Sunday, February 2, 2014

Critics of education: Nostalgia for a time that never was

Published in the Los Angeles Times, Feb.6
Nicholas Meyer thinks that “no one learns history (or civics, remember them?) anymore.” He blames the “dismantled” school system and says movies that are based on history but alter facts are picking up the slack.
The same complaint appeared in the New York Times — on April 4, 1943, in an article with the title, “Ignorance of U.S. History Shown by College Freshmen.” It reported that only 25% of the students knew that Abraham Lincoln was the president during the Civil War and that only 15% knew where Portland, Ore., was.
In 1930, Thomas Briggs of Columbia Teachers College reported that high school students had no idea who Solon was and were unable to define the Monroe Doctrine. They were also deficient, according to Briggs, in math and writing.
Complaints about school quality go back at least to the 1830s, and even then, as now, critics called for a “return” to higher standards.
Stephen Krashen
Los Angeles
The writer is a professor emeritus of education at USC.
[Source for Briggs, studies in the 1930's: Hostadter, Richard. 1963. Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.  New York: Vintage Books]

hat-tip: Jim Trelease

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