Re: Didn't need no welfare state (Was: Re: news...)

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 10:27:26 MDT

Billy Brown wrote:

> wrote:
> > Mike:
> > > The average high school graduate in 1920 was more literate than the
> > > typical college graduate today.
> >
> > That's why the appeal of the Harry Brown book TOTALLY lost me ... hearken
> to
> > a better life back then... How good life was before it all got interfered
> > with by those darn civl rights laws. Hogwash.
> > People are always going to whitewash the past.
> In general I agree with you. However, that doesn't mean you can always
> assume the past was worse than the present in every possible way.
> As it happens, this particular topic has been rather well researched. Mike
> is exaggerating a bit, but it is certainly true that in the first half of
> the 20th century American high schools taught many subjects that are now
> considered advanced college fare. My favorite example is the fact that the
> material colleges now cover in three semesters of calculus used to be taught
> in high school as a matter of course. Much the same thing has happened in
> all of the sciences, not to mention literature and foreign languages.
> Now, obviously that doesn't mean that every citizen of the day was actually
> proficient in all of these skills. It does, however, make it clear just how
> far our current system's standards have declined.

The average college graduate has a bachelors in business, political science,
communications, subjects like that. I doubt you could get more than a small
percentage who could quote Shakespeare, Livy, Pliny, Plato, or Socrates beyond a
few well worn phrases. I just received a message from a girl on a newsgroup who
is a senior in college and is so happy she came out in the top of her class in
linear algebra...

> > Things weren't so good for "others". Others have it better now, but
> > not much -- oh yes, and at a cost to the middle class non-ethnic, white
> male
> > America. I know you have heard this before and discount it, but it's my
> POV.
> Funding a free high school education for every child in America, using
> 1920s-era standards for materials, classrooms and student-to-teacher ratios,
> would cost maybe 10% of what we currently spend on education. If money had
> anything to do with the quality of education, we'd have the best-educated
> population in history.

The year I graduated from high school, 1986, NH had the highest average SAT
scores in the nation, while it had spent the least per capita on education for
many years, and is still one of the five lowest funding states... Our state
Supreme Court is, at the moment, being dismembered by the Governor, the AG, and
the legislature (ostensibly for other reasons, but we all know the real reason)
all because the good 'ol boys couldn't seem to make the connection that money
doesn't equal quality education, despite our history.

Mike Lorrey

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