School Life in the 1950's

1574 Words Dec 11th, 2013 7 Pages
School Life in the 1950’s
School Life in the 1950’s was harder than today because the facilities were few and inadequate. Teachers were stricter and corporal punishment was still in use. They had fewer subjects and wealth, discrimination, sexism and racism meant they could only do certain subjects.
After World War 2 there was a baby boom and as a result in the 1950’s schools were quickly filling up as the children enrolled. The enrolments increased as much as 30% over the ‘baby-boomers’ decade. In the year 1950 there were 166 437 existing elementary and secondary schools in the USA to educate over 29 million students. As the amount of students increased, the schools and resources declined. It was reported by the Office of Education in 1953
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“They used the cane a lot, usually first resort not last. She said it was normal for girls to get the cane in front of all the class with skirt, or as it was for her, gymslip raised up. They could get 2, 3, 4 strokes in front of class, occasionally some got 6 strokes. But if it was thought serious they were sent to the headmaster. Always bare off headmaster, skirt up knickers down. Six minimum, could be up to 12. She said it was normal to see someone being caned” (http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Used-To-Get-The-Cane-At-School/2211915 16/08/2013). There was no appeal against that system of punishment and many parents believed the teacher was acting in the child’s best interests. Other methods of punishment were intimidation, strapping, removal from class, loss of privilege, writing lines and verbal put-downs were all regularly used. As stated before, the class numbers were increasing so teachers had to teach more students, meaning discipline was becoming more stringent as the teacher tried to keep the class in control.
The 1950’s was the time of the cold war and there was a great tear of nuclear war. In certain areas of America the ‘fallout’ tests were being brought in where the students were required to go through a fake atomic bomb attack and they would find refuge under their desks (little did they know this wouldn’t protect them from radiation!). It was more for the teacher and parent’s piece of mind. Teachers of 1950 were sterner and more

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