A New Era

How much is today different from the yesterdays? Gigantic changes have rocked society since an earlier time of the industrial age or the fifties. We live in an entirely different age with different conditions and different expectations. James Coleman, sociologist wrote that “in the the early 1900s, kids lived in an information poor but responsibility rich time.” It’s the reverse now, information rich but responsibility poor for children. Yet schools are mostly unchanged from earlier times. It is a different era and school need to change in response. Here are some of the major changes so different from yesterdays:

  • Family structure: smaller families, more single parents, scattered relatives
  • More democratic families
  • Both parents work out of the home
  • More single parent homes
  • Raised societal expectations of an educated person
  • Higher expectations on children and youth
  • More schooling expected
  • All students must graduate and achieve at higher levels
  • Competency based learning vs. seat time
  • Knowledge society, information age
  • Meager job opportunities for dropouts
  • New career areas: environmental, risk assessment…
  • Closed factories, boarded up small town main streets
  • Changed jobs/career during a lifetime
  • Gender and race opportunities and new expectations
  • Technological explosions
  • Scary world: kids can’t be gone for hours playing or exploring the neighborhood
  • Exponential increase in traffic, no walking to school
  • Ubiquitous soft drinks and unhealthy food
  • Employers have higher expectations, ability to learn, problem solve, multitask
  • Kids create own subculture, language rules, dress, music
  • Society imposed adolescence uselessness
  • From big cars to small
  • Environment conditions and growing awareness

It’s a different era! Society has changed. Schools have not.