In the past fifty years there have been large-scale changes in both elementary and high schools.
We tend to think of change over time as making things worse, and to idealize the past as better and simpler. That was not always the case. However, many people perceive things this way.
The past sixty years have brought huge positive change, though. These changes for the better should be noted – the past wasn’t always better.
Since 1954 and the Brown v. Board of Education decision, all students regardless of race have had the same rights and have been able to attend the same schools. Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation in education, and made equality possible.
We also have less gender inequality than we did fifty years ago. Back in the day, it was normal for all of the girls to take Home Economics or “Home Ec,” and for the boys to take something that was considered masculine like wood shop or auto shop.
Girls used to be discouraged academically and discouraged from taking higher level math and science. Teachers and administrators would go so far as to tell them that they could not handle difficult coursework. We don’t treat girls this way anymore.
We now also acknowledge different learning styles. Learning happens in different ways for different people. This sounds like common sense now, but for a long time there was no acknowledgement of different learning styles.
The last major beneficial change that has improved education is increase in teacher’s salaries. It used to be that deciding to become a teacher meant that you would not have much money. It was a poor financial decision. Now, there is recognition that teachers are also professionals and should be compensated accordingly.