose board designs, and lose assembly documentation, then pay through the nose for their subcontractors to make up the deficiencies – but only after a whole lot of yelling and screaming when the subcontractor makes it clear that this isn’t part of the normal service. It sounds incredible that a company that badly managed can remain competitive, but I know of two that are run that way and are still making money. They are the only two competitors in a niche market, and obviously they’ve hired each other’s managers and engineers until they are almost identical in structure, practices, and products. It would take 5-10 years and $50 million to design and bring to production a competitive product line, and build the sales force and contacts to sell it. American companies don’t plan that far ahead. Someday a large Japanese family-owned company will notice how vulnerable they are and make the investment needed to dominate that market…

  15. Can’t resist the ISO 9000 comment from markm: You’re talking ISO 9001:1994, not the new ISO 9001:2000. Only 6 required procedures, although writing things down is usually a good idea when lots of people have to do the same thing. The bureaucracy is way down, and it’s stopped being so prescriptive. Still got some warts, but a big step forward. The focus now is also on ‘what are you doing, why are you doing it, and is it working, and how are you going to make it work better?’ All the fancy written procedures and wonderful systems in the world mean nothing if your customer are still complaining that your product still doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.

    I’m an ISO 9000/14000 lead auditor, and I can tell you that the biggest problem with the old ISO 9000 was management. They saw it as some kind of minimum standards rubber stamp, and did the minimum to get by. And in that case, you get just what you pay for: minimal compliance and no benefits. No, don’t blame ISO for your problems. Put the blame where it really lies: on your managers.

  16. Hi, I just wanted to add a comment to this thread.

    I always thought that our public schools were institutions to teach about bodies of knowledge, such as reading, science, English, etc. and not to teach vocational skills. If I was a Voc-Ed teacher reading these posts, I’d be a little worried about my job performance! Perhaps the reason why kids leave high school with poor work skills is because they’ve never worked at a demanding, career-oriented job!

    I’m a high school English teacher, and I proudly teach things such as parts of speech , comma use and the essay. I don’t care if this applies to future work situations or not because I’m teaching a body of knowledge, not to make kids ready for a job!

    Two more points: I’m also a small business owner, and I’m very interested in getting good summer help. The pool of hard-working, safety-conscious kids is pretty small, let me tell you. However, that fact has nothing to do with their grades or their teachers. Trust me, the ratio of “effective thinkers and communicators” to lazy, no-brainers is the same in my school, as it is in your school, as it is in our society.

    Finally, If American kids are so poorly prepared for the work force (and I’ve been hearing this for decades), why are so many of America’s industries still kicking butt in a “global marketplace” ?

  17. jeff wright says:

    ABC Nightline devoted last night’s program to the current political storms over outsourcing. Most of the program was set in India, which is getting the bulk of the outsourcing work. Boy, are those Indian kids impressive. Well-educated, smart, motivated and hard-working. Great English skills, too. Also, I was surprised to see the number of household name companies with large campuses in India: Dell, Microsoft, Cisco, GM, you name it.

    It seems as if virtually any “backoffice” work that can possibly be sent to India is going there. Not just HR people, but accountants and tax-preparers, engineers, cardiologists, etc. High-skill, high-wage jobs.

    While all of this is going on, our K-12 and college systems are preoccupied with “diversity” and “fairness,” buzzwords for not offending the kids by making them work too hard or (shudder) master English if they happen to have initially learned another language. I presume those Indian kids can also speak their native tongue. Hell, most of them (and their parents) seemed to possess better grammar skills than many native-born English speakers.

    If they don’t want to work in relatively low-wage jobs— whose only virtue is direct customer contact—all of their lives, American kids and their parents had better get a clue. And educators? Prime villains, IMO. They’re the experts. Parents and kids tend to defer to experts.

    Do our educators and young people think that the good fairy in the person of goverment is going to somehow keep all of those jobs from going overseas? The Internet has changed everything. Protectionism won’t work.

    How do these kids think they will possibly be able to paricipate in our overwhelming consumer economy? Last I looked, SUVs and other goodies ain’t cheap.

  18. jeff wright says:

    Forgot to address this thought from Dave:

    “Finally, If American kids are so poorly prepared for the work force (and I’ve been hearing this for decades), why are so many of America’s industries still kicking butt in a “global marketplace” ?

