Recently, a friend of mine, an antiquarian book dealer, bought a box of early 19th century pamphlets at a book auction, among which was an 1828 catalogue of Dartmouth College. I had an opportunity to examine this fragile 24-page catalogue and was quite intrigued by the Course of Study students were required to take in those days.
Those of us — of Tom Brokaw’s greatest generation — who attended the public schools in the 1930s and '40s remember our classrooms as quite barren, immaculately clean, quiet and orderly. There was a portrait of George Washington on the wall, and cursive letters were on a printed strip across the top of the blackboard. That was it. No fancy posters.
The debate over public education grows more heated. Regularly, reports are released showing that the academic abilities of American students continue to fall when compared to those in other countries.