It always amazed me how in the first half of the 20th century, lone teachers in small, rural schoolhouses, were able to successfully teach all grades in a single classroom. And then, those students - who were educated and articulate - were able to win two World Wars, enrich the entire world, and send men into space.

In schools now, we have bloated budgets, which create top-heavy administrations, impoverish teachers, and don't teach students. Our curriculums are so full of feel-good nonsense and political correctness they are steadily phasing out the arts and humanities to make room for the new agenda. Where before, students were required to master serious measures to pass from grade to grade, all they have to do now is mouth the correct slogans to move along. How dare you give me a D! I'm a minority! I'll file a discrimination suit against you and the school unless you give me a B!

We were required to memorize times-tables - something I hated doing, but which has been beneficial to me throughout my life. We had to learn about how our government works and our history, good and bad. We had to learn about civil society, and both American and world history. We had to learn mathematics through trigonometry. We had to take classes in biology and English every year. We had to master a language other than English. We had years of classes in American and world geography. We had to read extensively in our textbooks for every class, plus novels and other outside assigned reading, as well. We had to learn cursive writing, and to write coherent sentences, paragraphs, and the many forms of writing. And we had to demonstrate competence in all of these things to pass. Period.

We were required to take physical education every school dayr, no exemptions, and no way to avoid it short of being in the hospital. We had no choice but to either learn to play an instrument or be in the choir. We were taught square-dancing. We were required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the first verse of "America the Beautiful" every morning before classes started. No exceptions and no excuses. We learned about the difficult struggle that created America, why America was worth having, and why it was worth preserving. We were taught that we were all equal in the eyes of both the law and God, and that while America wasn't perfect, it continually strove to fulfill its promises to itself and to the world.

Not many of the same academic subjects seem to be taught in school curriculum today, and I know that as a former college admissions officer who had to enroll an ever-increasing number of incoming college freshmen in remedial courses. And not much of the same patriotism and love of country seems to be taught in schools today, either, as judging by the increasing hatred for country and love for socialism demonstrated by young people.

It almost makes you wonder how many of our current teachers believe in such silly things as love of country above love of self, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I'm not casting aspersions. I'm just wondering. Maybe you should, too.

Dr. Jonathan C. Jobe, of Crescent Valley, is a retired educator and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

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