It's interesting to recall that only 5% of American youth graduated from high school in the year 1900 with only 1% going on to college. This figures changed in the 40s when 50% of our youth graduated from high school. At the start of WWII millions of men showed up at registration offices to take low-level academic tests before being inducted. The years of maximum mobilization were 1942 to 1944; the fighting forces had been mostly schooled in the 1930s, both those inducted and those turned away. Of the 18 million men who were tested, 17,280,000 were judged to have the minimum competence in reading required to be a soldier, a 96 percent literacy rate. Although this was a 2 percent fall-off from the 98 percent rate among voluntary military applicants ten years earlier, the dip was so small it didn’t worry anybody. WWII was over in 1945. Six years later another war began in Korea. Several million men were tested for military service but this time 600,000 were rejected. Literacy in the draft pool had dropped to 81 percent, even though all that was needed to classify a soldier as literate was fourth- grade reading proficiency. In the few short years from the beginning of WWII to Korea, a terrifying problem of adult illiteracy had appeared. The Korean War group received most of its schooling in the 1940s, and it had more years in school with more professionally trained personnel and more scientifically selected textbooks than the WWII men, yet it could not read, write, count, speak, or think as well as the earlier, less-schooled contingent.
Sample thumbnails taken from the collection. Click on image to view larger picture.
This DVD takes a critical look at the educational system in the 1940s and makes recommendations for improving both the student strength and the quality of education and schools.
The Children Must Learn
This film was produced by the Educational Film Institute Of New York University and Documentary Film Production Inc. in 1940 and emphasizes the need of good education for children.
Producer: Educational Film Institute of New York University &Documentary Film Production, Inc.
Color: BLACK & WHITE
Education Is Good Business
This film made by The National Chamber Of Commerce is an attempt at promoting education to children of the 40s and extols the value of education in business. It is an eye-opener to children and spells out the rewards of good education, which basically boil down to earning more and having better purchasing power.
Sponsor: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Producer: General Pictures Productions Inc.
The Sixth Chair
This film deals with one of post World War II America’s problems – overcrowding in schools. Ironically it was the post war baby boom that precipitated this problem - a lot more kids than a school could handle. Produced by the Jim Handy Corporation, the film has a simple yet significant message for citizens – we need better and bigger schools.
Sponsor: National School Service Institute
Producer: Jam Handy Organization
Color: BLACK & WHITE
Martinez, California Scenes
This film is about 1927 Martinez, California, and the myriad activities and places of tourist interest. You will get an insight into a school of that era and the activities of the students in it. Interestingly you will see a lot of Charlie Chaplin look- a-likes as well!
Color: BLACK & WHITE
DVD One: 57 Minutes
Good education for American school children has always been of primary importance to all. President Bush placed education reform at the top of his political agenda. From cradle to kindergarten there are many graphic illustrations of our little ones being educated. They are continually discovering new things. Each discovery can lead to more advanced discoveries as the child learns about himself, his family, neighborhood, and church -- his whole world. Those same principles continue throughout childhood and youth. Some discovering is totally informal, but the experiences of attending school are usually more structured. The totality of this discovering is the heart of the teaching/learning experiences that we call education. Today’s educational system did not evolve overnight. It is the result of tireless efforts of teachers and researchers over several decades.
Good education represents the sum-total of knowledge garnered through years of persistent efforts. It was foreseen in the ‘40s that a good education would bring opportunity for advancement in academia, that a good education would bring pleasure through fitting into the modern culture not to mention a greater social standing.
In this context, it is worth viewing these DVDs, which present a good overview of how the process of providing good, sound education started in the ‘40s when educators decided that the country needed better schools and that America’s progress depended on more children seeing the insides of a classroom. Good narratives and the obvious research and cinematic techniques used make the films worth the time spent in viewing them.
"I am a student of American history – 20th century history, with specific interest in the history of education in the country. I found clips on this DVD which support my views – that education creates better people for sharing a better future."
Customer's Name: Tom Eriksson (Nevada) Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am really grateful to the people who bent their backs to create an educational system that works for everybody and opens doors to things that are better – lifestyles, outlooks etc. Must thank the guys who put these DVDs together as well."
Customer's Name: Bob Wilson (South Bend. Il) Email: email@example.com
"While watching the film that deals with overcrowding in schools I felt lucky to have been born later, when there was enough place for all at school. On a sadder note though, I must mention that, some of this space was not made use of by students."
Customer's Name: Sheila Watson (Berrien Center, Mi.) Email: Sheila_Watson@aol.com
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