Will We Return to Quality Education and Government, or Will these Systems Collapse?

Will We Return to Quality Education and Government, or Will these Systems Collapse?

By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

“School District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy (property tax rate) to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?”?


This arithmetic question was one of 48 questions on a five hour graduation exam given at eight elementary schools in Saline County, Kansas on April 13, 1895. There were five sections: Grammar, Arithmetic, U.S. History, Orthography (Spelling), and Geography. The entire test is at http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/sali…iety/exam.html.

Other arithmetic questions included:

“If a load of wheat weights 3942 pounds, what is it worth at 50 cents per bushel, deducting 1050 lbs for tare (the weight of the wagon)?” and “Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.”?


One of the Grammar questions was:

“Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar”.?


A U.S. History question asked:

“Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War”.?


An Orthography (Spelling) question was

“Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super”.?


A geography question asked

“How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?”?


According to the Smoky Valley Genealogy Society in Salina, Kansas, 7th graders could take the test and finish school one year early at age 13 if they passed. There was a seven month school year, which began October 1, and ending April 1. Most students spent the other five months working with local farmers to plow, plant, and harvest their crops.

In those days, the property taxes for public schools were not nearly the burden they are today. In rural and suburban areas, one teacher taught 20 to 30 students of various grades in one room. City schools had separate classrooms for each grade, but only a principal, a nurse, and an occasional art, music, or physical education teacher were added to the cost. School buildings were simple, functional, and inexpensive. Here in Linwood, the Bellhaven Avenue School was designed, built, and paid for by local people within one year.

Few students went on to high school or college back then. But most eighth grade graduates in America 100 years ago were better prepared to run their own farms, shops, and businesses – and serve their local governments – than most kids who finish college today.

Today, most high schools say the number of kids they send to college proves their success. But as I see parents and their kids with student loans they can never pay back (or discharge in bankruptcy), I have to ask:

Why do kids today have to pay a fortune to learn in college, what they used to learn in public school for free?

The short answer is that 100 years ago, we had “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”, and now we don’t. Back then the people who ran our public schools were accountable to the people they served.

But today, teachers and administrators are masters, not servants of the public. Their powerful unions and civil service bureaucracies, dictate the pay, pensions, and benefits they are “entitled” to receive. They decide what they will teach and how, and they use their muscle to make laws that say they have their jobs for life – even when we elect people who want to give others a chance.

Then, no matter who we vote for, our officials tell us “we have no choice” but to raise taxes to meet those demands. Government already takes 54% of everything we earn, directly or indirectly, but our public “servants” don’t think that is enough. They still demand and get pay hikes each year, even when the rest of us earn less money each year.

This system will collapse when most citizens are unwilling or unable to pay what our “public servants” demand. The only question is how and when.

I hope and pray that this will happen peacefully, through the political process. We would have to elect officials willing to apply the basic principles of American liberty found in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Such governments would secure our “unalienable” rights and “exercise their just powers with the consent of the governed”.

Otherwise, we will give our children the hardship, anger, and violence that always happens when one class of people feels “entitled” to take what it wants from others who have less power.
For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net or 609-927-7333. Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program every Saturday from 8am – 9am on WVLT Vineland, 92.1 FM.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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