I watched the School House Rock special on ABC with my family on Sunday night while we sipped homemade creamsicle-flavored floats. They did a countdown of the most beloved songs from School House Rock, and Conjunction Junction made Number 1.
I watched my daughter as she enjoyed the songs and clips, happily sipping her soda float, and thought of how how much education has improved for her generation's benefit. A couple of quotes have been on my mind lately from the book, 13th Gen by Neil Howe and Bill Strauss....
"As with so much else in their lives, 13er (Gen Xer) schooling fell into the Boomer backwash. In the 1950s and early '60s, Boomers attended schools that may have been the best in U.S. history.
"Then in the 1980s, the first 13ers (Gen Xers) ...started graduating from college, the 1983 Nation at Risk report marked the end of the reform era that had spanned their entire school careers. As the cutting edge of educational philosophy suddenly swung back the other way, the college classes of the middle '80s became the target of a searing academic whiplash. Ever since elementary school, they (Xers) had constantly been told there weren't any standards, that they were doing well, and that they had to listen to their feelings. Now, after all those years, they heard that there had indeed been standards, that they had failed to meet them, and that no one much cared how they cared about that failure."
School House Rock, however, was one very bright spot on the timeline of the education of Generation X. We could turn on the TV on Saturday morning to learn a science or grammar lesson with a fun song and cartoon short to go with it.
This is what is so interesting about looking at the Generation X experience throughout our growing up years: the big picture of the pop culture that influenced us and the collective experience that formed us is bittersweet. One moment, I am remembering the sweetness of holding the stick of a frozen Creamsicle on a hot summer day in my youth, the next moment I am remembering once again about how my generation got the short end of the stick.
As a Gen Xer, it has made me angry when I've looked at how much experimenting in education happened during the formative years of Generation X, especially because there was already too much experimenting going on in society with our lives as it was. The only consolation I have about all this is that some of that "reform" and experimentation came from a good place. Educational theorists and school administrators could see that things were going horribly wrong in society and their hope was that a different kind of education could better shape the youngest generation at that time - Generation X. This was because they hoped that we, as a generation, could be the ones who would eventually save society, or at least leave the world better than how we found it.
I think we will.
I am always looking for ways to revive the well-loved food of the growing up years of Generation X. This is how I like to enjoy a somewhat healthier version of the beloved Creamsicles of our youth....
Chloe's creamsicle-flavored soda floats:
Izze Soda (Sparkling Clementine flavor)
Homemade vanilla ice cream - (I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker
so I can just pour in cream, stevia and vanilla to taste and let it get
firm which should take about 20 minutes)
Put a couple dollops of the ice cream into each glass, pour over
the soda and watch it fizz!