Nevada County Education and Culture

1963 essay with 2015 foreword

By William Wetherall

The Union
Vol. 97, No. 29,426, 16 April 1963, pages 4-5


Mr. Know-it-all (Foreword)

Education
English
Foreign Languages
History
Institutions and Sociology
Mathematics
Science

General Business
Secretarial
Vocational
Home Economics
Art and Music
Men's Physical Education
Women's Physical [Education]

Teacher Obligations
Teacher Salaries
Examinations, Grades and Diplomas
Homework
Text Books
Administration
Counseling

Buildings and Grounds
The Student
Nevada County [1]
Culture
San Francisco
Nevada County Industry
Nevada County [2]


Mr. Know-it-all (Foreword)

"Insufferably suffocating" would be my words to describe my feelings while reading this essay five decades later. I cannot deny that I wrote it. It would be dishonest of me today to claim that it is not an honest reflection of me at the time I wrote it. I consider it a privilege to still be alive, and to be able to peer at my younger self in old mirrors.

The essay fills a page-and-a-half of yellow and brittle broadsheet pulp with small newsprint. Between the title and the by-line is a 3-column-inch portrait of a stern-faced young man I have reason to believe was me, shot when I was 21, going on 22, my age when the essay was published. Even I have to stretch my imagination to see a likeliness of the portrait beneath the zombie mask I wear today, half a century later.

The bottom of page 4 states that the article continued on page 5. The top of page 5 declares "More Wetherall" in large-point type and in smaller print says continued from page 4. The larger print should have declared "More Bullshit", for in hindsight that's what it was.

That such an article appeared in a commercial news publication is amazing, given today's standards of journalism. They have not improved, but have merely changed, in literary or moral terms. But economic conditions have tightened to the point that no paper today would allocate more than one-tenth of the space of my 9,000-word article to a contributed op-ed. And no paper concerned about its reputation would touch a rambling diatribe like mine, even if radically cut to 900 words.

The Union, though, was then an old-fashioned small-town paper owned and controlled by the Ingram family. It's editor at the time, Robert Thomas Ingram (1899-1988), had succeeded his father Thomas Ingram (1869-1928) and would be succeeded by his son Robert Peter Ingram (1926-1997). Robert T. Ingram knew me as the kid who clerked at Bennetts Bootery at 140 Mill Street, across the street from the paper's editorial offices and printing plant at 151 Mill Street -- the kid who sometimes delivered to him the check Howard Bennetts (1896-1967) wrote every month for rent on the building at 140 Mill Street, which the Ingram family also owned.

The edition in which my article appears lists the officers of The Union Publishing Company as Robert T. Ingram, President; Mrs. Minerva Wright, Vice President; Merris T. Ingram, Secretary-Treasuer.

I have no idea what compelled Robert Ingram to give my "treatise" three-fourths of the two facing pages in the very center of the paper. Perhaps he saw it as a vehicle for the several advertisements, two of them rather large, that filled the rest of space. The sheer bulk of the article, with my portrait, demanded attention.

I have no copies of the original manuscript, and many years ago I threw out all correspondence concerning my earliest writing. I can't recall whether I mailed Ingram the manuscript or personally handed it to him. Nor do I have any recollection of whether "treatise" was my title or his, but given the presumptuous style in which I made my scandalous claims, and my impression that the manuscript was run raw with no substantial editing, I suspect "treatise" was my way of sounding self-important.

Looking back, I see my article as an over-sized letter-to-the-editor or op-ed in a paper that still, despite its corporate makeover at a different location, thrives on reader debates over local issues. As outrageous as my viewpoints were, they pretended to address contemporary issues of local importance.

The same edition of the paper featured its regular "Views of Others" department on page 2. That day the department ran only one letter -- a 7-incher that publicized the up-coming Nevada City Fireman's May Dance.

The "Views of Others" feature began with the disclaimer -- "The Union accepts no responsibility for contribution to this department or the opinions, comments or attitudes expressed therein these being solely of the writer." My contribution carried no disclaimer of any kind.

I began writing "Treatise" no later than the fall of 1962 after returning to college. I may have started it that summer while still working at San Francisco Naval Shipyards, as that was where I outlined Definitions, Dogmas, and Dreams, a book-length collection of essays which I never wrote. The Cuban Crisis of October and early November that fall, and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, had already begun to alienate me.

By the time "Treatise" was published in April 1963, I was in the process of withdrawing from my electrical engineering studies. When my application for permission to change my major was declined, I decided to skip my final exams. And by the summer of 1963, the Department of Engineering dismissed me for one year for failing to complete my courses.

In other words, by the time "Treatise" came out, I was losing not only my political innocence, but all the blind faith I had expressed in the article regarding the purpose of education. I was never deeply attached to the idea of "God" -- at least not in any Christian sense -- but I began to reject even my philosophical attempts to image "God" as a secular force in the universe, the Lord of the Laws of Physics, if you will.

My understandings of "men" and "women" have of course entirely changed. By the time I returned to Berkeley in the late 1960s, after a stint in the Army that straddled the start of the Vietnam War, I was figuring out ways to avoid the "his/her" dichotomy that makes "Treatise" an exhibit of how successfully I had been raised to divide the world into strictly male and female provinces in that order of dominance. Later I would joke about this, for my own family history betrays the hollowness of many of my claims.

The article ended with a disclosure of my informal name and local address -- Bill Wetherall, 202 Silver Way -- in case anyone wanted to bomb my home, though I was safely residing in Berkeley.

