Education’s good old days? Please, you’ve been sniffing too many chemical-soaked mimeograph sheets

Tom Breuer:

If you spend any amount of time on Facebook, eventually you’ll see a copied-and-pasted status update that looks something like this: “If you learned long division by hand, bicycled to school in the rain, drank lead-tainted water directly from the hose, played fast-pitch baseball in the dark with shiftless strangers, skinned your knee and ignored it until it became infected and led to a series of painful brain hemorrhages, sucked mercury from thermometers like marrow from the bones of dead hobos, and lived to tell about it, repost this and be thankful for the good old days.”
The implication, of course, is that kids are too mollycoddled these days, and we’re overthinking their upbringing – why can’t we just do things the way we used to? After all, we turned out fine.
I can’t help but believe that this notion – as well as sharp resistance to it – has contributed greatly to the statewide rift over collective bargaining that’s culminated in the current gubernatorial recall effort.
After all, in the past, kids did just fine under the tutelage of bitter, underpaid nuns and schoolmarms. Why spend more money for worse results? Teachers deserve a pay cut. They’re not holding up their end of the bargain.
I suspect that this attitude is actually fairly pervasive. Commenting on one of my recent blog posts, a reader said this: “Go back to teaching math, science, history and [E]nglish the way it was taught in the 50’s. Students either passed or failed based on work not on some stupid self-esteem.”