SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - They Could Have Padlocked Old Calhoun High

(01/28/2010)

By Bob Weaver 2008

High school class reunions are among the few reasons graduates of 50 years ago return to Calhoun County.

I will be attending mine on July 5th - 80 grads in the Class of 1958. One-fourth of the class has died. We weren't the healthiest bunch.

If the local school system had been held accountable by the current No Child Left Behind standards, the system would have been taken over by the state or the building padlocked.

Calhoun County High School would have been declared a failure, not measuring up to today's NCLB standards.

Fascinatingly, the Class of 1958 failed to graduate one-half of the students enrolled as Freshmen, 160 students.

What a drop-out rate.

Somehow those of us who stuck around learned about constitutional government, the scientific method, world geography, American and world history, English, writing and math.

I still believe what I learned in my 9th grade civics book, resting above my computer.

The notion that all children can meet such high standards if they are given equal opportunity is a myth pulled by the Bush administration from claims made by Texas school administrators.

Those claims of success have long been proved as "false intelligence."

Politicos don't like to give up on their mistakes.

NCLB is one of many educational trends that have failed in my lifetime to produce magnanimous results.

A teacher friend said, "Unfortunately all these schemes seem to prevent teachers from teaching and children from learning."

Others believe that No Child Left Behind is a movement to wrestle any resemblance of citizen control of education and take it to Washington.

I pretty much believe that.

Much has changed in the past 50 years.

Not the least being that fewer grads return to Sunny Cal because their parents and grandparents have passed, generations whose lives were rooted in the Calhoun clay.

Fewer people are connected to the place of their origin.

During the late 1940s through the 1960s, most returned for weekend visits, and most returned to be buried with their kin folk.

Calhouners have moved permanently to the greater world, living in virtually every state, their lives blooming where they are planted.

One thing for sure, 50 years ago, life in rural Calhoun still centered around the church, the school and home.

There was a few distractions with the coming of TV to rural life, a single channel to watch, and those wonderful visits to the movie theater.

Radio was still a presence in people's lives, and reading. Lots of reading.

When graduation came, I didn't want it to end, and quickly organized an outing at Hersman's Pond for one more get-together.

I believed the admonition that many graduates will never meet again.

That admonition was true.

So, a few of us will come together one more time in a few days and relive the joys and sorrows of our youth, and treasure quietly what I believe was a kinder, gentler time.


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