The title of this post is pretty bold I think. And I'm willing to make that statement because of how bad things are now. Even in above average schools, ones that I've gone to, I've noticed that much of former classmates are doing okay but not well. Not good enough to the point that I consider to be middle-class.
The reasons they're okay is only because of the help they've received from parents or may have moved back home, unmarried and without a family.
I do have a core group of friends who are doing well. Doctors, lawyers, and folks who drive the Internet at one company or another (like Google). For the most part, they're the exception.
Even back then, I don't think schools were doing enough to make sure high school graduates were ready for a four-year university experience, much less, a junior college.
To back up this assertion, there is a report out (NBC News) that only 1 in 4 students are ready for college. The people who administers the ACT tests, American College Testing, found that the students who took the tests were just unprepared for life after high school.
Only 69% of those who took it were proficient in just one of the four areas tested by ACT - English, reading, math, and science. Seriously, if you grow up on America and you can't do at least two of the four well enough, there is something wrong with the education you're receiving.
When President Obama was elected, I had high hopes that he would usher in a massive reform of the educational system in the United States much like what he had done with the health care system.
Look, I get that schools don't tell the whole story about where someone will end up. But after twelve years of school, and our students can't read at a Harry Potter book level, dude, we want our money back.