by Glenn Fairman –
In thinking about how valuable education is in cultivating the next generation of Americans, my mind took me back nearly twenty years to when I was a graduate student functioning as a substitute teacher at La Puente High School in Southern California. On one assignment, I was to cover a social studies class of some old-timer; he had written down in his instructions that since his classes were on a field trip, my sole duty was to show a movie at 6th period to those who did not attend. What I found that day opened my eyes.
In a dusty corner shelf of the room was a set of thirty-year-old textbooks from the mid-1960s, and although my memory cannot now relinquish their title, their contents burned themselves into my brain. As I flipped through the pages, I was astonished to find what I would now consider an upper-level college textbook under color of what in the high schools used to be termed “civics.” This text contained a very detailed understanding of political theory, constitutional law, macroeconomics, American history, and comparative political systems. I spent the rest of the day in slack-jawed amazement, perusing what a student in a working-class town was expected to know before the mavens of education began tinkering with the curricula of our schools. [Read more…]