While today I think very differently, my approach to life hasn't changed that much. To this day, I am inclined to have an opinion on everything, even if it amounts to nothing. I seem incapable of begging off -- admitting I don't know anything about a topic and keeping my mouth shut. I seem to be programmed to go say something for the sake of provoking a discussion.

Of course today I recognize the need to admit that I've never heard of something, or know little about it, and ask questions I hope the other party will want to answer in the interest of enlightening me. In those days, though, I pretty much shot from the hip at any target of opportunity with a question mark in the bullseye.

"Provocative" is a another word I might use to characterize "Treatise". My letters to Robert Ingram concerning my manuscript for Life in the Army (which see for details) show that I was very aware of my impulse to make harsh judgments from narrow idealistic or moralistic perspectives that disregarded or showed little respect for reality. To some extent I intentionally overstated my positions in order to provoke reactions from readers.

To this day, I habitually play the role of Devil's Advocate, even when not asked to. If you say white, I'm going to say black -- again for the sake of argument. I've discovered, though, that a lot of people don't want to examine things they believe.

Not withstanding the above comments -- half a century later I find myself blushing at my unabashed youthful know-it-all arrogance.

William Wetherall
8 November 2015, Hakusan, Abiko

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Wetherall 1963

A Treatise on Nevada-County Education and Culture

By William O. Wetherall

April, 1963

William Owen Wetherall
Bill Wetherall has lived in and about the Bay Area periodically for sixteen years, both in middle class predominately white and in low class multi-racial districts, and as a student has had experience with both the parochial and the public school systems of San Francisco. He attended Union Hill Elementary School upon his moving to Grass Valley in May, 1955, after which he attended Nevada Union Junior and Senior High Schools in Nevada City and Grass Valley respectively. Since his graduation from NU In 1959 his experiences have been equally varied, attending Sierra College in Auburn for two years, working at the Naval Shipyard in San Francisco for one year, and this last September returning to school at the University of California in Berkeley, at which he is currently a Junior majoring in Electrical Engineering.

Dedication
I would like to dedicate this essay to both Nevada County's Class of 1849 and Nevada Union's Class of 1959.

What I am going to talk to you about in 5000 words cannot be talked about in 5000 words and;I think it important that you understand this. For a reason beyond my comprehension, the topics of education and culture have escaped the virtues of simplicity.

The manner in which I will approach these very important topics will be a hybrid one of emotion, of philosophy and of the kid in me. For this reason I ask that you bear with my outbursts of satire, of solemnity and of ecstasy.

It is the feeling of a few critics (I) that Nevada County schools are inadequate preparation for the institutions both of life and of higher academic learning; (II) that Nevada County is culturally backward and an undesirable place to live therefore and (III) that the inertia of Nevada County to industrial development is responsible for the deficiency of employment opportunities in Nevada County. As justification for such beliefs these critics point out that Nevada County youth,; upon receiving their high school diploma, migrate to such metropolises as those of the Bay Area; that Nevada County youth are attracted away from the county (I) by the better school systems; (II) by the higher cultural development and (III) by the greater employment opportunities supposedly peculiar to such metropolises.

With the exception of the few words I shall devote to Nevada County industry and the many words I shall devote to high school curriulum in general, it will be the purpose of this essay to compare and contrast Nevada County education and culture with Bay Area education and culture.

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Education

Because culture (according to Webster) is the act of developing by way of education, it would seem to me only proper that we begin our discussion with a brief discourse on education.

In kindergarten we learned of crayons. In elementary school we learned of the alphabet, of numbers and of George Washington. In junior high school we learned of jock straps and in high school somebody mentioned in passing something about grammar and government. We all remember the day we were issued a diploma the receipt of which was an ultimatum to get a job, join the Navy or go to college.

Those of us who had good girl friends and good job prospects are today married and supporting our family with the income of a steady job. The few of us who married with no prospect for a steady job are finding it difficult to make ends meet. A few of us have experienced divorce.

Some of us are bachelors working out apprenticeships as carpenters. Some of us are deck apes sailing the high seas. Some of us are playing a beautiful harp and some of us are dousing terribly hot fires. A few of us have found it our destiny to experience penal and mental institutions. The rest of us are in college.

All of these consequences and more are characteristic of that maze we entered when we became young men and women, when we took that onion skin ultimatum with our right hand and bid farewell to high school with our left. But what was it we gestured with that left hand? Did we say good riddance or did we say thank you? I know what I said; I said good riddance, had a few beers and a most wonderful time with a most wonderful girl at the all night party that followed. But you know . . . attitudes change.

A few years have slipped by since I ran across Nevada Union's diploma stand and shook Mr. George's hand, and believe me I am just beginning to realize and to appreciate what those few devoted people at old NU tried to give me.

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English

Of all the academic courses there is none more useful than that which concerns our native language. We can only begin to appreciate what this language is to us when we try to imagine what life would be like if we were unable to speak to our loved ones, our friends and our enemies, if we were unable to give praise, to converse about the buck we missed and to cuss, if we were unable to express ourselves.

It is no wonder though that students find English boring when year after year they get the.same dull presentation. Semester after semester of abuse on the part of many an English teacher seems to render grammar and spelling like the broom which wears out, making it more difficult to sweep the floor.

