Monday, 9 June 2008

SCHOOL -- 1958 vs. 2008

Scenario : Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1958 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2008 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1958 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2008 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario : David breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1958 - David is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2008 - David's dad is arrested for child abuse (I wouldn't be 100% against that). David removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells David's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. David's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario : Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school .

1958 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2008 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario : Pedro fails high school English.

1958 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English , goes to college.

2008 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario : Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1958 - Ants die.

2008 - BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario : Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1958 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2008 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very true. The following is about school in 1960s vs today - see last paragraph in particular.The Past is Another Country; They Do Things Differently There!

Letter to Irish Examiner, 28 May 2008
Christian and De La Salle Brothers Did Their Best for Pupils of All Classes

I REFER to Gregóir de Buitléir’s letter (‘A Mon boy rallies to defence of Christian Brothers’, May 14) in response to Matt Cooper’s column (May 9) about the brothers at the ‘North Mon’ in Cork.

I went to a De La Salle brothers’ secondary school in a working class area of Dublin in the early 1960s. The parents of the pupils were a mixture of middle class, working class and the unemployed. This was before the era of free education, so you had to pay a fee of about £7 a term or £21 a year — not huge even then.

I heard on the grapevine that some boys were excused payment of fees because their parents could not afford it. However, I never heard their names since that information was taboo.

In my time there were 12 or so brothers and three lay teachers. Corporal punishment was taken for granted. It was employed for bad behaviour and for failure at lessons. Even at the time I thought it was justified for the first, but not for the second, so obviously we were not brainwashed.

Two of the three lay teachers were inveterate users of the strap — far more so than the vast majority of the brothers. I developed a theory about that, too. I said the brothers got more respect because they were religious and the lay teachers had to use the strap more to assert their authority.

However, one brother slapped us as much as the lay teachers. He taught us maths and science and was more dedicated than inspiring as a teacher.

Most of his class were doing pass maths in the Leaving Cert, but a minority were doing honours so he had to teach the two courses.

The way he did it was to teach the pass course exclusively during the day and bring the honours students in two evenings a week and on Saturday to teach them. He got no money for this.

This was typical of the brothers’ approach to education. Honours students had to be encouraged, but everybody had to get through.

I was not interested in games, but I believe the brothers were far more involved than lay teachers in training boys for football, hurling, etc. Nowadays it is difficult to find adults to coach young people — partly because they are afraid of bogus allegations of child abuse. Also, many schools will not allow pupils to run in the schoolyard because they might fall and parents might sue the school. This is the new secular ethos that has replaced the traditional Catholicism inculcated by the De La Salle and Christian Brothers. Does Matt Cooper really believe it is an improvement?

Rory Connor
11 Lohunda Grove
Dublin 15