"Since when was ageism okay?"
Well, I suppose it does sound that way. I'll give it my spin
from a 56 year old perspective and maybe some insight
When I graduated from a very middle class neighboorhood
High School (in the shadow of the Johnson Space Center, Clear
Lake,TX) back in 1974 I knew full well that the standards
I was being judged by were less than prior years.
I can't speak for all school districts, onlly the one I was involved with but I know many across the United States, by that time, had greatly backed off standard needed to graduate and teaching methods had changed during the 60's.
Examples. Multiple choice questions tests began
to become far more common as time went on. In the
past students had either fill in the blank or worse, ESSAY
type responces on weekly tests.
I'm sure even todays student realizes how easy multiple
choice tests are and that fill in the blank and essay
systems require more knowledge. By the time I was in
school in the 60's and 70's essay responses were
pretty much gone. It was rare for me to face them.
On English courses. In years before my experience
in public High School students were required to file
far more written essays during the year than we were.
In fact, by the time I graduated my school district
had greatly relaxed the final English requirements
and the final essay test score impact on your total
score was lowered by a significant amount.
Mathematics. In my school district the math requirements
were lowered during the 70's. By the time I graduated
one merely needed ALgebra 1 and Geometry 1 to get
a free pass to graduation. Pretty sad as prior generations, particularly early 60's era and before had MUCH more
math required under their belts prior to thinking of going
The sciences. Again, lowered requirements. Physics
was required in prior years. In my case again, one didn't need
near as much chemistry and 'real' physics was not required.
You could get by with a pretty skimpy science exposure overall.
I've got a number of books on my shelves that date to the
early part of prior century and up thru the mid 40's that
focus on the teaching of Algebra and Geometry to that
eras equivilant of grade school thru high school levels.
Trust me those books show to me that expected
standards were much higher for students earlier
in the food chain. Grade school kids were learning
mathematics that only was experienced by me
until High School in the 70's.
I recall when a High School degree actually meant something.
By the 80's it was common feeling among many I worked
with then that High School degrees by that era were
becoming more and more meaningless due to the
standards the Publik Skool Districts were using.
This isn't to say that by today there are not brilliant
20 somethings out there. We all know there are.
It is my sense, at the ancient age of 56 , that there
are far less as a percentage of the population, of solid
very knowledgeable people in the pool to pick from.
Indeed, think about it. I was amazed myself at the progress
of the USA space program. I knew it was powered by
German science as that was no secret. I knew
that we had a miserable space program at the start of the 60's and were actually incapable of lifting jack squat into
space without rockets blowing up right and left.
Mercury, Gemini , Apollo and the landing men on the fraking
moon on July 20, 1969 all occurred in a mere damn 9 years.
That sir, was a miracle compared to today. I don't think
it could be reproduced.
So, yah, though it hurts to admit it. I agree, that that generation
of 20 to 30 year olds were far more potent than the generation
I came from in the sense they had a far larger pool of
very talented and skilled people to pull from than later years.
Mainly due to the fact the standards of the era they came
from were far higher.
I do not count my generation in theirs, despite the
fact the Steve Jobs of the world are from mine.
I blame public schools systems, and I see
no hope until they are rebuilt from the ground up.
Progress has been made since the 70's and standards
are increasing so there is some reason for hope.
Feel free to flame.