Rarely is it pointed out to the student that the value of our language as a means of self expression cannot be realized by virtue only of one's [sic = ones] adhering to grammar and spelling standards. What it boils down to is that grammar and spelling are not as important as first having something to say, for it is what you say that other people really judge you by and not how you say it. Self expression stems first from one's [sic = ones] emotional structure, and it is the first task of the English teacher to stimulate the student emotionally. Once this door is open the harmony peculiar to practical sentence structure is readily attainable, for such a stimulated student will have no trouble with grammar. I can't spell worth a damn. Spelling is not important to me. Having something to say is.

In the city I had both good English teachers and poor ones. In Nevada County I experienced comparatively equivalent stimulation, both excellent and mediocre. I might point out that one of the better local teachers gave D's and F's in her senior English class. She indeed stimulated me by giving me such grades as I deserved, and today I thank her for it. I only wish now that I had been wise enough then to take advantage of her devotion. Sierra College has the finest English department I have yet to experience.

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Foreign Languages

I am philosophically undecided as to the gain realized by taking a foreign language prior to junior high school. A Catholic nun tried to teach me French in the second grade at Notre Dame des Victoires in San Francisco. I hope neither the Catholics nor the French knew about this.

Nevada County tried to teach me Spanish, and I think the junior high especially would have succeeded had I had a different attitude. Many students will agree how fine NUJHS's language department is.

At the high school, because of a few changes of faculty, I had three different teachers in one year. I believe only one of the three continues to teach, and I believe she was the superior teacher of the three. But let me not be hasty in my passing judgment on the others, for the others as I remember had all traveled abroad and knew both their languages and their countries well, which you must remember is most important in languages.

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History

I think all of us wonder about the past and get quite a thrill out of touring through a museum filled with ancient artifacts and reading the archaeologists [sic = archaeologists'] pertinent captions. Such general enthusiasm demonstrates to my mind that we all have a certain fascination for history.

I have known neither the student who was not willing to respond to a well-conceived history lecture nor the student who was not willing to read a good history text. I have known many students though, myself included, who were apparently apathetic toward history as presented to us in school for I have known lew stimulating history instructors and fewer fascinating history texts.

I cannot conclude that Nevada County is anything but equal to San Francisco in the quality of her history teachers, but I can conclude that Nevada County has the higher percentage of citizens whose minds are abnormally history oriented, and I can conclude so quite simply. People who have an abnormal fascination for history tend to seek residence in a locality warm with history, a locality with history in its very backyard, rather than in a city whose history is buried deep beneath the asphalt. Because such people are honest in their fascination, they invariably follow their star and establish themselves in such living histories as Nevada County. That a student has the privilege of learning his history in such an atmosphere as provided him by Nevada County is an advantage of Nevada County education that overwhelms anything San Francisco can offer.

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Institutions and; Sociology

I think it important that the senior student expecting to graduate know about such things as penal and mental institutions, and local, state and federal government, these things all being so pertinent to our troubled times.

Nevada Union High School is fortunate to have fine instructors in these areas. Not only do these instructors encourage absolutely free debate but they allow such debate. I recently experienced an instructor here at the university who with his first breath told his audience what a fine country they lived in, of its prevailing freedom of speech, and how it was their duty to preserve this freedom.

With his second breath this instructor told a particular student in the audience that he was out of place criticizing the United States' reaction to the Cuban situation. Only when you experience such hypocrisy can you appreciate the open mindedness of the Nevada Union faculty concerned with institutions and sociology.

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Mathematics

Man has for reasons beyond me come to rely much on counting, and so it is that we have mathematics. Though this academic subject is perhaps even more unpopular than English, it certainly finds as much use in our everyday lives.

I believe that one year of algebra and one year of geometry should be made mandatory for all students expecting to graduate from high school. Further, I think there should be two divisions made in each of these courses, the first division for the student preparing for advanced study, the second division for the general student. The first division would be more accelerated in its program than is the current curriculum, while the second division would stress only very practical, everyday type applications of algebra and geometry.

How much dirt is there in a hole six inches square by six inches deep? Well, in answering such a question, the theoretical student of the first division would tell us that there are 216 cubic inches of dirt in such a hole. The practical student of the second division would tell us that there is obviously no dirt in a hole.

I have had but three truly excellent math teachers in all my life. San Francisco is credited with one, Nevada County with one, and Sierra college with the third. The instructor credited to Nevada County is no longer in the county system. Nevada Union High School was having great trouble with its mathematics department during my three years [sic = three-year] acquaintance with the school. That Nevada Union is still having difficulties is one rumor I have heard, though I have heard with equal frequency that the department has been much improved with the addition of new blood. Let us hope this blood doesn's clot.

San Francisco schools, being larger than Nevada Union, can practically offer calculus both beginning and in some institutions advanced. The small size of the;local student body and the proportionally small percentage of students willing, ready and able to pursue calculus in high school prohibits the practical offering of calculus at Nevada Union. Future growth of the local student body and the resulting greater interest in calculus at that level may very soon warrant such a course being offered, and I think he high school planners should be aware of this. Currently interested students should, however, be able to acquire the assistance of the local faculty in such matters, and the faculty should be prepared to assist such students.

Let me say in favor of those local math teachers who are not particularly stimulating in their efforts to teach mathematics ihat there are to my knowledge no incompetent teachers at Nevada Union in any field. Let me say in support of this judgment that I know of not a single student who continuing to college from Nevada Union, failed in college because of his Nevada Union background. Those students I have watched fail so failed either because they were not willing or because they were not able to succeed in advanced study, never because they were not ready by virtue of their Nevada Union training.

Because a competent teacher may not have a stimulating personality is no excuse for a willing and able student not getting anything cut of that teachers [sic = teacher's] course. The student not willing and/or able, will get nothing out of any body's course.

