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Less Is More

John W. Pinkerton


Okay, this won't take many words.  You'll finish this essay in a jiffy.

Today public high schools have some very long days with class period totals ranging from seven to eight periods.  For a brief time we had something the “intellectuals” thought would be wonderful which had some two hour periods.  It wasn't and it disappeared.

First of all, this is child abuse; as an adult, pick out a stiff-back chair and sit there for several hours.

Imagine you're a teacher. You're probably exhausted at the end of the school day.  After all you've just spent about seven hours on your feet on a concrete floor, and if you work in a small school you may have had to prepare seven different lessons.

Stupid people have been in charge of public education for some time.

I think this longer days and more periods started up North in a company town that was trying to train young men and women to work in their factory.  It was just stupid enough to be popular with the intellectuals and thus spread across the country.

Japan made its contribution also.  Their kids went to school year round and were so far ahead of our kids we had to keep our kids in school longer both in hours and in days.  We don't hear much about the Japanese system much today.  I think they continue to make us look like a bunch of hillbillies.  Oh well.

Okay.  Let's get in the WAY BACK MACHINE and go back to 1955-1960---my years in high school.  Although we were a pretty good-sized school, about 500 students, we were mostly country folks whose parents got tired of their kids riding a bus across to the school across the river.

We had four academics each day consisting of classes lasting for 55 minutes.  One period each day was split between physical education and study hall.   I don't remember how band, which was huge, fit into this plan.  They may have had to give up study hall.  It's irrelevant.  I think athletics was totally after school.  Oh, by the way, the football team won a state championship shortly after I graduated; thus, I take no credit for it.

Four academic periods per day.   Sixteen credits to be awarded for a high school diploma.  I can hear the intellectuals sneering at this plan.  “No one could get a decent education using this plan.”

But wonder of wonder, I took my “worthless” diploma, and went on to Louisiana State University and graduated and later Texas A&M and graduated.  I wasn't the only one: I think more than half of my class graduated with higher degrees.

A typical day consisted of Plain Geometry, English, Physics, World History or Algebra, Speech, Civics, American History, and believe it or not, we worked in electives.  As I recall, I took speech and mechanical drawing.

What I am  trying to say in these few words is,  “Fewer classes per day and fewer days of education per year…less is more.”

You're welcome.