When the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in the Autumn of 1957 it shocked the American people and set in motion an event that was quickly labeled "the Sputnik Crises". Almost at once, school boards all across the fruited plane resolved to improve their math and science programs in order to ensure the blessings of liberty for generations yet unborn.
One of these institutions was Laguna Beach High School in Southern California and the attached article, "Turning Bad Schools into Good Schools", will tell you about the various steps they had taken in order to alter their curriculum and the prevailing campus culture as well.
We were gratified to learn that some fifty-odd years later, Laguna Beach High is still one of the finest schools in the country.
The kids who are discussed in this article would be called "LD" today - you don't want to know how they were referred to in the early Twenties. Back then there were no Federally-funded commissions thronging with sympathetic PhD candidates to ramble on about "convergence issues", "processing concerns", "the-classroom-learning-environment" and the "Learning Disabled". There were only frustrated kids, frustrated teachers and broken-hearted parents. This 1937 news article reports on the pioneering teachers at Seward Park High School in New York City and the earliest attempts to address the needs of students who suffered from language processing disorders, dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysgraphia and America's favorite - good ol' ADHD.
The editors of PATHFINDER MAGAZINE were rightfully scandalized to report that the Mississippi State Senate voted in favor of purchasing two sets of civics books for the school children of their state:
"[The] idea behind this, said the Senate Education Committee, was to eliminate instructions for voting from the books to be distributed to Negro pupils".
What do you know: the same arguments existed then, too...
"'The public school system will become a vast political machine.' And this machine, it is charged, 'will give a Federal Administration the opportunity of creating an educational autocracy, really endangering the liberty of thought and information, which is a basic right of the people.'"
The article pertains to a bill that was before the Congress at that time that proposed the creation of a "Department of Education". The bill was defeated. The proposed legislation was enthusiastically supported by the National Education Association.
This article from the late Fifties refers to the educational benefits that existed in the form of tape recordings, television, films and slide shows and what a glorious discovery it was that they came along when they did to aid in the teacher shortages of the time. Today we have decades of studies that show what among these tools has been useful and what has failed.
In the 1940s Color TV was Anticipated as a Tool with Which Art Students Could Learn...