LETTER: Comparing today's classrooms to 30 years ago
I would like to put today's classroom into perspective, and compare to a classroom 30 years ago.
The size hasn't changed, but 30 years ago, kids who didn't meet the requirements failed. Someone decided that failing is bad for your self-esteem, so year after year students keep getting pushed through. That accounts for a third of the average classroom. Among that third are the "individual education plan." The kids who need help, the kids who without the support of teachers' assistants would learn nothing at all. The next third are ESL students. These kids have also been pushed through. How can you graduate, but not speak English?
So that leaves the other third – they're the forgotten "normal" kids, who are squeaking by with a bit of education after the teacher is done with the rest of the class.
The first third just simply needs parents to learn accountability both for themselves and their kids, and the second group should come to school with a good command of the English language.
And the third group – good luck to you.
Another big difference between now and 30 years ago is that the people who used to fail high school could go get a job and make a living. You can't do that now. Even high school grads will only ever qualify for minimum wage jobs and need subsidies from the taxpayer.
And the last major difference between today's class room and one 30 years ago is respect. Kids used to respect their teachers. Now they don't respect much.