Schools In America – 1960 – Past Daily Reference Room

American Education 1960

American Education – in 1960, a lot wrong.

Schools in America – The Open Mind – October 16, 1960 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Schools in America. In 1960, it was an area of concern. The fear was, we were lagging behind the Russians in our Educational systems, and this was going to play a huge part in our race to Space. Where were all the new young brains going to come from? Were our colleges and Universities adequate? What were we actually teaching in the way of College courses?

But more than that, the problems facing the Educational system in America in 1960 were many – grossly over-crowded classrooms, grossly underpaid teachers, a lack of proper tools, an overabundance of elective courses. In short, where there were young minds of great promise, there were rarely the means to advance them. The standards of Education in America were shockingly low.

In 1958, Life Magazine ran an article with the simple title “The Crisis In American Schools”. It outlined the problems and came to one conclusion that “stupid children were taken better care of than bright ones” – that children with above average intelligence were left to fend for themselves. This was the norm, rather than the exception to the rule and the crux of what many felt, in 1960, was the problem with our Educational System.

This discussion program, part of the Open Mind series from October 16, 1960, takes the subject of the Crisis in Education, particularly on the elementary and secondary level in meeting the needs of the nation. Taking part were R. Freeman Butts, historian and educator – Arthur Bestor. author and critic of the U.S. School System and David H. Moskowitz of the New York City School System.

It’s interesting, and probably frustrating to realize that our problems in the area of education go back such a long ways – beginning the question if they have ever been good or have always been inadequate. We look back on Education in 1960, and some view it with a degree of nostalgia – the good old days, as it were. How were seemed better educated in 1960 than we are in 2016. And you have to ask yourself if it’s always been this way and people have succeeded despite evidence to the contrary or we have truly become the dumbed-down society we feared, even in 1960.

An interesting hour, which brings up many points apropos of today, rather than 1960.

Which may just go to show you that some things truly never change.

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