Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic

School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick

Hm. I wonder how many people know all the words to the chorus of "School Day"? Hm. I wonder why I know all of the words. I have a feeling that my mother sang them to us over enough years for us to know them by heart. "School Days". A song full of words that my grandchildren will not understand.The last line of that phrase is well outdated. Of course, "Taught to the tune of an understanding teacher who cannot deliver a spanking" does not rhyme. It was the way of it back in 1907 when Will D. Cobb put the words to the music by Gus Edwards.

There was a time when going to school was a privilege. Children walked miles to get to a little one-room school house. School hours were arranged so farm kids could do their chores at home then go to school. Summer months were necessary for the children to help with crops and summer chores of garden tending, canning, candle and soap making. There was a time when communities cared about having a place of education for even a few children.

Schools now are overcrowded and seem to be more political then concerned about each child's success. Teachers are underpaid and overworked. School is nothing like it used to be. My granddaughter learned quantum math in the fourth grade. My other granddaughter is an Arts, Communication and Music Academy which is part of our school district. I love that instead of one big school, our district offers smaller magnet schools in medical careers, the arts, an environmental school, a language school and a science school. What a fantastic way to educate children! Yet the schools are always struggling for money. That is one thing that has not changed from the days when I was young. Who will fight for the education of children?

I think I miss that one room school house that focused on learning. A school where someone went to get wood for the wood stove and drank from the well. A time when education was a privilege and a community learned the importance of readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic. I love that many high schoolers take some of their classes at the college so they can graduate and already have college credits under their belts. I am willing to fight for the privilege these kids have in their schools. Changes come because parents care. They cared then. They care now.

You were my queen in calico
I was your bashful barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate, "I love you, Joe"
When we were a couple of kids. 


  1. I think that schools are better today than they were in my day. When I was in school, we mostly did rote memorization and drill. We did very few projects and not much that required creativity. Schools are always going to be a reflection of our society and thus will never be trouble-free, but I do believe in our public schools. My grandchildren are getting a good education.

  2. Susan, I must have confused the issue. I agree that my kids are getting a better education in some ways. But there are major problems now. I just listened to NPR where they talked that Florida schools are in trouble. They are in so much trouble because of a terrible shortage of teachers. A teacher who does not speak Spanish is sitting in on the Spanish class until they find a teacher. Across the hall, another who doesn't speak French is sitting in that classroom. It was interesting that he had a Spanish accent:)Oregon does not have a shortage of teachers, but because of all of the lay offs, we have teachers as aides and band teachers in science classes. Our schools have problems. Perhaps they always have and always will. I'm just for the kids.

  3. This is an interesting conversation. I don't know enough about classroom resources today, compared to when my children were in school, but reducing the teacher/student ratio has always been a topic of discussion since I became an adult. As with Susan, I grew up with the Dick and Jane method of learning to read, my children had phonics and AP classes and my DIL tells me that her almost-7-year old daughter can now take her place in Words with Friends and hold her own. I'm doing science experiments with my almost 7-year-old grandson that I couldn't have imagined at his age, simply because the research is available on the Internet. If the question is are educational resources unevenly available, I think the answer will always be yes, and that is our challenge as a society.

    1. Granny-Guru,

      I certainly agree. I guess the next step will be to privatize educations and a whole new ballgame. Thank you for writing. I love to hear what readers have to say.