Letter: A different era of schooling

Published:

 

I cleaned closets recently and glanced at old grade school class pictures.

What struck me was class size. My sixth grade teacher faced 43 kids every day. She had no aid, reading specialist or staff psychologist, yet we learned to calculate percentages, diagram sentences and sit quietly while she read aloud each day after lunch.

Troublemakers were sent out in the hall or to the principal.

This overcrowding was in a “good school” in a suburb near downtown Los Angeles.

Parents hoped their children would one day graduate from a state college or the University of California.

Nobody knew we had learning disabilities, emotional problems or low self-esteem. We knew some kids were bright while others weren’t. Undoubtedly, we had troubled children.

Self-discipline was expected and most of us learned. Kids not interested in academics later entered vocational programs. It wasn’t the end of the world.

My junior year in high school, voters nixed a tax increase. Nobody struck, walked out or demonstrated. Seniors graduated.

Teachers didn’t bring politics into the classroom.

Each day, I hear we need more money, smaller classes, more teachers. I wonder why kids flounder so today.

I’m glad I went to school then. I graduated. I didn’t know there was an option.

Susan Correa

Camas