Baby Boomers in 1946
Baby Boomers - that single largest explosion of children on the planet. And your local schools couldn't handle it.

1952 – School Overcrowding And The Importance Of Education – Past Daily Reference Room

Baby Boomers in 1946

Baby Boomers – that single largest explosion of children on the planet. And your local schools couldn’t handle it.

1952 – The People Act – CBS Radio Unit 1 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

School overcrowding. It was a huge problem, beginning around 1946, when the first signs of that wave known as Baby Boomers started showing up for their first day at school.

Post World War 2 – The Baby Boom – the Great Trek West; these were all factors in kicking off one of the big problems in Education at the time. Where to put all these kids? The current state of schools all around the U.S. were, for the most part, woefully inadequate, especially for what was coming as the Baby Boom had no indication in subsiding until 1965. In the scramble to accommodate the waves of transplants moving West, suburban construction and urban planning had to include adequate school size. But what about the cities and towns that already had schools, but were bulging at the seams? And money, which has historically been in short supply to renovate, tear down and build news schools – where was that going to come from?

As in many cases, the issue was something that had to be taken up on a community-by-community and district-by-district basis. Not every school district was suffering critical mass, but the ones that were had problems that needed immediate addressing.

In the early 1950s, with the advent of the Portable Tape Recorder and the ability to get in and do “on the scene” reporting, the major radio networks got seriously involved in this new avenue for creating documentaries. And because it was so new, the opportunities and subject matters were almost endless.

CBS Radio, in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, developed a series of Radio documentaries called The People Act in 1952 – it was a combination of Social Commentary, Public Service and celebration of the American “can-do” philosophy of taking responsibility.

And this series, for the most part, was very successful. Listening to it today can be a little cloying in parts (especially with the dramatic “and-the-land-was-good” music that swells in the beginning and fades out at the end). But the concept and the message were solid, and it’s interesting to listen to life and issues as they were presented and solved 66 years ago. You get the impression that people were pretty much the same in 1952 as they are in 2018. Social customs and interactions are different. What we look like and how we ate was different – but the issue of Education is just as vital and necessary now as it was in 1952. We need education now more than ever and our schools need to be adequately staffed and equipped just as badly in 2018 as they were in 1952.

Have a listen and hear the similarities, rather than differences. It also showed that people with differences of opinion can come together for a common cause.


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