Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The (Not Very) Good Old Days of Education - Part III

Black education today is terrible in some places.  I'm not sure many African-Americans would maintain that it was better 50 or 100 years ago.

Anyone with a special needs kid of any kind might also have complaints about current school offerings, but compared to 1932 or 1952?  Please.  My younger brother had a special program in elementary school - they put his desk in the hall.  In the tracked classes he was put in the bottom track of 17.  He wasn't badly ADD, but it was compounded by being only three weeks short of the age cutoff for his class, and his poor fine-motor skills.  He went on to teach college, after a long and winding road.

Then there's the corporal punishment - some of it relatively mild and merely uncomfortable, some of it assault and abuse.

And public shaming as a primary tool for encouraging children to work harder and do better.  Because mild embarrassment motivates some of the better students, significant humiliation must work on the others.  It all makes sense.  That was one of the brilliant pedagogical techniques of earlier eras.

I mentioned in the previous posts the lack of educative bang for the buck we got from many of the extras in the old days, such as penmanship, and coloring as the default geography activity.

Those are good for openers.  That's a lot for Old-Timey Education to overcome if it wants to be considered superior to the current model.


Donna B. said...

We need a timeline here ... or some other measure.

I can give several anecdotes that support the assumption that "Old-Timey Education" wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but I can also give a few anecdotes that perhaps it was... over some years.

Latin -- I think I may have been one of the last students to have been even offered such a course in public high school.

Forty some odd years later, it's still one of the few high school courses that I still appreciate.

Other courses appreciated include home economics where I learned not only how, but why, my mother did certain things in canning/preserving food.

My oldest daughter was required to take at least one home economics course and my youngest was not offered the opportunity to take one.

I am not disagreeing with your assumption that education wasn't all that great in the golden olden times, but I do think that some babies were thrown out with the bathwater.

I can tell you some horror stories of education in the 60s, and I can re-tell some horror stories of education of the 30s and 40s that my parents and aunts and uncles have told.

I can also tell you some horror stories about education that happened during the 80s and 90s with my children.

What I am disagreeing with is the assumption that education is better now. It's different... it is not better.

Or worse.

Jan said...

The "good old days" of education for me were the early-to-mid-70's and all I remember about them was being punished in first grade for flipping to the back of the workbook because I already knew how to read and the beginning was too easy. It never got any better (with one or two teachers being exceptions) and I can't image it's any better now.

karrde said...

One of the really big differences was the transition from mostly-local control into State and Federal Dept-of-Education circles of influence and control.

Another big difference could be called regularization. That is, the local anomalies got ironed out as education experts worked hard to turn most of the schools in the country into copies of their model for a good school.

I am still leary of the modern Education System (or quasi-system, run by a clan of the Arts&Humanities Tribe). However, there are advantages over the old, pre-System ways.

dog training cairns said...

Even now a days, some places have a poor educational system. I pity those people who strives to have a good education but can't have it. It's because of the anomalies in the government.