50 Years of American Voices

1970

Author:
George H. Gallup

2nd annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools

The results of the 2nd annual Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools were the first to be published in their entirety in Kappan magazine, a tradition that continues to this day.

“It is our belief that this report will serve two major functions. First, it will alert educators and interested laymen to overall public reaction to many aspects of school programs and policies. Second, it will serve as a national benchmark against which local attitudes may be measured,” wrote pollster George Gallup in his introduction to the poll results.

What was happening in American education?

The U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity announces its interest in supporting a local public school district for a voucher demonstration project. This ultimately led to the Alum Rock School District voucher demonstration project in San Jose, Calif.

Jean Piaget Book

Jean Piaget’s book Science of Education and the Psychology of the Child and his other work inspired American education to become more child-centered and constructivist.

Jean Piaget’s book, Science of Education and the Psychology of the Child, is published. That plus his other work inspired American education to become more child-centered and constructivist. Rather than try to fill children with information through lectures, students would construct their own knowledge through experiences, exploration, and their own discoveries.

November 1970: In the United States vs. State of Texas, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas ordered the state and nine school districts to remedy past discrimination that continued to harm the educational achievement of Mexican-American students.

What else was happening in the United States?

February 1970: Five members of the Chicago Seven are convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Chicago8

A political poster in support of the Chicago 8. (Wikipedia)

March 1970: Fourteen U.S. Army officers are charged with suppressing information related to the My Lai massacre.

April 10, 1970: Paul McCartney announces he is leaving the Beatles, effectively breaking up the musical group.

April 22, 1970: Millions of Americans demonstrate for a healthier planet during the first Earth Day, which marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

April-May 1970: The U.S. invades Cambodia, sparking widespread antiwar protests.

May 4, 1970: Four students are killed at Kent State University during an antiwar protest.

October 1970: The Public Broadcasting Service begins.

Sept. 18, 1970, and Oct. 4, 1970, respectively: Singers Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, both age 27, die of drug overdoses.


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We welcome your conversation about the poll results and the other information we’ve assembled here. What did we forget? What do you remember about this year? How do you think the events of this year influenced the responses to our questions?