By Olivia Kentros
The topic I chose to write about comparing 1848 to 2023 is schooling. Schools have drastically changed in the past 175 years. Schools went from one-roomed schoolhouses, where everybody shared the classroom, to towns with up to three elementary schools. Back in mid-1800s children were only in school for as little as 5 years, with about 59% of children even having the option to attend school. Parents often had their kids stay home after so few years of schooling to help with farm work, housework, chores, or even sometimes gardening.
Most girls didn’t even have the option to go to school, having to stay home and work on housework, or take care of their siblings. The girls that were lucky enough to go to school mainly got reading and writing in their curriculum, in a separate room or place, away from the boys. Since schools were only one room, there was only the need for one teacher/adult in the whole school. Some teachers even relied on the older male students to teach the other younger students. Today though there are hundreds of adults on the staff at every school in the district. As the years went by, laws were formed to make children stay in school longer, till they were about 18 years old.
The time that schools started though, hasn’t changed that much over the years, back in the 1800s schools started at 9am and ended anywhere from 2pm to 4pm. The school year on the other hand has changed, it went from about 132 days in the 1800s to 180 days this year. Technology has also become a big change in schools in the past 200 years. Schools went from writing on slates, to parchment, paper, typewriter, then finaly what we are the most familiar with now, the computer. Even within the past 5 years, schools have started using computers, chromebooks, or even iPads more and more frequently. Children also had no busses, or parents who could drive them. Children had to manage the hike to school, all by themselves or with a buddy until they graduated. Teachers were also paid far less than they are now, many not even being able to afford somewhere to live, had to live with multiple students’ families.
The behavior and discipline has also changed a lot. Discipline was very strict and normally involved humiliation, or a beating of some sort. Even a small act of idiocy could get one expelled. Now, students can get away and do a lot before even getting a talking to. Even with going on little to no breaks, students were a lot better behaved and got along with each other in a much easier and better way. The younger students weren’t scared of talking to the older students like many are.
Schools have changed so much in 175 years, and personally I would much rather go to school today than back then. Living roughly 5 miles from school, I know I wouldn’t want to walk that far to school every day.