I have a unique perspective because I work in a public middle school that serves an upper middle class neighborhood in order to pay the tuition (
) for my sons to go to a Roman Catholic high school. I enter the public classroom as an educator, parent and Orthodox Christian who went to public school during the 1960s and 70s.
The differences I see from when I attended school are quite striking. First, one of the most notable differences is many of the teachers in their 30s and 40s are not quite as literate or have the same level of skills in writing as the the teachers from when I attended school. I have had some of the teachers I work with ask me to write their emails or edit papers for them because they considered me more qualified. I was always an average writer among my peers and I am not an English major so these requests secretly appalled me.
The other thing of note is the curriculum changes I have observed. While I am inclined to admit the math curriculum seems to have improved, I would say science and history have suffered a great deal because of the political agenda coming from the left that has a stranglehold on west coast schools.
Global warming, I mean climate change,
is accepted has gospel and for a few years Al Gore's, "Inconvenient Truth," was shown over and over again until each grade had seen it at least 3 to 4 times during their internment in middle school. Labs are few and far between. Instead, movies like, "Darwin's Dangerous Ideas," are thrown in to not so subtlety undermine a young adolescents faith.
Medieval history has suffered from the sins of omission and exaggeration in order to pronounce the Islamic time period as the epitome of civilization and the kindest of all conquerors. Context for the Crusades is swept away along with any mention of Charles Martel. Historical inaccuracies abound in the curriculum, known as the History Alive Series which is also known for its lack of rigor.
Socially, it is not acceptable to behave as a boy, because boyhood is deemed as dangerous and criminal. Football during lunch may cause injuries and is forbidden and arm wrestling is an act which can bring the penalty of a detention. Boys must be socially molded to behave like feminized eunuchs or face harsh consequences. My own son, when he was in third grade said, "Mommy, if they read Charlotte's Web
to me one more time, I think I am going to scream. Why can't we read any stories about boys?"