The most important historical events of your lifetime

by MooshiMooshi

What are the most important historical events of your lifetime?

Time magazine published this poll in which people ranked the most significant historical events in their lifetimes. Not surprisingly, 9/11 came out on top. But it is more interesting when the rankings are broken out by generation. The Silent Generation has a very different list from the Millennials. For the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers, wars and civil rights dominate. For Generation X and Millennials, we see Obama’s election, mass shootings, and bombings. Generation X saw the end of the cold war as very important, but it doesn’t even appear on the list for Millennials. Only Millennials list the most recent recession. Perhaps everyone else has lived through multiple recessions and just saw this as one more?

The list that is closest to my personal list would definitely be the Generation X one. I would probably replace the Challenger disaster with Sandy Hook (which does appear on the Millennial list) because that was so huge for me, whereas I wasn’t realy following Challenger. How about you? Do your picks for important moments in recent history match up with your official generation? Are there other events you think are important that were unnoticed?

Americans Rank These 10 Historic Events as Most Important in Their Lifetimes

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188 thoughts on “The most important historical events of your lifetime

  1. I think there’s a flexible definition for the criteria “most important,” and in my opinion, people are conflating most historically significant — which is how I would define it — with most memorably newsworthy.

    I would agree with 9/11 for my lifetime, but if I were in the Silent Generation, WWII would definitely supersede it, although the old folks ranked it second behind 9/11. I’m also surprised that “Obama election” makes the list for all four age groups. Why? He’s a good guy, sure, but why specifically him? There’s a huge recency bias at play here.

  2. The Generation X list is probably most accurate for me. I remember the Challenger as important because we were watching it in elementary school. I barely remember Columbine because I was in college and was just not paying attention to current events. I’m surprised Sandy Hook isn’t on the Generation X list because a lot of us had elementary school age kids at the time. September 11th was the biggest and I was living outside of D.C. then so I remember how scary that day was. These events aren’t historical, but I really remember the DC sniper and Chandra Levy stories because I was living outside of D.C. at the time.

  3. My personal list in a combo of Boomers and Gen X, likely because my age puts me on the edge of those two generations. Though I think some of the events are more historic than others because of where you live or you know people there. The moon landing was huge because I lived in Houston and my dad worked at NASA at the time. The vietnam war was big because my dad almost went as a contractor and the gulf war was huge because my parents were living in that part of the world at that time.

    I think other things are historic, but they aren’t as defined by one event or short time period. The availability of vaccines to significantly reduce disease that was common 50 years ago comes to mind.

  4. I’m surprised that the financial crisis rates so low. Then again, it wasn’t as photogenic as 9/11 and occurred over weeks and months vs. all on one day.

  5. “There’s a huge recency bias at play here.”

    I would agree. I don’t think of his election as momentous necessarily and I crossed party lines to vote for him twice.

  6. For me personally, the day Lehman filed bankruptcy was a day that I recall very vividly. We had been watching for the coming financial crisis and that event felt like the day the dam really started to crack.

  7. Lehman going down was huge for me. I knew people who worked there, and I had interviewed there just a year earlier. But most importantly, I knew a lot of the innards of what was happening because of my DH’s position. People who are high up in the tech foodchain at a financial company tend to know everything. It was scary, scary, scary. But I think that list is accurate in reflecting what people think now. Most people seem to have completely erased the financial crisis from their minds.

  8. “Most people seem to have completely erased the financial crisis from their minds.”

    All’s well that ends well.

    Unlike a world war, or something like 9/11, nobody died, and nothing really changed afterward.

  9. Mooshi – we were watching the bubble go up and up and the credit quality go down with financial innovation products just getting more aggressive. I still can’t believe people didn’t go to jail. At a minimum there should have been securities fraud for the AAA-rated CDO’s comprised entirely of junk bond positions. While I think the newer regulations for banks and required capital unfairly restrain bank’s ability to do business, I am extremely concerned about the guys Trump has appointed and the possibility of removing good regulations that would restrain another bubble.

  10. “I think there’s a flexible definition for the criteria “most important,” and in my opinion, people are conflating most historically significant — which is how I would define it — with most memorably newsworthy.”

