War on education, war on teachers: A little historical perspective

March 16, 2011

A post from Nicholas Meier at Deborah Meier’s Blog:

Perennial Headlines on Education

Here are some Headlines from newspapers over the years. Can you guess when they were written?

1. “Attack Mounted on Dropouts/City Sets Standards for Schools”

2. “New York’s Great Reading Score Scandal”

3. “Diagnostic reading tests are being given this week to 150,000 high school students as the first step in a new program—the largest and most systematic ever. …We intend to follow through…to overcome deficiencies.”

4. “The University of California (Berkeley) found that 30 to 40 percent of entering freshmen were not proficient in English.”

5. “Hope for the Blackboard Jungle: … Every year New Yorkers’ performance had been getting a little worse, until by YEAR? only 32 percent of the city’s pupils [were] doing as well or better than the national average.”

6. “Even Boston’s ‘brightest students’ didn’t know ‘whether water expanded or contracted when it freezes.’ And while 70 percent of this elite group knew that the U.S. had imposed an embargo in 1812 only five knew what ’embargo’ meant.”

7. “Tougher Standards in Our High. The average freshman is a year and three months behind national standards in reading.”

8. “City Pupils Remain Behind … Official Asserts the Tests Suggest Difficulty in Early Grades. Last fall 40.1 percent were reported on grade level or above … but in March, 43 percent … were reading at grade level or above”; and “Bleak drop out stats are raising concern.”

9. “Our standard for high school graduation has slipped badly. Fifty years ago a high school diploma meant something. … We have misled our students. … and our nation.”

10, “During the past 40 or 50 years those who are responsible for education have progressively removed from the curriculum … the western culture which produced the modern democratic state.”

The quotes above come from mainstream publications over the past 150 years. The earliest is 1845, the latest . . .

[Answers below the fold]

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