Old Time Report Cards

I'm having endless fun trying to organize and scan a lot of old family history. Bless these people for saving some truly wonderful stuff but there is a lot. (It goes back to the early 1800's - I'm somehow allegedly related to Andrew Jackson.)

So I find my mother's and my grandmother's report cards. Very charming and I liked some of what was said to parents (especially the part in bold). From my mother's report card (1930-31):

The parent or guardian is requested to examine this report with care each period. Teachers earnestly desire the improvement of pupils, and will be glad to confer with parents or guardians concerning any point that may be suggested by this report. Patrons are urged at all times to suggest desired improvements in our service. Attention is called to the serious consequences of irregular attendance. Your frequent presence in the school room will encourage teachers and pupils to make our schools better.

Then this quote:

"America's greatest wealth does not consist of forests, mines, shops or factories; the children are worth far more than all these." Arnold D. Tompkins (couldn't find him via Google)

The other report card is from my grandmother on my mom's side and is called The Report Book by James Baldwin (who also created a series of widely used readers). It is dated 1917-1918.

The first page is To the Teacher. I won't put everything in but I liked:

The manner in which these Reports are made will be a good index to the general character of your school.

To the Parents:

As this is intended to be a complete summary of all that pertains to your child's school life this year, it is hoped that you will regard it with more than a mere passing interest, and that you will co-operate with the teacher in securing the best results possible. The value of the Report Book will largely depend upon the interest shown in it by you. Should you at any time discover anything of an unsatisfactory character, through means of these reports or otherwise, it is earnestly desired that you will call upon and consult with the teacher at once. By pursuing this course, misunderstandings will be avoided, and the parties most interested in the welfare of the pupil will mutually assist each other.

Then there are pages for remarks by the teacher, merits/demerits, roll of honor and promotion. Interestingly, there are two pages for promotion because "in some schools promotions occur twice a year; hence these two cards." Maybe people got double-promoted if they were really ahead?

Charming, civil and polite. Again, I'm feeling a little jaded at the end of my last child's K-12 adventure. I do miss the early years of feeling like I was working with my son's teachers and that I could reach out to them without a wall of administrators all around. I know, union rules, fear of litigation but once upon a time, we were all in this education thing together. (But I'm probably romanticizing the good old days because they also used to swat kids.)


Gouda said…
My kindergarten report card has only one comment on it.

"Limes" cannot throw or catch a ball.
Michael Rice said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Rice said…
My first grade teacher wrote: "Michael is a very intelligent little boy, but he needs to share his knowledge and not be so smug about."

My personality was fully formed at age 6. :-)
ArchStanton said…
This ought to be an interesting thread...

First Grade - Areas Needing Improvement: "'Arch' needs to learn to work without disturbing his neighbors. The last few weeks he has been much better about not giving his neighbors all of the answers."
dan dempsey said…

I conclude from your comment that you were not in kindergarten in the early 1900s or the early 2000s.

Today schools are far more interested into shoving second grade material into kindergarten and erasing childhood completely. Ball throwing is the kind of experiential activity that belongs only in alternative school settings and we should be wiping out all the alternative schools. This is part of my Strategic Plan to have a vertical alignment from womb to tombstone in which adult responsibilities dominate.

Mr. Rice on the other hand has attempted to share his knowledge but is rarely heeded. Example: Testifies against textbooks that he finds lacking in both examples and practice ... who cares its only his opinion.... he has a view point formed by experience ... we prefer listening to our hired professionals ... so we can make decisions that any reasonable board member would never make.

Damn, I'll bet that Michael Rice is really smug now.

seattle citizen said…
Arnold H. Tompkins -
The Philosophy of Teaching 1899

Bird said…
My kindergarten report card has only one comment on it.

"Limes" cannot throw or catch a ball.

If only we could get a report card like this these days. My kid's in Kindergarten and I found the district report card confusing, unhelpful, and devoid of comment.

After some puzzling, I figured out that everything was marked with the equivalent of "satisfactory" with the exception of PE, where my kid received a "check-minus".

I know someone is trying to communicate something with that, but without more information it's impossible to guess.

Probably they just meant "XXXX cannot throw or catch a ball." :)
hschinske said…
My favorite comment ever was from high school: "Helen is provocative in the best sense of the word." (Alas, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the teacher only meant I got people to talk during class discussions.)

Helen Schinske
SolvayGirl said…
Mine always had some form of the same comment: "Talks too much."
dan dempsey said…
Clearly Helen was hoping to be provocative in less than the best sense of the word...

Did she ever succeed?

She seems to be doing fine now.

I think she provokes many in admin quite well.
Stu said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said…
Take a look at this link:

The Philosophy of Teaching

This site lets you really look at a lot of the book and there's some pretty interesting stuff.

another mom said…
A walk down memory lane and I found a few of my old report cards from a local Catholic School. Most advised my parents that I needed to work on my deportment. I was probably too chatty. But the other thing consisently noted was that I was not working to capacity. It was a yes or no question. Maybe my deportment would have been better had I been a wee bit more challenged? sigh
Jet City mom said…
Arnold Tompkins was an educator in Chicago.

Tompkins resigned his presidency at Illinois State Normal in Bloomington to accept the position in 1900. He had achieved a considerable reputation as an educator knowledgeable about contemporary educational affairs. His appointment was a momentary victory for those in favor of maintaining the national stature of Chicago Normal School.

Tompkins' tenure was stormy, in line with the already estab lished pattern of the school's administrators. It was marked by vicious attacks upon his principles and personality. These were years of increas ing philosophic ferment within American intellectual thought — years of intense feelings resulting in bitter attacks on new concepts from the defenders of the existing order. Difficult as Parker's educational skir­mishes had been, they had remained skirmishes. They were not as yet fought out in an American mind becoming deeply troubled by and fully conscious of the pragmatic onslaught of Pierce and James and the beginnings of the educational revolution of John Dewey.

Tompkins suffered because he pleased neither progressives nor conservatives. To the latter he somehow vaguely personified the new revolution, while to the former he stood as both a conservative and as a violator of the Parker tradition. The remaining band of Parkerites were particularly critical. While there are, at this remote distance, vague outlines of grounds for concern by this faction, the estrangement appears to have been one of temperament rather than philosophy.

Tompkins’ enemies leveled various charges: gross exaggeration to the public of the school's internal problems; negligence which "pro moted vandalism and anarchy" at the school; denial of legally entitled faculty raises; and favoritism to those who "cooperated with theadministration." Accusations aside, much of educational and civic importance was accomplished under Tompkins. The Normal School faculty, during his tenure, became directly involved in curriculum planning for the elementary schools — a movement towards service to the school system and away from philosophic experimentation. Given the evolution of the school, the step was a most natural one, and the establishment of firmer practical ties with the Board of Education lessened the frequency of annual crises threatening the school's existence.

anarchy- imagine!

I changed elementary schools in 5th grade- early ones said " not working best to ability"- quiet-
This was also long before learning differences unless they were extreme were recognized.

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