My son goes to a public school, what I'm seeing is that respect is being more demanded from teachers and the administration than it was when I attended the same elementary school 25 years ago. There is a stronger report between teachers and parents than when I attended and teachers are likely to contact parents with regard to violations of the school's mission statement, of which respect is one of the key elements.
I do know with regard to bullying and treating other students with disrespect, we got away with far more when I was in elementary school than today's kids do. At least here in my local school district.
So I guess it just depends on the school in particular, and not the system of public education in general.
People also have a tendency to romanticize the "good ol' days." In reality I don't think such a thing ever existed.
Is it possible that high school drop out rates have not increased as much recently as it is that we now keep better records than we did 60+ years ago?
Is it possible that in the 60s and 70s that children harbored equal disrespect for authority but were merely less likely to show it outwardly for fear of punishment, and if true, does that really constitute respect?
Is it possible that some people's views of the differences between how our youth acted when we were young vs. how we perceive today's youth (including my own view) is skewed by our own personal experiences, who we were friends with personally, and geographically - where we were born and raised?
These are the types of questions we need to ask ourselves when we try to compare today with the "good ol' days."
What did our grandparents think about the respect or disrespect shown by our parents generation? Or great-grandparents, etc.
I think that the generation gap simply causes most of us to look at the current 'next generation' and see them as being more disrespectful, less responsible and more poorly educated than we view ourselves as having been when we were the same age. It is easy for us to pick out the segment of the next generation we view as being brought up improperly according to our own standards and vilify them while ignoring others who by all standards are growing up well, and in doing so we incorrectly evaluate what is average for this next generation.
I was a punk kid that probably brought my generation's average down a notch, but I grew up and learned from my mistakes and even though I know better I'm still a bit leery of some of the "wiggers" and hoodlums walking around with their pants around their knees, listening to rap music disrespecting authority.
I'm sure I'll be thoroughly shocked and a bit disappointed in my own predictions, when, instead of spending their adult lives behind bars or on in welfare projects, a considerable portion of them outgrow their youthful indiscretions and become regular folks with mortgage payments and full-time jobs and kids and such.
I know that I find myself a bit shocked and out of sorts when I see some of the "kids" that I went to school with whom I considered to be more disrespectful and less well behaved than I was, kids that I fully expected would end up in Deer Lodge (as we say here in Montana, Deer Lodge being the city where our state prison is located), doing better than I am with respect to owning homes, cars, being married and settled down with good jobs, all cleaned up and part of civil society. I'm talking about going to job interviews and being interviewed by people that were bullies when I was in school, always getting in trouble with the law, with their parents, with school authorities for shoplifting, fighting, doing drugs, etc. Or seeing names of some of these punks on plaques on the doors of local restaurants and businesses under the words "General Manager:"
It is kind of humbling, aggravating and inspiring/hopeful at the same time.
Maybe I should have thrown caution to the wind and acted even more like a punk teenager than I already was