Changing Roles of Public Education
One of the most important social developments that helped to make possible a shift in thinking about the role of public education was the effect of the baby boom of the 1950's and 1960's on the schools. In the 1920's, but especially in the Depression conditions of the 1930's, the
Therefore in the 1950's and 1960's, the baby boom hit an antiquated and inadequate school system. Consequently, the "custodial rhetoric "of the 1930's and early 1940's no longer made sense that is, keeping youths aged sixteen and older out of the labor market by keeping them in school could no longer be a high priority for an institution unable to find space and staff to teach younger children aged five to sixteen. With the baby boom, the focus of educators and of laymen interested in education inevitably turned toward the lower grades and back to basic academic skills and discipline. The system no longer had much interest in offering nontraditional, new, and extra services to older youths.