Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Educating the Masses

Educating the masses has changed time and again since time began.

The passing of information from one person to another, parent to children or teacher to student is as old as man himself. Back to when people lived in caves, pictures were painted on the walls. Hebrews recorded their genealogies by carving on their staffs which were handed down from generation to generation.

The Romans wrote on clay tablets and chiseled into stone those documents they deemed more important to preserve. Then Egyptians invented papyrus that later evolved into paper and ink. Guttenberg’s printing press made books accessible. But therein was a big problem. Most of the populace could neither read nor write.

Only the privileged elite were educated. And this was by design. Those in power didn’t want the masses, their labor force, to be educated or able to communicate past the spoken word. The concept of universal education was slow to come, especially for those lower classes being exploited. For instance, prior to the Civil War, it was against the law to teach a slave how to read and write.

In pioneer days, city fathers banned together and hired a school marm to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to the youngsters. In some incidences, education was offered free, paid for by the community, but most times the students themselves or their parents who paid—often in labor—which primarily is still the ways and means today of higher education: student loans, scholarships, or parents footing the bills.

In SILENT HARMONY, my new historical novella, my hero travels from the east out to the western frontier in northeast Texas to start a school for the deaf in his mother’s old family home. Set in the 1860s, his deaf students and their parents paid for the opportunity to learn hand language.

By the early 1870s, it was determined that the state should get involved in regulating and licensing doctors. At that time, there were no less than six different disciplines claiming to be the right way to practice medicine. After much debate and legislation, only two emerged as acceptable to be taught to those desiring a physician’s career. And licensing veterinarians only became popular at the turn of the last century.

While some might say, “We’ve come a long way, baby!” Have we?

When our curriculum today is compared with that of a fifteen-year-old a century ago—then  versus now—today’s curriculums would be found wanting as requirements have been dumbed down. Instead of being required to study longer and harder, students receive a passing grade and gold stars for their foreheads, many graduated without basic reading skills. Cursive writing has been eliminated.

Will future generations even be able to read the Constitution of the United States?



✞♪♫•✫*♪ They that wait upon the Lord♪•.♪ ♫•*♪ Shall renew their strength♫•*♪•.♪ They shall mount up with wings ♪♫•*♪*•♫♪ like eagles ♫•*♪ They shall run and not be weary ♫✞♪ ♫•✫*♪•♫ They shall walk and not faint✞♪♫•✫♫♪ Teach me, Lord, to wait. ✞♪♫•✫*♪•.♪ ♫•*♪*•♫♪                                                                                                     Music & lyrics by Bill & Gloria Gaither

1 comment:

  1. Your story sounds wonderful. Best to you with its release. Doris