Even if some Americans in the 1950s still believed that "a little learnin' goes a long way," they became concerned during the decade that it took more than a little learning to face the challenges of the day. American education in the 1950s ran headlong into the social controversies that changed the nation. Racial problems, McCarthyism, the Cold War, and budget shortages all affected the world of education. The notion of education itself became more than the traditional training of reading, writing, and arithmetic for children. The social and cultural events of the decade had an immense impact on the way in which Americans defined education. Who should be trained to teach students, how should teachers perform their jobs, and what were the goals of education all were questions the country asked.
Sdthool enrollments increased 30 percent over the decade as the baby boomers, born after World War II came of school age. Increases of more than 1.5 million elementary and secondary-school students occurred in 1952, 1953, 1955, and 1958. A record 2 million new students entered school for the 1959-1960 school year. New-student populations increased at twice the growth rate of the general population. College enrollments showed a decline only in the early years of the decade (down 150,000 between 1950 and 1952) as the Korean War took young men to war and as the...
(The entire section is 980 words.)
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