    My brain started to hurt when I tried to think of the events that truly had the most impact on our country, which is how the question was worded. Kennedy’s assassination, Viet Nam, and civil rights would all seem to be related and were also very memorable to me, a Baby Boomer. The tech revolution and 9/11 are also contenders in both regards. Also, the end of the cold war.

  11. He’s a good guy, sure, but why specifically him?

    People like you used to be able to own people like him.

  12. Did JFK’s assassination really matter in terms of the course of history? You said “impact on our country,” but that’s still vague. What did it specifically change? I know in hindsight, people will say that it “marked” the end of some sort of Innocent 50’s era and was a precursor to the tumultuous 60s and Vietnam and blah blah blah, but that seems like more a matter of coincidence.

    I would think that Watergate had more of an impact, specifcically in terms of changing the standards of the game for how the press and the public interact with politicians.

  13. “People like you used to be able to own people like him.”

    Sure, 150 years ago. If any of us were alive during the Civil War, that would definitely top the list.

  14. As a baby boomer the Cuban Missile Crisis was huge iand the frightening reality of nuclear war has stayed in my mind and I still have nightmares about the possibility. Also the Savings and Loan Crisis of the late eighties-early nineties as it adversely impacted my financial life..

  15. “Did JFK’s assassination really matter in terms of the course of history? ”

    We will never know for sure, but there’s speculation that Vietnam and civil rights would have followed different paths if LBJ would not have taken over the presidency when he did.

  16. coc – for the better or the worse? I confess to not being a history buff and having had a very poor education in American history.

  17. To me, JFK seems like a bit of a footnote, but to DH’s older sisters, who are all baby boomers, the assassination was HUGE. I think it was just the idea that violence like that could hit the US. I also do not think it would have changed civil rights. By the time JFK was killed, the public mood had already swung to horror at Jim Crow. From what I have read, even JFK had pretty much given up on the Southern states. He had started out thinking they could see reason, but eventually he decided that wasn’t going to work.

    I agree that Watergate was more important for the country’s course. I think we are still reaping the effects of Nixon’s massive dishonesty and trickiness.

  18. Old Mom and I are probably around the same age, but I have no recollection of the Cuban Missile Crisis yet vivid memories of the JFK assasination.

    From what I’ve read, JFK might never have escalated in Vietnam and LBJ’s leadership was integral in passing civil rights legislation.

  19. The very first thing that crossed my mind was the fall of the Berlin Wall. To me, that is absolutely one of the most historically significant events of my lifetime. Really, it was the end of the Cold War, but the Berlin Wall stands out as the defining moment of that time period. I am a Gen Xer, so that makes sense. Of course Millenials don’t mention that – they were babies or it wasn’t in their lifetime at all.

    9/11 obviously too, but it wasn’t the first thing I thought of for some reason.

    Of course it is a HUGE deal that Obama is the first non-white male to be President, but I’m not sure if that’s really changed anything in a lasting way. So I wouldn’t put it up there with the Berlin wall or 9/11.

    The OJ trial is huge in my memory especially because it drug out so long, but I wouldn’t call it historically significant. More significant would probably be the Rodney King trial, controversy and riots in LA around the same time period.

    Columbine is really not on my radar. I was out of school, and I actually lived overseas at the time, so I have almost no memory of it. The Challenger is a very strong and clear memory for me as I was in grade school and watching it on TV, but historically significant? Eh, that’s a stretch.

  20. Like anything else, where you live matters. In some places I have lived you hear things like “Race/ethnicity wants to live together, that is why they all live in XYZ neighborhood.” or “Their kids all get a free public education, race/ethnicty has so many drop outs because they clearly aren’t as smart.” To see Obama elected to meant that people could see past his race/ethnicity. I think it was a big deal to many who thought that civil rights moves too slowly. While it is often technically illegal to discriminate, it often occurs anyway, just behind the scenes.

  21. It’s naive to think that nothing has changed as a result of the financial crisis. The firms that existed less than ten years ago evaporated, or merged into other banks.

    For many people in this industry, their compensation has not returned to pre 2005 levels. Finally, the regulations have made significant changes in how banks and investment banks conduct business. There are far fewer bankers, and many more compliance officers and risk managers. There are people that have never been able to return to jobs in that industry.

