Thank God For The Decline In Standards!

I was a bright kid, but I hated school. I did well in the subjects that interested me, and poorly in those that didn't. Two things saved me from getting a spanking every single time I brought home a report card. One, my stepfather set the bar pretty low. All I had to do was avoid making D's or F's. He could live with C's. Two, my educational experience in the 1970s coincided with a pretty universal decline in standards in public schools. Teachers didn't want to deal with failing students, so that in general poor students were allowed to slide who a decade earlier would have failed. As a result, I was a C student throughout junior high and high school, when in fact there were many occasions when I should have brought home the D's and F's that would have assured a painful encounter between my bare behind and my stepfather's work belt. MANY occasions. There were some classes I don't recall doing any work in at all, and still managed to come home with an ***-saving C.

Unfortunately for me however, there were still a few teachers out there who resisted the trend and adhered to traditional standards. Those teachers gave me the Ds and Fs I deserved, and when I brought home those report cards, I never failed to receive the awful butt whippings that in fact I deserved most of the time.

Now that I'm an adult, I of course lament the decline of public schools. But when I was a kid, it was the only reason I could sit down in class the day after report cards were issued (some of the time at least). Thanks to the decline of American education, I was able to make it through some academic years without a single encounter with the belt. If you had to choose between saving the schools and saving your white behind, which would YOU choose?
newman1833 newman1833
56-60, M
3 Responses Jan 13, 2013

In my day they slapped your palm for missing a capital letter trivial things. Your arse treaded on a thin red line. 'twas homework done and turned in or a strapping. God help if little fingers and knuckles got in the way of the strap. Beats me how todays teachers motivate their students into doing the homework. Incentives for me were not an issue, a sore bum was a definite issue that I chose to avoid.

ya know... I've heard the arguments about the decline in the US education system for years. I'm not convinced. I don't think the future holds all the gloom and doom that some like to predict. After all, The US has a significant number of TOP rated universities that are all filled with bright young minds. Many of these new adults are a product of our secondary education system. I haven't seen any reports about universities claiming a shortage of student enrollment. Many technological advancements we enjoy today were once the brainchild of many of those students that had attended our "declining public schools" in the 70's, 80's and 90's. I think the schools deserve at least some credit. They may not be "the best in the world", but it's not all THAT bad.

The only time spankings came into play with my schooling was when i was unwilling to try. The subject of math and me doing anything/everything I could to avoid it immediately comes to mind. Coming home with a D or F wouldn't mean a spanking. It would mean long hours of extra practice with my mom or a tutor. 1 hour a day of extra math practice.

As a graduate student at a "top" university, for three semesters I taught a class called Freshman Seminar, which would have been better named Remedial Reading and Writing. The objective was to teach these kids, who were all successful graduates of "top" suburban high schools, how to write a simple essay, which none of them (and I do mean NONE) knew how to do. Their critical reading and writing skills were almost non-existent, despite the fact that all of them had made A's in English, otherwise they would not have gotten into the college they were attending. This is a democracy. These kids have the vote. Whatever their technological gifts might be, the fact that none of these future members of the ruling class knew how to think critically about moral and political issues is a bit of a problem.

Oh i hear that! I didn't really realize until I started my own masters that my freshman year was spent reviewing and re-learning things that probably should have been taught BEFORE college. That means, my "4 year" degree was stuffed into 3 years. That means, I paid a full year of college tuition that should have been provided free in HS, AND I lost of year of higher education! Your point is very real.

My point is that I came from public schools. I attended college. I'm a product of those failing schools. And you kind friend, with your D's and F's are now a grad student in a top university. So Kudos to you! It just goes to show that our failing schools do produce exceptional students - eventually. Students that once began sentences with the word "like", and "And another thing....", and never seem to complete a single thought within a 3 page essay. Sound about right? hahaha I remember Freshman Seminar of a different name.

To be fair, the future members of the ruling class are not simply high school graduates who vote. The very fact that you yourself think critically about moral and political issues suggests that our future is bright. :)

If i remember correctly, the Roman Emperor Claudius was quoted to say "when I think of my own prodigy, I weep for the future".

At the risk of flogging a dead horse, the failure of the high schools is not remedied by classes like Freshman Seminar. Because the students come to college unprepared, their colleges classes are inevitably dumbed down. I remember grading my first set of exams as a graduate assistant. I asked the professor who was teaching the class how to proceed. He told me first to determine what the student actually deserved, and then to bump the grade up two whole grades. So that a C student would get an A. He was himself a Stanford grad and he told me this with a straight face. I left graduate school with the distinct impression that it was the professors who needed the belt, not the students.

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Pants down, my bottom!