The Lost Dream – The Educational Revolution of the 60's

The display of public unrest in America of the 1960's was joined by an exciting revolution in education. This educational revolution not only effected standards of excellence, content, teaching strategies, it had a unique effect upon the public's attitude about what educating a child was all about.

One of the more significant attributions was the public's willingness to spend huge sums of money on education. Never before in our history had so much money been spent on teaching the young. With this deluge of funds experimentation in learning methods, teaching techniques, teaching-learning materials, and school reorganization plans became possible.

Television came into the classroom as a new learning tool. Using canned and live programming teachers could now bring 'experts' into their classrooms. Libraries were converted into multimedia centers where students could punch up video as well as audio tapes on hundreds of different subjects. Programs in Spanish, French, and German were available to teachers of those languages. The game plan was to provide instant information retrieval.

Computer terminals connected students to local universities for interactive participation in a variety of academic disciplines. New typing machines that responded to voice commands offered new flexibility to those students who were physically handicapped. Talking books and large print books took on a new importance.

Joining this menagerie of electronics was programmed learning which tooted the maxim that a learner could now learn at his own pace. Teachers became directors of learning rather than dispensers of information. A student's learning needs became the focal point. Because of that emphasis new courses were introduced: anatomy, stage craft, ballet, photography, interpretive dance, science fiction, advanced physics, and math.

Concurrent with the revolution in education was a renewed belief in the American dream. Education was for all the children of all the people. No child was to be left behind. Instruction was tailor made. The whole country had become energized.

What happened? The dream got lost. America became complacent.

Source by Norman W. Wilson, Ph.D.