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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Public Schools, Demons or Democracy

Jesuit High in Dallas

Hockaday School for girls

Education in public schools was pretty common in Texas during the 20th century.  There were private schools for some that could afford the expense.  I remember Hockaday in Dallas, mostly upscale families.  There were some private religious schools.  My younger sister attended such a school for first and second grade, St. Peter's in McKinney.

Last weekend Gene, Ken and I were discussing Ken's support of a young man in Nicaragua.  This young man is the first in his family to finish high school.  And now to think that through Ken and other's support he will graduate from pharmaceutical college is praiseworthy.   Ken hopes to be present for the graduation ceremony for this young man.

The subject led us to discussing Gene & Ken's family education.  The maternal grandparents provided their two children with a high school education.  Gene's mom even attended clerical college attaining a 2 year degree.  That was quite the fete for a young woman especially in the 1930's.  Even with The Depression Edna helped to pay her own way to college.  She did housekeeping to pay for her room and board.

The Adcock side of the family were not as fortunate.  First of all there were 7 surviving siblings living off the income from a farm near Miller, MO.  Most of the 7 made it through the 8th grade at Sycamore school, a mile or so from the farm.  But the funds to send any of the children into town for further education were just not to be had.  After calls to other cousins to confirm that even "the girls" did not get to go to school "in town", it slowly sank in that Gene was the first of Perry and Edith's children or grandchildren to graduate from high school.

Further consideration realized the every one of the 13 Adcock grandchildren attended college for at least 2 years.  Eleven of the 13 received bachelors degrees with a few holding degrees as high as doctorates.  At least four of the grandchildren attended Catholic schools but the remainder attended public schools for their secondary education.

Southfork, Parker TX
Parker, TX, more like my Dad's time.
My family was a little different.  Daddy graduated from the 11th grade, the end of high school in the 1930's in Parker, Texas.  The school was called, "Who'd a Thought It," as the founding donor was known as a tightwad. Some of you may know that general area as the location of the fictional Southfork Ranch.  

My mom's dad would not allow her to move to town to live with an aunt to attend high school.  So Mom has 10th grade education from Chambersville, TX.  And to show Grandaddy Chandler her independence, she married my daddy.
Chambersville Elementary, my
Mom's school.
Gene's dad was released to a whole new life when he learned square root.  He spent the rest of his life encouraging his grandchildren to learn square root.  He sang its praises to all that would listen.  He was not worried about public or private, only that the children be educated.  Carl was as conservative as they come. I never once heard him slam public or private schools or the teachers.  He did frequently call local police Barney Fifes.

There have always been poor, good, better and best teachers, school board members and parents for that matter.  Our systems are only as good as we work together for them to be.  And if we old folks do not like how the young 'uns are acting, remember we taught them.

But for me, I want to praise the teachers, administrators, parents and tax paying public that still value education.  Perfect?  No, but I am pretty sure there are a lot of us that would not have even high school diplomas without our public school system.  Oh, one other thing, I have never seen a teacher with or without tenure, union or non-union get a golden parachute.  Or a Mediterranean cruise as an oil executive did when he retired.  I really like what this gentleman has to say.

Gene just commented that it appears I have more than nothing tonight.

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