Time brought big education changes

Published 10:37 pm Monday, February 13, 2017

By Joseph L. Bass

It is a challenge to get people to think, but sometimes more learning takes place when people make their own discoveries.

Compare conditions that exist in schools today to those that existed when I was a student. That was in the 1950s. Many of the problems seen today did not exist then. In fact, no one would have dreamed such conditions as we see today would ever exist.

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Today there are frequent news reports of underachievement, violence, shootings, students bringing guns to school, police arresting students in school, bullying, students disrespecting teachers and so on.

There were few problems in terms of teachers maintaining order and safety when I was a child. Parents strongly supported teachers’ disciplinary actions.

An important term associated with this is “in loco parentis.” It was understood that when a parent sent a child to school, teachers had some responsibilities that were the same as parental responsibilities.

When I was in high school there was only one day each year when a police officer was on campus. That was on Career Day, when students were exposed to people representing different occupations. If there was a problem with a student, the teachers, staff and parents took care of it.

Parents and teachers could trust students with weapons. When I was 12, I was the proud owner of two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun. I never thought of taking one to school.

But school-age Antonin Scalia, future Supreme Court Justice, did. He openly carried his target rifle on the New York subway system because he was a member of the school rifle team. I considered the knives I carried to school from at least the fifth grade as handy tools, not weapons.

There was only one student we considered a bully, but we knew he acted out because of his bad home environment. It was necessary for teachers to apply the board of education to his posterior more than once to keep him from harming other students.

In my day, there were typical problems with students, but teachers, staff, and parents took care of them. The only real problem I remember was that education took second place to sports.

Following is a multiple-choice question for you. Select the factors you think caused schools to become the way they are today:

  • Students today are possessed by the devil, and teachers are unable to overcome their natural evil.
  • Students today are intellectually inferior to those of past generations.
  • Government initiated programs providing a safety net for non-productive parents.
  • Teachers today are intellectually inferior to those of past generations.
  • Parents no longer trust teachers to act in loco parentis to discipline their children, sanctioning their children’s misconduct because they think American society is unfair.

I wonder if there’s another answer….

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.