My oldest boy graduated from the 8th grade tonight–this academic milestone was a fun celebration with friends and family. Because my wandering mind dwells in a time warp 🙂 I couldn’t help but think how very far education had come in just a few generations. Each year the bar seems to be raised higher. The changes I’ve seen over twenty years has been astonishing. My boys are tackling subjects in middle school I didn’t start until midway through high school, algebra, geometry, life science… In my day, if you went to school and passed your classes, you received a diploma. Here in California good attendance and good grades aren’t enough to earn a high school diploma, students also have to pass a high school exit exam.
Organized public education didn’t exist until the mid nineteenth century. In 1840’s reformers fought hard to standardize public education across the states. They believed education could preserve social stability and prevent crime and poverty. Taxes were collected in communities to fund schoolhouses and teachers. The 19th Century became known as the “The Common School Period”–during this era schools went from being completely private to being available to the common masses.
My husband’s grandmother was a schoolteacher in the early 1900’s. In her day completing the tenth grade could qualify a young lady as a schoolteacher. She was just such a teacher in a one-room classroom in rural Wisconsin. On a romantic note, my hubby’s grandfather lived on the farm directly across the road from this school. It wasn’t long before the young Irish schoolmarm caught his eye and his heart. She continued to teach throughout her life.
The advances in education since the days of our grandparents is mind-boggling! Schooling continues to become more extensive and more expensive as employment becomes more and more competitive. All the more reason to celebrate each step on this long journey to higher learning and what we pray will be fun memories and bright futures 🙂
CHEERS and CONGRATS to all the ’08 graduates!!
When I think back on my school days one memory that stands out is the day my fifth grade class walked to our teacher’s house who lived a block from the school to watch the inauguration of President Reagan–and drink hot chocolate! I love a story my mom tells about a field trip her class took into the hills in middle school–a nature walk–and nature ventured a little too close when a squirrel raced down a tree and right between her feet. She fainted, and her classmates teased her through the rest of her school days. Probably not her fondest memory, but a vivid one 😉
How about you? Any fond, vivid or fun school-days memories you’d care to share?