Thursday, June 14, 2012
Just a reminder. There was a time, in the United States, when we put a higher priority on education than low taxes. There isn't a date on the postcard of the New High School, Springfield, Ohio, but I was able to find a similar one on one of my favorite research sites, EBay, postmarked 1913. Judging by the clothes on the people, I'd say that the hand colored photo was taken some time around 1900. The population of Springfield in 1900 was 38,253. Not a big city, but a small one by the standards of 1900. At a time when schools were paid for by local taxes, the people of Springfield decided to build a large stone building with a cupola. The Pleasant Home High School of Andalusia, Alabama, dated 1942-44, is a lot more modest, expected from a small town of 6,886 people, (That's from the 1940 census.) but it's still well built and maintained. (And yes, I do know that a decade before Brown vs Board of Education, that this would have been an all white school, and that the local black population attended a far less impressive institution.)
I meet a lot of young people in my work, and while they are well versed in modern technology, I'm surprised at how little they've read, and how little they know about government and current events. I know I'm sounding like the classic old fogy complaining about kids these days, but I went to what was considered a sub standard high school, and our school had a mandatory reading list, and classes in government and current events. With cuts in funding for education, schools are less likely to educate for the well rounded citizen and more likely to go for job skills. I'm sure many people think that's a good thing. I'm not one of them.