    Well, Dave, if the industries happen to have significant operations in a foreign company…..well, stockholders may be happy for a while about such performance in a “global marketplace.” But, ultimately, who’s going to be left to buy the stock and the products? Africans? Chinese?

  19. I have to take issue with Dave about High Schools being a place to teach a Body of Knowledge not Vocational Skills. Until relatively recently (50 years ago) High Schools did teach lots of Vocational skills. So if someone wanted to learn how to be an Electrician or an Auto Mechanic they could establish a base of knowledge in High School. This would serve to keep students, who had no interest in going to College, interested and Modivated. It seems that in addition to being worried about diversity and fairness Educators decided that all students should be exposed to the College Prep Environment. I would guess that we would have more Creative, Motivated, Enthusiastic, Solution Oriented, students if our schools taught thing that the students could see are going to be of use to them in their career as opposed to a “Body of Knowledge.”

  20. Chris — knowing how to write might be helpful in a career (or when contributing to blogs).

  21. Also,

    Vocational ed isn’t the bad thing that a bunch of educrats make it out to be. The first objective is to make sure the student has a good grounding in the basics of math, science, english, government, history, etc.

    The student (once properly prepared) can then work on an area of specialization if they choose to do so. In 5 to 10 years, the worker may want to advance, so back to school the worker goes.

    Just my two cents worth…

  22. jeff wright says:

    Dave is actually right. Classic “liberal” education is all about producing an individual who can read and write well, do higher order math and knows where he/she fits into the grand march of human development. In short, a civilized human being. The idea is that such an individual, whose mind has been expanded through exposure to the educational process, will then be prepared to take many of the multitudinous tasks needed to run our society, sometimes right out of high school, and sometimes through pursuing higher education. Only problem is, our schools aren’t producting such individuals. Why?

    I don’t want high school, or college, for that matter, to be primarily glorified vo-tech. I agree that high school should certainly offer vo-tech classes: why shouldn’t kids learn how to be skilled mechanics or electricians in high school? These are honorable professions and such folks contribute greatly to our society. A lot of kids just aren’t destined for or wired to get college degrees. Why can’t schools do it both ways?

    Dave has, perhaps unwittingly, identified the real issue with schools today. They aren’t turning out skilled mechanics and electricians, nor are they turning out traditional liberally educated individuals. For the latter, check out the statistics about college freshmen who need remedial English and math. Just what are the schools doing? What happens to the kids for those six-seven hours per day? Why do we need the public schools?

  23. Wacky Hermit says:

    How about VocEd as electives for cross-training the college bound? Maybe then we wouldn’t have so many continually unemployed people who find that they need an extension of government unemployment benefits because they can’t get jobs in their field for two years.

    My parents always insisted that if we were bound for college, we should also train in an alternative job or trade that could support us if circumstances made it impossible for us to pursue our professions. I learned to sew and design clothes, one of my sisters can teach dance, another has studied interior design, and the third studied floral design and bookbinding. By profession we are (respectively) a math teacher, a music teacher, an elementary school teacher turned secretary, and a Business major graduating in a year. We also can all play instruments. My dad fixes computers; when he tired of being an OB-GYN he used his skills to change careers, got his MBA and Master’s in Information Systems and is now a SysAdmin. My brother, on the other hand, did not cross-train. He got a tech job paying multi-bucks when the pickings were good, but since the bubble burst and his money ran out, he’s been working at a menial job because he has no other skills. A little VocEd would have served him well.

  24. Several more points:


    Re: Jeff’s post: If Americans continue to create wealth (even if it means using cheap, international labor), then it’s Americans (and others) who will buy the stock and products. I’m not an economist, but I think that’s why we’re outsourcing–so we can continue to provide competitive products and profits.

    I agree that many teacher-colleges value “diversity” and its attendant politically correct philosophy OVER content. Hence, there’s too much concern for “warm and fuzzy” methods in our schools. I think this is why so many high school graduates need remediation as college freshmen. This is a serious problem, and the post-secondary level isn’t getting hammered about it, as it deserves.
    Finally, one strength of our system is that people like Wacky Hermit’s brother CAN reenter the Vo-Tec world, and the post-secondary world to get reTRAINED, possibly reEDUCATED.

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