Changes on the school front reflect sign of times

Today’s needs for the education of our students are on the fast track. Curriculum, technology, physical facilities, student numbers and safety are all items that once changed every few years and now seem on the public education agenda daily.
Proposed 5-year plans for schools in the Omaha schools to be built or remodeled in the Omaha area were aired recently. While the metro area plans hinged on pupil growth, it was quite evident the task of educating not only for the metro students, but for our rural out-state students is rapidly changing to meet the demands of our rapidly changing world. Here are just a few “then and now” examples we can recall from our old high school days. For example:
We were required two years of science and could “duck” chemistry by taking frosh general science and biology the next year. Today it is reported 70 to 90 percent of high schoolers are enrolled in four years of a science curriculum.
In our high school student days the study hall was the library and when a new school was built the title became a media center. Today school issued Chromebooks are minimizing the need for any media research and the name, “library” is hard to find.
Our school years occasional “stink bombs” were a popular lab experiment during which a student scientist would manage to let the odor drift through the hallways. Today, sophisticated labs are being proposed to be isolated in separate areas and also to meet numerous safety standards.
Student backpacks now are allowing schools to downsize the numbers for individual student locker needs. That means we could have, as a 4-foot 85-pound high school freshman, avoided being stuffed into my locker several times by upperclassmen.
New school construction now calls for less computer labs and more individual “nooks” to meet individual or small group computer usage. In addition, a proposal plan for one metro new school building showed robotic and 3-D printers areas. Gee, when we were seniors in high school we were happy we had one electric typewriter along with 20 manuals in what was called “the typing room.”
And finally as we conclude, we find new student desks are now more lightweight and moveable. I wonder if today’s students on the last day of school will still be ordered to “clean out your desks.”
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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