When I grew up in the 30s and 40s, a HS certificate meant something, but we were much better educated than HS grads now. We could actually read most anything, knew a lot about science, US history (civics), English grammar and writing, had to pass basic math, including algebra and geometry and some of us even took foreign language courses. These are the basics that most colleges and universities have to teach new students until they can begin to understand the real upper-level material. When I went to college, half of the incoming freshmen flunked out after two years. All this decline can be traced to progressive ideas invading the schools and making our kids into PC liberal automatons.