I believe that this would be a good time to expound upon the reasons why education was once much better than it is today.

In the 1950s, I lived in Solon, population 625, and attended the school system there which consisted of one large, square wooden building set at the very edge of town.

This very modern facility consisted of a basement housing the shop class where each student had an equal opportunity to construct a bird house. Over the years Solon became renowned for its bird houses. The other basement room was the ultra modern, state-of-the-art physics laboratory featuring two highly touted Bunsen burners.

The first floor had the cafeteria, ever featuring the famous American chop suey. Another room held classes K through 3 taught by Ms. Queenie Whipple (real name, lovely lady) and finally another classroom of students grades 4 through 7, taught by Mrs. Amy Robinson.

The second floor had a library where English was taught by Mrs. Russell, a room that served as the recreational room (one Ping-Pong table), the room where the chorus practiced, and where Ms. Tripp taught business classes. The last, and larger room, housed grades 8 through 12, and was taught by Mr. Given, the principal, basketball coach, baseball coach and bottle washer. Mr. Given would ring the bell and yell “algebra” (or biology, or geometry, or history or social studies, or general math or whatever) and those students, from any grades from 8 through 12 would go to the front of the room for the lesson.

Always wishing to help other students and teachers whenever I could, I remember the incident when Anne Withers, my lab partner and straight- A student, rushed into the physics lab one full second late. Rushing to our table with one of the touted Bunsen burners, she quickly asked, “What’s our lesson for today?”

I quietly responded that we were going to “test icles.” She exclaimed loudly, “We’re going to test icles!” Mr. Given rushed over no doubt to show his appreciation for my participation and assistance.

Desiring to help poor Miss Tripp, a first-year teacher who was overweight and who appeared quite shy, I believed that some science injected into her boring business class might prove helpful. Knowing that sometimes being extemporaneous yields benefits, I prepared the demonstration without her knowledge. Upon opening her middle desk drawer and observing the live snake writhing there, Miss Tripp screamed, and fell over backwards in her oak chair, thus proving the validity of Sir Isaac Newton’s hypothesis on the laws of gravity.

Perhaps because of my small contributions and those of the sterling teaching staff (it really was quite good), every graduating student (and the vast majority of them did graduate) could read, write and do math very well indeed.

Sadly, for all of the money thrown at education today, the same cannot any longer be said.

– Special to the Telegram

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.