I think most of us are able, which leaves only our willingness a factor. One must have willingness to succeed in anything one pursues. The establishment of such willingness is the responsibility of the parent.

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Science

The past sixty years have witnessed an accelerating technological achievement that when extrapolated into the future leaves my mind sunk in thoughts of infinite fantasy. Chemists are on the verge of making a most revolutionary discovery, the secret of the mechanism of simple life. Physicists are on the verge of harnessing the elusive energies of the universally fundamental element hydrogen. As applied-scientists, engineers are this very moment counting down the space flights preparatory to placing man on the moon. What will it be like then . . . to ponder concepts fresh from the great depths of this universe . . . of which we seem so very small a part?

Two years later, I later appropriated slightly revised versions of the first few paragraphs of this section for the lead to my first truly ambitious essay, What shall we do with Andromeda?, which was the cover story for the March 1965 issue of California Engineer, a quarterly journal published by students of the Department of Enginerring at the University of California at Berkeley.

Daily, we find ourselves forced to realize, if not experience, the miraculous achievements of medical science, whose highly sophisticated arts have contributed greatly to the potential of our living a long life. Manufacturing and distributing techniques seem near perfection, and yet with each passing year one senses the industrial evolution to have just begun. Technology has given us a way of life capable of multiplying our numbers by billions . . . capable, also, of dividing our numbers by . . . whatever great number we choose. One wonders where technology is taking us and questions that the gratifications will outweigh the griefs.

None of the splendors of science disguise the fact that our accelerating technology is the source of sociological problems the nature of which may very well prescribe our end. One questions that future generations will be capable of eluding the pit of economic and moral confusion that we today are dangerously near the lip of.

Too many educators have since Sputnik I furthered their political careers by pointing to the apparent needs of the nation and crowning science with priority in our schools. One questions that such priority is justifiable by the criteria of patriotism, of international competitionism (space) and of national survivalism (defense). It appears we have already put too many eggs in the basket, for just think of the economic bedlam this state cf California alone would witness if this nation of ours should ever succeed in practicing what it preaches to desire concerning disarmament. But such are the problems of a people who have practically defied science and automation to the point where without technology they might very well cease to exist.

Whenever in Nevada County, I spend many truly enchanting hours looking out into the universe, and though it may be rude of me I cannot help but stare awestricken at her sunsets and at the beautiful pattern [patterns] that crystallize within her darkness. I only hope our children can witness such splendor. And speaking of our children, it seems to me that we should be teaching them something we ourselves may have failed to note. We should be teaching our children that a scientist is no more important to humanity than is a garbage man, that a doctor saves the ditch diggers broken back only as the ditch digger saves the doctors back from being broken. You might think seriously about this.

I was fortunate to have experienced a special 8th grade science class in San Francisco. We had available to us equipment that Nevada County never heard of. Such a class is rare even in San Francisco, though, and so I must disregard this experience as a special case.

Nevada Union's science departments were in a small turmoil when I had contact with them. Biology, chemistry and physics were all undergoing somewhat of a frequent turnover of faculty. Nevertheless, I feel that the teaching efforts during that turmoil were not wasted. I have heard that these departments are today somewhat more stable and productive, which is good news. Sierra College is [not] only excellent in its chemistry and in its life science and earth science departments, [but] as a matter of fact [it is] superior to the equivalent departments at this University of California. The physics department at Sierra may have been strengthened with the recent addition of new blood to its faculty.

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General Business

As counting is peculiar to mankind, so is business, and practical courses in business should receive just as much attention as do courses in physics. As a matter of fact, it might not be a bad idea if a course in general economics was mandatory for male students interested in receiving a high school diploma. No head of the household escapes such things as insurance and income tax, and a familiarity with the jargon peculiar to these items would be most valuable.

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Secretarial

Perhaps it is correct that mothers of young and school-age children should not work, but the fact is that many girls have to support themselves for a period of years prior to their getting married, and further, that some women never do get married. It is also a fact that women are often forced to work in the event of their husband expiring. I therefore feel that at least one secretarial economics course should be mandatory for all girls interested in receiving a high school diploma. In this way they will be somewhat prepared to gain employment, if need be.

I believe such courses to be the same in quality wherever one might go. I know the general business and secretarial departments at NU and at Sierra to be excellent.

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Vocational

Vocational training is never to be listed the last item on the budget. As I have said somewhere before, science is not all important, and I meant this deflating remark applicable to other white shirt, white robe and self-righteous, clean-hands type professions. As a matter of fact, I think that every guy should have taken at least two shop courses as requisite;to his receiving a diploma, regardless of his high school major.

It takes a major effort on the part of the vocational training department to guarantee effective shop courses, and in this way just as in an educational way, the shop teacher assumes no less responsibility than the science teacher.

San Francisco's junior high school shops are a jillion times more elaborate and diversified than are the shops of Nevada Union Senior High. I've had four semesters of junior high school shop including wood shop, sheet metal shop, machine shop and graphics (printing). Some of the equipment we had to work with was really remarkable. But we are overlooking what Nevada County has that San Francisco can't touch.

Nevada Union again because of its small student body, simply cannot afford, for example, elaborate graphics shops and the expensive printing presses and apparatus peculiar to such shops, nor does the community have that much call for printers. Those students who do have more than a passing interest in printing will usually apprentice at a local shop.

