State of Genderal Educ LO6956

John Paul Fullerton (
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 15:49:01 +0000

Replying to LO6861 --

> Gary Scherling recently referred to a comparison of major problems in
> schools as seen by teachers in 1960 and 1990. The thrust of this report
> is that the kind of problems being faced by teachers and schools has
> changed drastically, from chewing gum to committing suicide.

> These surveys don't in fact exist or at least I have not been able to come
> upon their sources. I understand that they were actually "invented" by a
> conservative commentator and have been adopted into the common lore as an
> indicator of how much decay there has been in our society.

When I first saw these comments, I thought "ouch!". It's embarassing
to have imaginary data. So I thought that I would see if I could
find any of the information online. What follows is the most direct
information that I've found. First, though, let me say that my note
isn't a "see, I told ya" letter. It seems like our actual data input
through the senses and the level that thoughts and opinions work at
is very different. We push a button, a buzzer sounds, and we think,
Oh, wow, no breath mints! Or something like that :)

The document I found is "Youth Violence Prevention" S. Hrg. 102-1123.
Hearing before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States
Senate, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, March 31, 1992.
Senator John Glenn, Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs
(if I understand the statement from the document), says in his
opening statement

"A short time ago, I saw figures from a 1987 CBS News broadcast
republished. There was a poll of teachers who had listed the top
seven school problems that they faced in 1940, and the same places
and teachers were queried again in 1980. That is a 40-year span.

The problems identified by the teachers as being major problems in
school in 1940 were as follows: talking out of turn, chewing gum,
making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dress code
infraction, and littering. That is 1940.

In 1980, top problems had become: drug abuse, alcohol abuse,
pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault. A 40-year period."

end of quote

Just as an example of how research might be better shared than
repeated, the route of the search is as follows. There's no
particular on-topic reason to continue, yet I wanted to show how
inexact these kinds of searches could be. You're free to delete the
rest of this note!

1. Check Alta Vista on the WWW for +gum +suicide

Found about 4 articles total, two with relevant data. The most exact
reference was to a November 1993 U. S. News and World Report article.

2. Search library journal database for U. S. News articles about
education in November 1993.

Found that November 8, 1993 had possible articles.

3. Went to microfilm of journal and found chart listing data and a

The reference was to the Congressional Quarterly Researcher.

4. Checked the 1993 CQ Researcher.

It referred me to the info in the 1992 book.

5. Checked the 1992 book.

Found a chart listing the same basic data mentioned above and gave
the source as "CBS News broadcast cited by Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio,
in a statement before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs,
March 31, 1992."

6. Found the Senate Hearing quoted above.

It was on fiche and had been (as an exception) double-exposed.

7. Found another copy in a commercial republication.

The quote above is copied from that publication.

8. So far, I haven't found further information about when the
broadcast was exactly, what study the broadcast was based on, when
the broadcast was republished, or any other information about the

And I work at the library where this research was done in the
department that had the journal and hearing! Four other library
workers helped me find this information.

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton


"John Paul Fullerton" <>

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