Skip to main content

Good Old School Days - Were Terrible

In a previous post I criticized America's educational system - and briefly described  what might be done to improve it.  Let's expand on that.  First, the good old school days really were not so good at all. In the 1800's as the industrial revolution began to pick up steam:
  • the flow of immigrants increased tremendously, 
  • rural families began moving to the cities looking for industrial jobs, 
  • and  our educational systems had to be refined and changed.  
The teaching process became  a "factory style" routine where every student was regarded equally and the same - and was taught using the same regimen.  Students were thoroughly subjugated by often ill equipped teachers who applied a mechanical efficiency to forcing repetition of facts. Which facts? Only the facts as dictated by school boards. Underpaid (and usually unqualified) teachers taught "the facts" which were then  repeated by at test time in order for a student to advance to the next grade. It was assumed that whatever a student had to say was of no value at all,  and there was no attempt to have students interpret or form opinions. 

By 1870 compulsory education was the law - but most parents preferred to have their children help to support the family. In very poor areas especially it was not uncommon that less than 10 children out of 500 attended school at all  and of those that did 30% or more arrived at school without breakfast, tired  and unclean. Ill equipped teachers had to deal with hungry, dirty,  and sleepy children. This was a common circumstance and not conducive to a learning experience.

The lack of parental support and encouragement made receiving an education even more difficult.  Many working class parents regarded education to be impractical because schools offered subjects that had no application to the new industrial order. Regardless, in the classroom "making grades" became the "goal". The curricula demanded endless repetition and cramming for students, and  there was no time left for a student to contemplate what it was that they were learning.  Despite these flaws students learned. Educational standards required memorization of a narrowly restricted collection of facts in order to progressively qualify for promotion and ultimately, graduation. But did they learn to "think"?

If measured by comparison to the educational systems of other countries America was rated pretty high on the scale -  until the late 20th century. By the year 2000 it was becoming clear that the American system was actually no longer comparing well. Yet, tests to measure knowledge were much improved . Obviously, we had a dangerous problem.

Could it be that we are doing something wrong?


Popular posts from this blog

Intellectual / Incompetent / Liberal

We all know that there are serious problems with ou American political system. The federal government and national media have been telling us that we continue to lead the world in just about everything. Unfortunately, we do not. Measuring our status against other nations is difficult as it entails comparison of different attributes and characteristics. Comparisons are, at best, crude.  Surely, if we look, it's clear that America is no longer dominant among the world's communities. 

For decades following the 1929 economic depression, America has enriched foreign industries at the expense of our own. We have subsidized foreign military powers while allowing the depletion of our own. We've defended other nations borders while, at the same time, not defended our own. We've spent trillions of dollars to subsidize unworthy governments, and let our own infrastructure to fall into disrepair. 

The use of our economic power as a diplomatic tool may have been the correct thing to d…

What Comes Next- And When

The speed of progress is astounding.  Watching television a few days ago I listened to Mark Cuban talk about subjects that I know little about. It was fascinating. He started with cars. Automatic cars. Driverless cars. Cars that think for themselves. All of which ended with a conversation about "artificial intelligence". Frankly, some of the discussion went right over my head. 
He began talking about the growth of computer knowledge and abilities that will result in the power to exponentially grow. Ultimately the amount of knowledge will exceed that of human beings. At that point "artificial intelligence" will control human beings. 

Mr. Cuban stopped there and asked "when this happens in the future, and it will, where will human beings fit in the composition of the universe".  
Several brilliant minds have been working on the answer but no consensus exists - except one. The transition from the dominance of human beings on earth will end will be be replaced b…

Donald (I am not a clown) Trump

I'm eighty years old. Several Presidents have come and gone. Some good. Some not so good.come and go. A few were excellent executives and a few were not. 

Now, out of the blue, comes Donald Trump. The Democrats cheer and the Republicans go back ask themselves 'what just happened'? 

The Democrats watch their candidate turn to dust. Dishonesty and corruption laid her to rest. Bye bye Hillary.

America has endured eight long years of the radical, liberal and  progressive politicians. Our sleepy nation finally agreed that they were attempting to destroy America. Our character, traditions, Constitutional government and international stature were sliding faster and faster toward big government socialism. The foundation of our freedoms that we worked so hard to establish were being undermined before our eyes. 

Our recent President Obama gave us eight years of faulty direction. He trashed the government with misguided appointments that steered America onto the ultra-liberal shoals.