Perhaps you’ve seen this: the 8th grade test from Bullitt County Schools in Kentucky, circa 1912. Here are a few questions the 8th graders were expected to be able to answer:
- Define latitude and longitude
- Locate the Erie Canal. What waters does it connect, and why is this important?
- How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body? Where is it located? What does it secrete?
- Define the following types of government: democracy, limited monarchy, absolute monarchy, republic. Give an example of each.
- Who invented the following: magnetic, telegraph, cotton gin, sewing machine, telephone, phonograph
102 years later, and education is now in the hands of education researchers. According to Max Eden, these folks study very different things that the 8th-graders of yore. Eden, writing at National Review Online, says he eagerly dug into the report of the American Educational Research Association, twenty-thousand of whom descended upon Philadelphia a few weeks ago. (more…)