Let’s not start blaming teachers just yet.
First of all. It’s complete BS. The original post is very similar to chain emails that have been circulating the Internet for years.(http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art3982.asp).
it’s not original, so it puts the whole story in suspect.
Also, your 8th grade test in ~1900 was not in any newspaer – unless your newpaper is reporting complete b.s. – you read it in an email – which was also b.s. (http://www.snopes.com/language/document/1895exam.asp)
I would suggest that before you start blaming teachers for this, you to do your own research into the validity of some of the stuff you read.
Teachers are by and large not the problem. So, don’t go placing blame on them. They’re some of the few people who are actually trying to make a difference in education.
So, yes, Sizz’s post IS funny, but it’s not so sad, because it isn’t true.
Scorereader–I agree with almost everything in your post.
As a retired educator (34 years of service) I believe that I can speak with some authority on the subject, and I agree that it is not necessarily fair to blame teachers. A lot of propagandistic stuff gets passed off as genuine every day, and unless someone bothers to go to a site like Snopes.com in order to debunk it, the propaganda may seem real.
There are many questions on "older" tests that kids of today would be unable to answer correctly, but at the same time, there are many items on modern tests that students of yore would have been clueless about. Perhaps curricula evolve over time as the relevance of certain parts of the curriculum wax and wane.
All of that being said, I can also say that my peers and I would frequently shake our heads in disbelief at the poor writing skills and poor spoken English of far too many of the younger teachers. As just one example, it was universally "understood" by the younger teachers that a lot was one word–alot (sic). And, please don’t get me started on the geographical knowledge and grasp of world history displayed by most of the younger teachers. However, their ignorance in these areas was probably the result of revised curricula when they were in elementary school and high school. But, on the other hand, the technical knowledge of the younger teachers was so far superior to that of me and my peers that it was embarrassing.
So–where does the blame (if, indeed, there is any) lie? I have to say that it would probably rest with those who write curriculum–for better or for worse. And before anyone tries to take this into a political tangent, I can report that in my school district, as well as on the state level, I never saw a politically motivated agenda in curriculum writing, as the curriculum writers who I knew represented a wide spectrum of political views, and the committees that approved the curricular standards also represented a very wide variety of political positions. This may not be true in other areas (example–the promotion of "ghetto English" as being acceptable in the Oakland, CA school district).