Education in the 1930s more than adequate

Duncan – Re: The good old days, Citizen, Sept. 19 I too attended school “back then”, when education was conducted without all our modern electronic technology.

I started school on Bowen Island in 1931 in a one room, one teacher, eight-grade school. Approximately 30 pupils made up the eight grades and in 1937 this included a Japanese family of four ranging in age from seven to 15 with not one word of English between the four of them and of course all in Grade 1. Of the four boys in my class one became a professor at a university in Boston for his entire career, another was the head civil engineer for what was then the P.G.E. railway for his entire career. The third was an electrical engineer who worked all over the world and also became very wealthy.

I was the only dropout (Grade 9) and eventually became a logging foreman for Crown Zellerbach. This job entailed a lot of highly accurate number work including the daily cut of up to 33 fallers (at times over one million board feet) the payroll for said fallers who were on various different pay scales that could change several times per month. I was also required to turn in two physical inventories per year involving well over 100 million board feet.

My point is that the teaching level in the 1930s was more than adequate. Fortunately we did not have to contend with the drunks and other assorted misfits Ms. Thorgeirson describes.

Her remark about things being different today, that today’s teachers are well educated and interested in their work is nothing short of an insult to the educators of the ’30s and ’40s.

In the past few decades I have seen many students “graduate” from our local schools who could not write, spell, or do math efficiently enough to go on to higher education.

Maybe a touch of the old methods might not be out of line.

Walt Punnett


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