Then Vs. Now: Step into a 1970 Classroom And Be Amazed by These Differences

It’s one of the most important things a parent considers when their child comes of age. School. Who is going to teach, nurture, guide your child into the future, and where are they going to do it?

Education Is Ever-Changing

shutterstock 388655137

Education is ever-changing. Schools are continuously growing, with more openings yearly in the US.

The population is also increasing, a driving factor in the growth. And then there is technology, an asset that has altered the learning environment forever.

Suprising Facts About School

boy listening to teacher in class

We’ve come to accept what school looks like today, but 50 years ago, the reality was very different.

Take a walk down memory lane and prepare to be more than a little surprised at the changes.

1. Fewer Women Completed Full Schooling

girl graduating

In today’s society, it is common for women to be married around the age of 28.

Societal expectations regarding marriage were significantly different in 1970, as it was not unusual for a woman to be married around the age of 20.

1. Fewer Women Completed Full Schooling

thinking about college

Though the work environment was shifting, and more females were entering the workforce, tradition was that a woman should prepare for motherhood from an earlier age.

It was common for females to finish school shortly after becoming teenagers so that they could focus on learning ‘life skills’ that would assist them when they had their own homes.

2. School Discipline Was Rife

teacher scolding student 1

Corporal punishment was still in practice during the 1970s, though it was banned later in 1977.

If you had attended school 50 years ago, it is likely that if you misbehaved, you would have ended up with some sort of physical retribution. 

3. Changing Rules

shutterstock 779645425

During the 70’s, most schools implemented a uniform policy and expected their students to present themselves nicely.

In high school, gym would be required a few times a week, during which, boys and girls were separated, as an act of appropriacy, though this would only be the case for another year or so.

3. Changing Rules

shutterstock 1106869442 Custom

Smoking was also allowed, according to one previous student, but only for high schoolers.

During the 1960s and continuing into the 1970s and 1980s, smoking was allowed in almost all public spaces. Smokers had the freedom to light up at their workplaces, hospitals, school buildings, bars, restaurants, and even on buses, trains, and planes.

4. Racial Segregation Existed


Though there was a movement to abolish education-based segregation, it was still a reality until the end of the decade.

To assist in the transition, courts issued orders that students take the bus across district lines so that black students and white students would be mixed in both schools.

4. Racial Segregation Existed

teacher helping students

Uproar ensued, as parents and politicians alike complained about the policy. There was rioting in Boston, however, the practice continued and eventually, education-based segregation came to an end.

5. Disabled Students Were Segregated Or Simply Not Taught

disabled student

Up until 1975, all disabled children were placed into separate classrooms, away from other children.

This included children who were deaf, blind, intellectually disabled, or even considered emotionally disturbed.

5. Disabled Students Were Segregated Or Simply Not Taught

man wokring in wheelchair

In 1970, only one in every five disabled children were provided with some kind of education.

In 1975, Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, to protect the rights and meet individual needs of youth with disabilities. The law was last re-authorized in 2004. 

Changes From 50 Years Ago

shutterstock 2209710853

For students during the 1970s, it was a landscape of possibility.

The Beatles disbanded. The first Boeing 747 commercial flight took off for London and the Apollo 13 launched.

Amidst it all, there were classrooms, lunch hours, bus trips, and homework. Not too dissimilar to today.

Read More: 20 Most Dangerous Universities in The U.S. Revealed


It is often that individual’s first time living away from their parents; some students even travel to an entirely new state for school. With such distance from everything and everyone they know, it’s important for students to choose schools that are—among other things—safe.

Read More: 20 Most Dangerous Universities in The U.S. Revealed

Read More: The Worst Things Teachers Have Confiscated

MRt 58s x40C5g8IGoCx8s51DtcPmGuwZ6RtkyLf2jehrIbQ5comJaUYPwneX4Cb pu6qBoROLowTQz4XUivGqeqwL1xz uu6S5LEfvbfJP58qAtWsm35nIY G85oGv4ppJn2r4gSicTjpgirbKdvDY

Teachers have seen it all. So we asked them: what was the worst thing they had ever confiscated from a student?

Their answers would be enough to put you off the teaching career for life.

Read Now: The 20 Worst Things Teachers Have Confiscated From Students

Read More: She Didn’t Want Her Son To Sleep At His Girlfriend’s Because “Something Felt Very Off”— And She Was Right

Hbn6x5lGLOi0kN3pTSMwayNJk7P3gb6n2tgjfMuMqmTkrf8jHJDnzWK6TFFpxiHLmgNaqXKQ50nMggRs5ScJ1Ny6kDqI688ZPh50np5fVw9CKvx0hWSlnIQfzIRtG nTDPTaFr5gAkVwqowXgI2n3JY

To a child, parents’ rules and restrictions may seem arbitrary and controlling. While the occasional rule might be strict, hindsight usually reveals that—more often than not—a parent’s intuition was right.

Read Now: She Didn’t Want Her Son To Sleep At His Girlfriend’s Because “Something Felt Very Off”— And She Was Right

Read More: Teaching or Chatting?

ksvFaeE9rZXtwyXj5ko9pN44y6eLDt2rbWUPRTXJSplBy3H5eN8Q9eRGs3YLGlAWdy45P8PioHTvexxoKbElkb8P3iS6XaBzx8QZbUDCQbtPdHrz4vVyL3a5YhQwR1Aigvud4Tkz A5rC75n2hbSIy4

Did you know that up to 45% of all Americans have a side gig? Do you?

We found probably one of the most enjoyable, rewarding ways to earn money by teaching (chatting) with those who want to learn English online. Log in any time you want, 24/7, and get paid weekly for the hours you put in.

Learn More: Cambly 2023 Review, Requirements & Pay For Tutors (Beginner Friendly)

Read More: Dad Let His Son Take “Toy” To Show and Tell, Not Knowing What It Really Was

When Mom’s away, Dad and son will play.

Read More: Dad Let His Son Take “Toy” To Show and Tell, Not Knowing What It Really Was

This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments