Home Books A golden age of schooling? – School leadership 2.0

A golden age of schooling? – School leadership 2.0


Writers often describe certain decades in a nation’s history as a “golden age,” such as the “golden age of ancient Athens” and later “ancient Rome” (see here and here).

What about America? Was there a “golden age” in the US?

Some authors argue that after the Second World War, the decades from the 1950s to the early 1970s were a “golden age” (see here and here). These were the years when Americans found jobs in a growing economy, started families, bought small homes in prosperous suburbs, and sent their sons and daughters to new schools.

The federal government spent money on the education of World War II veterans, making mortgage loans available and building the interstate highway system. This massive spending fueled and sustained the economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s. It was a time when a person with an eighth grader and a steady job could buy a car, a small house for his family and go on vacation with him.

A 1950s billboard

Tract homes became available to Americans in the 1950s

A typical school of the 1950s

And there are writers who have argued that these years were also a “golden age” for US education. Colleges expanded dramatically as high school graduation rates increased and dropout rates decreased during these decades. The search for higher education has opened portals to higher paying jobs and careers.


It wasn’t until the 1930s that most American teenagers thought that getting a high school diploma was possible. By then, most had dropped out. By 1940, about 40% of the students graduated from the gymnasium. A decade later, a little more than half of high school students graduated from high school. The percentage rose to 84 percent in 2000, and reached 91 percent two decades later (see here).


In 1960, just over one in four high school students dropped out. Ten years later, that number had dropped to 15 percent. (see here). In 2019, the rate was 5 percent.

COLLEGE ATTENDANCE INCREASES: Ab 30 percent of American students attended college in 1950. This percentage increased to 52 by 1970 (see here and here). In 2019 two out of three high school graduates went to college.

Yes, in those years Americans went to school en masse. The expansion and expansion of school education is evidenced by the numbers. But was it a “golden age” for all students?

Not for African American children and youth who were forced by law before 1954 and by cruel custom to attend segregated and inadequate schools in the southern, middle, and western states in the decades that followed. Neither for Latin American woman boys and girls must attend segregated schools in southwestern states.

What was it like to go to school in those years? Some pictures in the classroom offer clues.

The girl in the lower left corner of the photo tells you that they are posing in the photo. A scene from Tommy Lafon’s black school in New Orleans (photo by Robert W. Kelley//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

(Original caption) 2/2/1947 – Uno, VA – Teacher Jackson reading to his students here. All of them were born in Uno and come from ten families that make up the entire population of the village. White children go to school in nearby Orange.

Cabinet of the senior classes of the elementary school, 1950s

Athens, Tennessee High School, 1959-1960

High school typing class, 1950s

Viewers can tell that many of these photos were posed. However, student and teacher clothing, hairstyles, furniture arrangements, and segregated schools in these decades illustrate what some classrooms looked like in the 1950s.

What about classrooms in the 1970s?

The sample is as follows:

An elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sits among the students and repeats the lesson, 1972

Children receive instruction from teacher Barbara Friend in a seventh grade French class at Middle School 211 in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, New York in 1972.

Pictures school life in the 1970s

A high school class watches an educational program on television, 1970s

All of these classroom photos from the 1950s to the 1970s show the usual arrangement of furniture, changing fashions for clothes and hairstyles, but maintaining the central role of the teacher.

In these decades, of course, there were exceptions to these arrangements.

Gifted children at President Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, California work with small computers, rabbit skeletons and microscopes in 1973.

FEBRUARY 23, 1973 A variety of activities engage children in an outdoor classroom; The teacher standing here in her classroom at DuPont Elementary School in the Denver, Colorado area is Mrs. Susan Lee; (Photo by Bill Peters/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The golden age of school education in the 1950s and 1970s? Perhaps for some who look back through the misty mist of time, and perhaps for those who need to believe that the past is far better than the present. Or maybe not.

Source link

Previous articleTips for great virtual presentations
Next articleThe importance of reading books for your overall well-being