The 1980’s vs. Today

Aeryn Hart, Staff Writer

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High school in 2019; A land made of off-brand airpods, “ask me a question” polls on Instagram, and Sunday night Netflix binges. But recently, there has been a huge resurgence of 1980’s trends (i.e. “mom jeans”, fanny packs, etc.), it seems only fitting to compare the actual 1980s high school experience with modern high school life. I think school now, even with some cons, is better than it has ever been, and it’s all thanks to the use of technology and reformed school standards.

The entire school system has been drastically upended and re-vamped over the past two decades, from the release of A Nation at Risk, a report of education reform released by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, to Common Core standards set forth in 2010, among others. But 20 years is a long time, and the big question here is if the high school in the 1980s was better than the modern high school experience. And I’d say no.

According to a fellow SJHS student who thinks school is better nowadays, modern technology has had a huge, positive impact on the quality of education. “School is better now because we have our computers so we can turn our assignments in through Its Learning or Google Docs, which is a lot more efficient,” said Lucy Rappette, 10. And I’d agree with Lucy; 1:1 computing and other such courtesies the school provides for us students helps with efficiency and organization, which lightens the teacher’s loads as well.

But there are definitely drawbacks to technology usage on a daily basis in the classroom, such as lessened school spirit and community involvement, as SJHS student Madison Gibson, 10, pointed out. “Before, [in the 1980s] you had so much time on your hands and because of that [tech-free] social environment, there was just an energy about it that got everyone motivated … now, morale is sinking lower and lower,” said Gibson. I would argue that technology has made us even more connected than ever, but I don’t think SJHS could rival the school spirit in Grease (which came out in 1978, I know, but it’s a good example anyhow).

Chemistry teacher here at SJHS, Jeff Luckritz has his own 80s high school perspective to add. “Today, kids never “get away” from each other due to social media. Comparison is the thief of all joy… Other than that, we still have the same social groups and same problems in high school today as we had in the 80’s,” said Luckritz. Social media has definitely influenced the way students interact with each other–we don’t use landlines or AOL anymore. But high school provides the perfect stages for social interaction: sports games, school dances, and the mandatory half-hour lunch period full of interesting conversations.

The 1980s may have got us beat on school spirit or the creation the best jean style ever invented, but I’ll take fake airpods and overly-stickered laptops over making ashtrays in art class any day.