Sunday, May 03, 2009

Being schooled

By John Kubicek

One of my college roomates was majoring in Education, and I have several relatives that are involved in the education field; from people who work with Special Ed kids, to teaching post-college graduate classes, to being school administrators. But, no, I am no expert. In fact, I didn't even participate in the PTA when my kids were in school. And, maybe that is part of the problem in today's world. Many of us can sit around and whine about where education has gone, but when we could have done something, we did nothing.

So, why would I even bother to write something that is so far "above my pay-grade," you may ask? It's simple, really. I truly confess that I didn't take part when I had the chance. The truth is, I had no idea what was going on back in those days when my kids were in school. Sure, like many of you, I've heard that the kids today are being "dumbed down." And like you, it seemed to be something we kind of felt was happening, but did we really have the evidence to prove our theory as being a fact? Probably not... Well, not until now.

You see, just yesterday I received a very enlightening email about our earlier generations not having the "education" that most of us will receive. The majority of us have graduated from high school. And there are many of us that have our college degrees, or better. But back in the day, a century or more ago, there were people who could proudly announce that they got through 8th grade. That sure seems to be no big deal these days (for good reason!), and you'll see what I mean when you see the following discussion about an 8th grade education in 1895. From the email I received from my friend, Rev. Gerri Janeway:

What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.'
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
7. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
8. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
9. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.
Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. This certainly gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it? This also shows you how poor our education system has become and, NO, I don't have the answers!

And I am guessing that those 8th graders weren't graded on a "curve", either. I'm guessing that you passed or failed. Who knows what the cut-off was, that information wasn't included in the email. However, it would have to be a pretty low percentage of correct answers before I would have passed that test! I'm just saying...

Perhaps it was because I was feeling like an idiot after reading through that email from Gerri, but I did write back to her, with my moronic reply. I wasn't being sarcastic in the response. I think I was covering my guilt by coming up with a satire of what I can could perceive as being the test for today's high school graduates.

Now please remember, this was meant in jest. It was meant only for humor, and in no way reflects the actual education system as we know it... (Or, does it? No, I certainly hope not!)

My awesome satirical reply:

Language Arts (TIME: One hour)

1. Name three punctuation marks that you can use at the end of a sentence in an email?
2. When texting your friends, what does it mean when you write: "LOL"? "LMAO"? "BFF"?
3. Name the President of the United States that says "Uh" the most times in one sentence if his teleprompter isn't working?

Arithmetic (Time: 30 Minutes)

1. If you bought an ounce of marijuana for $125.00, how much profit could you make if you split it into eight (8) equal size bags and sold them for $30.00 each (Hint: You don't have to include the amount that you short each bag for your personal stash!!)
2. How many $100 bills could you receive if you cashed your welfare check of $508.00?
3. If your food stamps were $200/month, and you bought Five 2-liter bottles of Pepsi at $2.00 each, 10 bags of M&M's for $1.00 each, and traded $10.00 of your food-stamps to your friend for enough to buy two 40-ounce bottles of Budweiser, or two bottles of Boone's Farm wine, would you have enough left over to buy 5 cans of Similac for your baby if each of them cost $3.00? (Hint: If you are a male and don't have the personal experience to help you derive the answer from, feel free to ask any of your homies in the class that got their girlfriends knocked up.)

U.S. History (Time: Two hours)

1. Name one time in history when somebody of a mixed race that may not be a natural-born citizen became President of the United States.
2. Name a U.S. President who's first name was George. (Extra credit is given if you can name two.)
3. There have been several wars that the United States was involved in that have been fought on American soil. Which of the following wars were not fought on U.S. Soil?
a) Revolutionary War for U. S. Independence
b) The American Civil War
c) The Viet Nam conflict
d) The War in Iraq


1. Essay question: In 300 words or less, explain why Darwin's Theory of Evolution is correct and the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible is a myth?
2. Name three reasons why Man-Made Global Warming could kill you, penguins, and polar bears. (Note: Please wait until after the instructor shows you the film "An Inconvenient Truth" before proceeding to this question.)

Social Studies (Time: Take all the time you want, but the sooner you answer, the sooner you can get out of school so that you can have time to stop at McDonalds on the way home)

1 Which political party, Republicans or Democrats, would you trust to make sure that you are taken care of in case of personal hardships, such as having your children out of wedlock before you have a job?
2. Where would right-wing extremists most likely reside?
a) RED states b) BLUE states
3. Name two social websites that allow your freedom of speech, including the use of profanity?
4. In 100 words or less, explain why radio talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Dr. Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity should be required by the government to be fair and unbiased?
Well, gee, I don't know, where would I ever get the idea that our education system may be a little bit flawed in the first place? Your first guess would probably be that I'm just your typical "ditto head," I've listened to Rush Limbaugh way too much. Bonk! Wrong answer! Close, but not quite it.

Actually, here would be the correct anwwer: How about the fact that I watched a lot of Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, and saw many "Jay Walking" segments. Have you seen any of those? (If not, try looking it up on But, I'll tell you, there were many times it was just too scary. He would go out on the street, and ask various tourists many very easy questions about current events and history, and many of the responses were horribly wrong. The problem was, some of those people were people with college degrees and professional careers, and ... (gulp) ... many that admitted to be K-12 educators.

(And keep in mind that Jay Leno lives and works in Hollywood, though I don't consider him to have a leftist agenda. Far from it. In fact, I think he did a great job in actually displaying how truly lame, and what total idiots, many of the Hollywood leftist elites are - in a very covert way!)

But I digress... It's time to make my point. There have been times when I wrote, like in my last post, and just let you develop your own point of view. I supplied the information package and let you decide where to go with it. (According to my staff of attorneys, I had to say it like that so as not to be stealing the idea from Fox News.)

So, here's my point: I'm pretty sure that the public education system is totally broken. I have this feeling that our kids are being indoctrinated... However, I am also aware of the fact that kids could also be indoctrinated if they went to private schools or if they were home-schooled. The obvious key here is, who are the ones that are indroctinating our kids? In my humble opinion, those that are going to the public schools are being indoctrinated by a political force with an evil agenda. I do not believe that agenda really has a happy ending for those of us that value freedom.

So, to end this long, long rant, let me leave you with the antidote to the indoctrination that has been going on in the public schools to make sure that the new generations will have a need to depend on the "ISMs" they talk about in the following video:

We, who believe that our public education system has vastly deteriorated, need to make a decision to get involved in the education of our kids. We can do the home-schooling or private school options all we want to, but what about all those kids out there that have no other choice but to attend public school?

Those of us who value our freedom must find a way to infiltrate and reform the public schools. Let there be no doubt, that is a monumental challenge. I hope it isn't too late.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John, as always, you did a great job on blogging this article about education..Perhaps, we American parents, will set up and take notice and may our educators do the same..We can make a difference and progress rather than regress..