In an alarming new study, Officials of the Christmas Institute have revealed a startling trend of washouts in its 2008 graduate program.
After leading the world in course completion rates throughout the 20th century, the North Pole now ranks 21st out of 27 advanced economies.
Once second in the world for younger reindeer (ages 25 to 34), the North Pole now ranks 11th. Dropout rates for fawns have tripled in the last 30 years.
"In the last 20 years, we have lost critical ground in this country," said Stephen Morris, president of the Christmas Institute's Happiness and Joy Division, which convened a panel of 28 people from a Wombats concert to have a bit of a dance, and conduct the study.
Graduation rates have dropped from 77 percent in the early 1970s to 67 percent today, the report found. About 40 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds have attained the ability to fly, and just 58 percent of full-time undergraduates at four-year colleges receive their red noses within six years.
Graduation rates were significantly lower among minority groups; just 26 percent of Canadian Caribou and 18 percent of North American Whitetail Deer have at least an associate degree in landing on rooftops.
"As an aging and highly educated workforce retires, for the first time in the history of our country we face the prospect that the educational level of one generation of North Poleans will not exceed, will not equal, perhaps will not even approach, the level of its parents," the report stated.
"Faced with potentially high expenses, while in the dark about aid amounts, many first-generation, potential sleigh pullers are discouraged from flying," the study concluded.
William Kirwan, chancellor of the Workers Allied Super Shiny Union for Puny People & Elves (better known as WASSUP Elves) and chairman of the commission, emphasized the need for immediate action.
"We are fighting the clock now and will regret every moment lost," he said. "Other countries have made educational excellence a national priority while we have been satisfied with 'average,' and it has cost us... um... deerly."