Are we getting too much education today or is it the same education as in the past drawn out over a longer period of time so that everyone passes?
My grandfather had a grade five education, started out with his own business, later went into government where he set up medicare for an entire province among other things, and eventually became a mayor.
My father had a high school diploma, went in for manual labor and factory work, and retired with a pension.
I have a university degree and will need to work until I die.
Untangling Education versus Pay
Part of the change over the generations described above is due to recessions or depressions appearing about every ten years. Those have kept wages down while raising the cost of living.
The result has been that more and more education is needed to get a job that just pays the bills. Thanks to student loans, it can be a long time before those better paying jobs make a difference in your bank account. Many choose to stop at high school and get by on minimum wage or enter the welfare system.
But that’s a separate problem. Let’s stick with the value of education.
We Were Taught More in the Past
In 1917, my then 12 year old grandmother moved to Canada from Scotland with her family. She had been in grade 9 studying calculus and algebra, among other subjects appropriate for the grade level.
When she enrolled in school in Canada she was told, “Grade 9 is too far ahead for a 12 year old. We’re putting you in grade 6.” She was disappointed to say the least. For the rest of her public education, she was at the top of her class and went on to take a one year teacher’s degree. When she went to work as a teacher, she could have been a principal but was passed over for a less qualified male teacher because, “It wouldn’t be right for a woman to be a man’s supervisor.” Yeah. It was a different world in a lot of ways.
That’s Just Scotland
Is it just Scotland? Did they start kids in school three years earlier than Canada? I think it was Europe versus North America. Maybe it still is.
Any readers from Europe who would like to comment on what grade, age, and year they found themselves studying calculus and algebra? Scottish comments could be especially revealing.
Location is not the point either. It’s how much education and how soon.
Triumph of the Unintelligent?
When I went to school in the 1960s and 70s, a 60% was required or you repeated the grade. I passed every grade with little effort. A pass was all the school and my parents demanded. Why this matters will make sense shortly.
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