Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Protecting Our Legacy

Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Protecting Our Legacy

Article excerpt

You may have heard the story a while back about the guy who compared major disciplinary problems in schools 50 years ago with those of today. During the 1940s, it seems, the major problems were talking in classrooms, chewing gum in the halls, and smoking in the restrooms. Today's problems are packing guns in the classrooms, smoking dope in the halls, and shooting up in the restrooms. I began school in the 1940s and can attest that even if the story is apocryphal, the facts behind it are reasonably accurate.

During the 1960s, I lived for a time in northern New Jersey and recall being horrified to learn that inner-city teachers locked their classrooms while off-duty police officers patrolled the halls during class hours. As it turned our, the folks in New Jersey were just ahead of their time. Locked classrooms and off-duty cops are becoming a way of life in many schools across America, and we don't even give it a second thought.

Some would argue that kids are growing up too fast these days--being exposed to too much sex, drugs, and violence. There's no doubt that kids are overexposed to these influences, but I suspect the problem is that they are not growing up fast enough. Too many kids today have way too much time on their hands.

Some years ago, I read a reportedly true story about a rancher in Texas in the early 1900s who wanted an automobile for his ranch. There were no cars in Texas at the time--or at least none for sale--so he sent his two sons, by horseback, to a city a couple of states away to buy a car and drive it back home. …

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