Agriculture and forestry, on the other hand, are important locally, and indeed there is sufficient student interest to support and warrant these well-established departments at Nevada Union. I think the county can be only proud of her Future Farmer's [sic Future Farmers], of her 4-Her's [sic 4-Hers] and of the very relevant vocational curriculums offered at Nevada Union.

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Home economics

Whatever became of that old tradition which had the mothers teach their daughters how to cook, sew, make beds and dust? There is no excuse whatsoever for such abortion courses as home economics save that the modern mother is lazy. Well-balanced meals and family budgets are common sense, and common sense should come from the home. And besides, kids and their parents should do more things together than they do.

My criticism here holds nothing against the usually fine home economics teachers that one finds in the modern high school. It only seems to me that such teaching talent could be better utilized elsewhere if only mothers were willing to get to know their daughters better.

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Art and Music

As is the native language, art and music are forms of expression and succeed as such if and only if the artist [or] musician is stimulated emotionally. Just as it is a mistake to think that one can have language without structure, so is it a mistake to think that one can have art or music without structure.

Regarding modern art, especially the much criticized abstract variety, I have this to say. Each to his own. But to consider what some Kool Kat created by dipping red worms in colored oils and allowing them to spasmodically exhaust their lives on nis canvas Fine Art as compared with what other men spend many skillful hours on in an attempt to render their canvas a true protrayal [sic = portrayal] of what really is out there in the world seems to me a great misjudgment.

Regarding music, especially of the much criticised teenage variety, I have this to say. Again, each to his own. I listen to it whenever I feel like I'd like to be sick. To consider such music great compared to such classics as Tchaikovsky's and Rachmaninoff's piano concertos is the greatest misjudgment.

If parents could break away from the habit of giving their children these tiny and expensive snap together plastic models, and give to them instead large and inexpensive and skill-developing stick models, I think kids would be different today than they are. A higher percentage of modern people are becoming but art and music spectators. This lack of active participation, of being able to do nothing more than twist the knob of an idiot box, frightens me.

Such courses as art and music have a definite place in the school curriculum. Even the so-called juvenile delinquent gets some sort of a lift singing in the chorus. He also thrills at carving things up. Like sculpture.

A school wouldn't be a school without its chorus and its band. And don't forget the art department which makes posters and other neat things. I feel Nevada County schools A-OK regarding both art and music.

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Men's Physical Education

There are some who feel that athletics do not play much of a role in the education of a young man. I disagree. I maintain that until a guy has run a few plays with the fellows and stood under a snow cold shower afterwards, shot the bull with the fellows and had a few towel fights with them, that a guy could by no stretching of the meaning of the word education be considered educated.

I also maintain that abnormally fancy uniforms and spectator stands are fine so long as the school and the community have no other outstanding obligations and so long as the taxpayer is willing. Often though such luxuries are justified by the athletic department as necessary morale boosters for the team. Such a justification would to me seem only indicative of the failure on the part of the athletic department to make it clear to the eyes of the tackle and end that the virture of their positions on the team is not one of student glory helmet model nor one of personal problem persecution complex outlet, but rather one as members of the local team playing the opposition in an honest contest of football.

I do not believe that interscholastic athletics at NU are over-emphasized. As they stand, I feel they stand just about right. Regarding the intermural programs and the gym class techniques at both the junior high and high school, these could stand some beefing up. Nevada County kids are getting almost as skinny as city kids, and this is dangerous.

More rigorous exercise should be forced onto the student. The student should not despise such exercise but should look forward to it with enthusiasm couopled with the understanding that it is only best of his vigor.

It would be euqally nice if power lawn-mowers and electric hedge trimmers were never invented. There is no continuing physical feeling greater than that of always being healthy, in shape and rarin' to go. Sierra College offers the twist.

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Women's Physical [Education]

The girlies you know like to show off their sex just as guys like to show off theirs. The girls gym classes might as well consist of primping booths for all the good they do gymnastically. At least this way the dainty things would keep their hair set in all types of weather. And they wouldn't have to go through those painful moments of stripping down. Anyway, I am not much for bulging muscles on women, though I do believe women should make a personal effort to keep fit and trim without resorting to crash diets.

In any case, I don't feel rope climbing is necessary. Perhaps courses in how to keep from smoking and how to walk without looking stuck-up and how to smile sincerely might be of some good. And the fellows could stand a little of this too, though here again in such matters it is more the function of the home to educate the child. But alas, if the home fails, what are we to do?

I believe that teachers are allowed to sufficient disciplinary means by which they can maintain absolute control over their classes. I have heard teachers complain that they have no such control, that their disciplinary efforts are constrained by state codes of teacher ethics and such, but I have been successfully-kicked out of too many classes to permit me to swallow this excuse. More often than not, the teacher is afraid that his disciplinary action will be frowned upon by the students' parents who will make such a scene that the smiling principal, often a politician rather than an educator, will yield to the parents rather than protect the rights of his faculty.

Fortunately for me, Nevada County principals support their faculties: I am also fortunate to have had parents who knew the virtues of proper teacher-initiated discipline.

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Teacher Obligations

Let me keep this one short. The teacher is obliged to stimulate learning and understanding. The manner in which such stimulation is attained is up to the individual teacher.

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Teacher Salaries

And what about teacher salaries? What of the desire of some citizens to have available the money with which they could offer to the supposedly good teachers higher salaries as incentives to stay in the community?

If such a bribe were solicited and if such a teacher remained in the local system because of such a bribe, then I would conclude that that teacher remained not because of his love for teaching nor for his love of the country in which the community was established, but rather for his love of money.

To those teachers who lay their contracts on the fence as levers for higher salaries I say this. Go. Go teach wherever else you can get such salaries, for I don't want he or she who is interested firstly in money, secondly in community, and thirdly in education, to teach my children. The order of interest priority must be, in fact, reversed if he or she is to teach my children.

I grant you that there are a few teachers who are forced to seek higher salaries for the simple reason that they have a few dozen kids. Such motivations are rare, however, and most demands for higher salaries are in the pursuit of greater material ownership.

What is it that gives so many teachers the conviction that they deserve salaries amounting to any more than one thousand dollars above the California mean? Many a teacher has tried to justify this demand for a higher salary by waving his onion skin in the face of the taxpayer. "Look at this diploma," he says.

Well, college diplomas are a dime a dozen if not cheaper today. But the college graduate capable of good teaching is rare. Knowing this, the taxpayer asks the teacher, "Are you a good teacher? A devoted teacher?"

"Yes," replies the teacher.

"Why, then, do you feel you need three cars and a cruiser?"

I have heard more than one teacher comment on the fact that with tenure and such available, that teachers have a real racket going for them. You might think seriously about this.

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Examinations, Grades and Diplomas

Diplomas come cheap. If they are not mimeographed, then they are hectographed. They are signed with a rubber stamp in any case. Diplomas mean only one thing, that so and so Joseph P. Stud put up with a lot of Bee eS for quite a number of years. Grades are a bit more important than diplomas, for they are a good indication as to how well the student liked the course.

The best examination is to be given the student after he graduates, while out in life and on the job. If a fellow can do the work required of him, fine. If he cannot, well, that is the way it goes. You would be surprised how many academically excellent students fail miserably at the practical level. This is precisely why so often grades and diplomas fail to indicate the truth of the matter, and why such awards should not be the final criteria for an employers (sic = employer's) judgement of a prospective employee. It is practibility that counts.

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Homework

Homework should be assigned at regular intervals and should be graded and returned to the student in a manner helpful to the students (sic = student's) developing significant interest in the course. Homework should be indicative of the student's attitude towards the course. As such, the student's attitude is often reflected in the neatness of his work, and a continual improvement or not reflected in the content of his work.

Such students as those who fail to respond to a particular course should be allowed to drop the course if such resignation is their wish. If it is not their wish, then the reason for their apathy should be sought and some sort or action taken.

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Text Books

At the high school and sub high school levels, text books are chosen by the school from an official listing published by the State Department of Education. Most of the text books are designed and printed especially for the state, and it is not surprising that many of these books are poor both in content and format.

Neither is it surprising to find many an American history book inaccurate in its portrayal of American history, a text of patriotic indoctrination rather than a text of truth, rendering all American revolutionists as the good guys and all Britishers and Loyalists as the bad guys, just as television finds it convenient to make the popular but unjustifiable distinction between wagon trains and Indians.

The college instructor has complete freedom in the choice of the text he is to use, for his choice is constrained in no way whatsoever by any list stamped official, in other words stamped censored. The professor may in fact require no book at all, and will often issue his notes mimeographed in the form of a syllabus. Many of these syllabuses are in time developed and published as text books. College books are normal books in that they are not published by action of state granted contracts.

The high school and sub high school levels are further hampered by the fact that their students do not buy their own books as do college students, but instead borrow them from the school. These school owned text books are used until their covers have been beaten off or until the binding glue has been soaked away by high octane scotch.

The situation in which the student buys his own books is perhaps not as desirable or practical at high school or sub high school levels as would be the situation in which the instructor would be able to have complete freedom in choosing his text. The students could certainly help out in any case by suggesting to the instructor what the current text book lacks in the way of stimulation, clearness, conciseness and completeness, for the student best knows whether or not a book was successful in these ways, they having been subjected to it. The best book of course is like the judgment in such matters.

In any event, teachers should not be restricted to state chosen texts. One can choose better books from the local paperback rack, and these just as well as the low quality state texts could be used for several days. The state has been known to keep certain books off its lists for political, religious and other reasons, and while to some this censorship may seem for the good, I maintain that the teacher, after all, is supposedly an educated person, and should be allowed to exercise his own judgement in such matters.

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Administration

Proper administration of an education plant is not a light duty. Political pressures from the community as well as inter-faculty conflicts must be contended with. It takes an unusually well tempered individual to handle such pressures and conflicts in a way so as not to disturb the efficiency of his plant which, of course, is his first consideration. I believe Nevada Union and Sierra College both to have such well-tempered administrators.

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Counseling

It is unfortunate that parents are unable to develop in their children interests along certain lines at an early age. It is unfortunate that a fellow should have to be told what he is most interested in by virtue of a psychological examination, that he is most interested and most capable of succeeding in professional boxing. So far as counselors go, I think those at Nevada Union are just dandy.

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Buildings and Grounds

Nevada Union High School and Sierra College have both since my contact with them occupied new campuses. Of delicate esthetics, these new campuses are truly edifaces (sic = edifices) to modern educational philosophy. They house the very latest in scientific sewage plants, air conditioning plants and diploma bestowing plants. But it is all too often felt that such modern structures can by themselves stimulate and satisfy the inquiries of adolescent and young-adult minds, as if such minds were the proper subjects of architectual psychology.

Prettily colored plastic walls, aluminum window frames, tile lined lavatories and manicured football fields do not make the quality in quality education. It is that which stands behind the podium and even more so that which governs the home, that make for quality education.

If the bulkheads of the school house were but bare boards, if the portholes of no glass at all, if the heads were outhouses and the rumpus spaces cow pastures, there should be no difference because of these conditions in the quality of the education received. As a matter of fact, the quality of the education received under such commonly thought "it ain't modern, it ain't good" conditions might even be expected to exceed the quality of the education received under glass a la mode. There is nothing sacred about modernity except, perhaps, that it is terribly expensive.

The gain made towards the realization of quality education by chrome plating the flag standards differs little from the nutritional gain made in adding a bit of scrawny parsley to a heap of mashed potatoes. A bit gaudier, yes, but what significant energy does the body derive from that bit of parsley? Better to wave your flag on a fresh Nevada County sapling than to have it snap in the wind over a school of aristocratic student dynasties and comic book havens. And not I'm knocking comic books, for it it weren't for the puss-thirsty characters of the modern funny book, I'd never get a haircut.

It is not so much these new campuses that bother me (as a matter of fact they will be acceptably nice after they have been landscaped) as do the attitudes of the many citizens who maintain that if higher quality education is to be had in Nevada County that the citizens (I) are gonna have to cough up some money some way or another; (II) are gonna have to jack up teacher salaries to keep the good ones in the county and (III) are gonna have get off their horses, off their buggies and step smartly into 1963.

And what about the citizen? What are his rights and obligations?

His obligations are to keep in touch with what goes on locally and globally and to criticize or praise these daily events which ever the case may be.

His rights are to do as he chooses so long as he respects the rights and properties of others. His rights are what he loses if he for long fails in his obligations.

The citizen must remember that before a high school program can be effective that the elementary school program must be effective. If the parent does (Continued on Page 5) [More Wetherall] (Continued from Page Four) not care, what possible initiative can we expect the student to exercise?

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The Student

Unfortunately, modern high schools are melting pots for Ding Dong School graduates. Unfortunately, few students today are really interested in learning and understanding. The majority of students are academically apathetic, and this attitude is more responsible than anything else for the failure of the modern education plant to operate at maximum efficiency. Such apathy is more often than not a direct indication of lack of proper interest of the parents in their childrens (sic = children's) interests or lack of proper discipline the home, of the child not having been properly oriented. The fate of education will always remain the joy-stick of the parent.

Many students complain that particular teachers are prejudiced in their efforts to assign grades. Well it is human to have prejudices, and it is even more human not to always control such prejudices. The student must learn to live with the so-biased judgments of others as others must learn to live with his.

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Nevada County [1]

When one encounters the term education, one usually thinks of such things as schools, classrooms, blackboards, chalk, desks, students, podiums and teachers. Few are those who think of ones (sic = one's) experiences in everyday life as being the first and the greatest education.

I conclude that, Nevada County schools in themselves are no less than equal in quality to the schools of the large metropolis. Where I conclude that Nevada County education is superior to Bay Area education is in my distinction between school education and the education of life.

It is my conclusive opinion that too many local citizens fail to pass honest judgment upon Nevada County education by failing to recognize the greatest education that Nevada County has to offer a young man or woman. Something San Francisco cannot touch. The Nevada County way of life. Slow, freindly (sic = friendly) and conscientious.

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Culture

I guess that most people think of culture as something having to do with literature, art and music. Intellectualism. Things that supposedly show taste. Well let me point out something about Nevada County literature, art and music. For every writer and artist in Sausalito there is a writer and artist in Nevada City. And for every opera house in San Francisco there are one million birds and crickets and one trillion stars in Nevada County.

You see there is another culture, a culture that is not derived from formal education. It is by a great measure the most important culture to a man, for it renders a man a man and a tree a tree and makes no big deal of highfalutin words and cigarette holders. It is what Nevada Countyans see when they look out their window. It is in the air they breathe. It is a culture so sweet of the important things in a man's life so as to render academic culture not particularly significant to Nevada Countyans. And yet in so far as academic culture must go, there is more literature, art and music per Nevada Countyan than there is per city slicker and if you have ever lived in the city, and I don't, mean that small, rich, highbrow portion of the city where culture is nauseatingly thick . . . I mean in all of the city . . . you could not help but conclude what I am here concluding.

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San Francisco

What is more like a woman than the open sea . . . the second moment so violent bent when the first so lovely?

The ocean is fascinating whether its open seas be stormy or smooth. I suppose this is because of the very strange feeling one experiences when one can see only dark green water on his horizons, when one can see the curvature of the earth circle about him and foamy white, turbulance (sic = turbulence) breaking across his pitching bow or long, glassy swells, rising and falling, rolling aftward to infinity . . . .

If ever sailing eastward [from the west] on the Pacific's 38th parallel, you would eventually come to the Farallons. If you should then stand forward and into the wind you would see the Bay Area in its most esthetic perspective. To your port north you would see Muir Woods begin the long chain of redwood forests that continue up the coast till Oregon. To your starboard south you would see the Cliff House and Seal Rock begin the cypress and coastal splendor that extends that way till Baja California runs out into the sea.

Magnificently bridging your north to your south would be the Golden Gate. While passing through the gate you would steam by Point Bonita, Point Lobos, Fort Barry, Fort Baker and Fort Winifield Scott. But all the while your eyes would never leave the graceful red-led (sic = red-lead) steel that spans the gate.

While passing beneath the gate, you would turn your eyes overhead and watch it sway in the breeze. You would turn your eyes after it and watch it straddle your wake. Your wake is an arrow from your heart, tumbling backward to a crimson star.

You would pass Cavallo Point and Sausalito, the Presidio, Fort Mason, Angel Island and Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, and Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. As you check your watch on the Ferry Building tower, you would pass under the Bay Bridge. You would sail the last leg of your journey, a distance farther midstream and a sharp right rudder into Hunters Point. Docked and your feet once again on solid earth, you would feel like a Greek god returning to Crete.

You get on and off the third street bus and stroll along Market Street. The wind still stirs the air and the pigeons are everywhere. Squalid men read sidewalk pornography and scavenge with the squalling gulls. You take a turn up Grant Street. Pretty Oriental women lend their charm to China Town as do scabby beatniks theirs to North Beach.

All of this seems fascinating to you, a sailor never having seen San Francisco before . . . you pull your White Hat down over your eyes and look for the nearest bar.

To have first been fascinated by San Francisco, and to have then discovered Nevada County is to render that Bay Area estheticness a different smile. That smooth and emerald sea, purring in your ear, its warm spray against your face, becomes a peninsula of real estate jungle.

I grant you that this Bay Area is indeed just as humanly fascinating as the pine tree country miles inland, but would you want to raise your children here? Would you like to retire here?

Unless you've got more money than most people have, your backyard is a six foot fence about a ten foot square patch of top soil. Complex speedways mingle interlaced with your front door.

Out of your Eastern Frame you can never see the First Twilight. There for your morning splendor is a smog stained terrain of materialistic dung. And out of your Western Pane can you ever see a beautiful sunset? No, for it long ago succumbed to a googol of corroded antennas, bending and blending into the minds of the men below them.

City people never hear crickets sing and never see the Milky Way. City people never have to walk a country mile to see their nearest neighbors, either. Neighbors one and all can swap the latest gossip while one shaves, the other shampoos, and the third, fourth, fifth and sixth shower. Because city people do not have to walk a country mile, they are like string beans in a can. They are skinny, stringy, green and wet behind the pods.

There are no more sand dunes in that Golden Gate city at which kids can fly their kites wireless, at which dogs and rabbits can run free. All that would seem meaningful has been uprooted. All that runs free is asphalt, grease and blood.

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Nevada County Industry

Will all those who don't want smoke stacks on their horizon raise their hand? Don't you think it worth driving to Aerojet just to keep Nevada County's skyline clean? You bet it is.

If a certain industry or speedway can exist in Nevada County without taking down any trees, destroying any historical buildings or polluting our air and our streams, fine. All others we must resist as a woman resisting scars to her face. If we should succumb to such industry we might as well live in the Bay Area. We must tolerate and support Nevada County's inertia to great industries and speedways in the interest of preserving our Nevada County way of life.

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Nevada County [2]

Approaching Nevada County from the Bay Area, from the sulpher (sic = sulphur) tidelands of the East Bay to the onions of Vacaville, from the grey mud of the Sacramento River to the mustard flatness of the valley and its plain of plasterboard homes, one senses that something somewhere on Earth must be finer.

Indeed, just as one makes the turn at Auburn in the direction of the Grass Valley - Nevada City sign, that feeling is amplified. A few moments later, as one passes over the Bear River Bridge, that feeling is justified -- by the scent of pine and skunk as only fresh air can bear witness to.

Now one is face to face with a country that renders one a man, a country whose First and Second Twilights become part of a man's hear.

It makes me feel good to awaken during her First Twilight and find just outside my Eastern Window a wilderness just sweetened by a summer shower; Dust then never lingers dull on her boughs, since while I slept there came a sprinkle that swept and swallowed and stilled; From their darks of the night, to their greens of the day, her pines lean clean in her cool but always pleasant breeze. While her captured rain dissolves into mist, her smile sparkles with tears of fresh happiness. And when the shadows of her woods grow rainbows, I know at least how her night has passed, leaving for me another beautiful day . . . .

Only, through my Western Window can l view the Second Twilight, vivid when our special star silently glides across Nevada County's final sky and begins slowly to slide into her scarlet earthen berth; Ripples on her lakes rise and fall to me and spread clear pure melted snow o'er her north-south silica shores; Exhausted, wavelets sly slip back to their deep and splendid cradles but to find their bending horizons there bleeding into a diffuse glow of a googol of galaxies. And her soft starlight, as it blankets me with the depthless hues and the silhouettes of its black dew and diamond space, it whispers, yes, that once again the time has come whenst I might close mine eyes and dream in her endless sleep . . .

I was fourteen and attending San Francisco A. P. Giannini Junior High School when I learned of my father's intentions to move the family to Nevada City or Grass Valley. We had moved several times before but had always remained within the city, south of Golden Gate Park, and I immediately asked my father three questions (I) where were these places (II) why did he wish to move there and (III) would I like living there?

Firstly, he told me that Nevada City and Grass Valley were twin cities, four miles separated in the Foothills of the Western Sierras, that they were both over one hundred years old and the heart of Nevada County, the heart of California's colorful history. Secondly, he told me that he wished to go into partnership with a certain Nevada Citian. Thirdly he told I me yes, that I would like living there.

I imagined two narrow and dusty trails, four miles separated, each of bare earth and wagon tracks, each bounded by board walks, saloons and general stores, one town surrounded by pine forests, the other nestled in a valley of grass. Ah, yes, a city slicker's fancy.

And so it was on my father's good judgment that Saturday, May 7th 1955, found me acquainting myself with the woods behind our Grass Valley home and listening to the rhythmic blasting of the Empire Star Gold Mine. Now this was truely (sic = truly) God's country. And my father was right. I liked it.

BILL WETHERALL
202 Silver Way
Grass Valley, California

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