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EDUCATION -- compare today's system with that of years past compare and contrast education in 19th- 20th centuries to that of the 21st century..

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Schools today still generally have the same structure as that of prior decades; students follow a standard schedule, beginning, ending, and changing classes at the same times—this standardization was strengthened by No Child Left Behind of the early 2000s. One of the significant changes brought about in the twenty-first-century is that of advanced technology. Students always have their cell phones on them, turn in homework via the internet, or even attend classes online. Schools are also now more diverse, especially in comparison to nineteenth-century classrooms. There's also a recent trend of teachers being laid-off and budgets cut within public schools. 


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Jessica Pope eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the major differences is the degree of variety and choice a person has in today's education system as compared to the education system of the past. Even in the formative years, there's a lot more choice. There are magnet schools and charter schools for example. Private schools are more widely available than they were in the past. 

In higher education, there's even more choice: traditional college/university, online colleges, trade schools, and all kinds of self-guided learning programs. Scott Young's MIT Challenge is a great example of self-guided learning in the digital age. 

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I began teaching in a public high school 1968.  From my perspective, the basics have not changed: classrooms, teacher, students, books, paper.  After those items, little is the same.  From the dress code to technology and everything in between, things are different. I am basing my experiences on two schools because my husband taught in a different high school in the same town. 

Taking one thing at a time--the dress code for both teachers and students has completely changed.  The women teachers could not wear anything but dresses, skirts and blouses, hose, and high heels.  The men had to wear ties and dress shirts and pants.  No pants or certainly no jeans for anyone.  The female students also wore the same as the teachers, except for the shoes.  The big question was the length of the skirt.  Mini-skirts were popular---and the principals loved to measure the girls' skirts.  In addition, the boys would be sent home for outlandish hair cuts--no mohawks or shaved heads or facial hair of any sort.  This did not begin to change until the early 1970s. This is from the 1965 High School Handbook:

The popular clothing fashion for high school girls is clean, simple dresses, or blouses and skirts and bobbysoxer. Many girls wear flats to make their outfit look dressier.

The boys usually wear clean blue jeans, cords, peggers, and comfortable tee shirts or sports shirts. The most important thing is cleanliness. It doesn’t matter how simple your outfit is, if it is clean.
The high school student usually wears his school clothes to most of the school games and parties, unless otherwise specified.

Discipline was certainly different.  Capital punishment was still in vogue.  The principals had the paddle where the students could see it.  In the lower grades, each teacher had his/her own paddle.  This practice did not end until the late 1970s.

In my state, the teacher's pay was less than poor in my beginning year.  My first salary as a full time high school speech and English teacher was $4,000 per year.  The salaries did not begin to grow until the mid 1970s, and then still very slowly. You were paid about $400 per year more if you had a masters degree.

In 1968, there was one blackline mimeograph machine for the teachers to use that made a mess on your hands and clothes. Other than a 35 mm reel to reel film machine with 1950s movies, there was no other technology.  The...

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luiji | Student

Nowadays, especially in Australia, too much emphasis is placed on teaching being interesting. Videos are way too frequent, and teachers think they have to entertain the students. Years ago, everyone would just knuckle down and learn their stuff.

Also, nowadays, criteria is a lot stricter, and students get taught a lot more. My mum and aunty aways talk about how much harder school is for us nowadays because the standards are much higher.

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