    I’m still involved in a lawsuit that involves a security, and several colleagues are too. So, it might look the same from the outside, but these firms are much leaner and more regulated.

    As for my list, I’m in the Gen X camp.
    I’m experiencing a historical moment right now because I’m typing this while riding the new second avenue subway. It’s been talked about for my entire life and they finally opened a few stops this week.

  22. “When your parents were kids Jim Crow was still a thing.”

    And when I was a kid, Colin Powell was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff running the Persian Gulf War, and Ben Carson was a world-renowned neurosurgeon. A black President was completely predictable and inevitable for decades. It’s just that we only elect them every four years, and more often than not, only replace them every eight. Then weigh the fact that African Americans are only about 13% of the total population, and Obama’s election in 2008 becomes entirely unremarkable.

  23. The Silent Generation went from those who were born at the very end of WWII to those who were getting to college age by the end of WWII. So WWII wouldn’t be within memory for all of them. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the survey sample was heavier on the born-in-’45 than the born-in-’25 part of the generation . . .

  24. It’s naive to think that nothing has changed as a result of the financial crisis. The firms that existed less than ten years ago evaporated, or merged into other banks.

    So have Circuit City and Montgomery Ward. Who cares?

    For many people in this industry, their compensation has not returned to pre 2005 levels. Finally, the regulations have made significant changes in how banks and investment banks conduct business. There are far fewer bankers, and many more compliance officers and risk managers. There are people that have never been able to return to jobs in that industry.

    This is not nationally significant.

  25. I would say 9/11 first, The Great Recession second, a big lifestyle changer were all the tech changes in the 90s onward.
    The election of President Obama was significant but maybe his Presidential terms aren’t noteworthy.

  26. The 2nd part of the question is also open to “change that impacted the nation” – so it doesn’t have to have historical significance. Plus, how can you quantify historical significance when you ask Millennials or Gen Xers about events? Many of these events are still too “young” to have really had their impact tested (i.e. Obama’s presidency).

    Re: JFK’s assassination. While not the first assassination in the 20th century, it was the first to be televised. We can speculate all we want on how the 60s would have turned out if JFK had lived, but seeing the footage over and over again ingrains it in the mind. Let’s not forget that – media changed between the silent generation and the Boomers – we now had TVs in every home. And now we have 24/7 news cycle. So, it doesn’t matter what is truly important in terms of how the Nation or world moves forward because of an event, it only matters if we remember it.

    This conversation is very reminiscent of the TV show Timeless – which I hope they bring back… it’s very good.

  27. I think people who were born right at the end of WWII are baby boomers. There is also a weird in between group there. My parents were neither baby boomers nor, silent geneation, but they had far more in common with baby boomers. They were 2 years older than John Lennon, who I also would not peg as a member of the silent generation, even though he was born at the beginning of WWII.

  28. This is not nationally significant.

    So your disagree with the Republican leadership that Dodd Frank is responsible for tepid economic growth?

  29. “it was the first to be televised”

    not exactly. the Zapruder film wasn’t shown to the public for years, maybe even a decade or more.

  30. “So your disagree with the Republican leadership that Dodd Frank is responsible for tepid economic growth?”

    yeah, probably. but I’d need to learn more about the specifics.

  31. So Milo, you don’t buy into the Republican assertion that the economy got much worse after 2008? You seem to be saying that the economy has been pretty much the same pre and post 2008. Which I actually agree with, because I think the problems in the economy are deep seated and go back to the 70’s (just watch a 70’s flick like SlapShot, all about a dying rust belt town)

  32. Milo – I think you belittle the effect of the recession. While there weren’t bread lines, lots of families were significantly affected by the fallout from the bursting of the housing bubble and a decade of underemployment that followed. I frankly make more money in a downturn but I can’t pretend that is a universal norm. To pretend it had no lasting effect would mean that it would be no big deal if it happened again. Or perhaps you are trying to minimize the sh!t show that Obama had to deal with when he took office.

  33. @Rhett – I am 100% with you BTW. In my grade school years, we had the big red enemy, duck & cover drills, the constant threat of being decimated by a nuke (real or imagined), the Iron Curtain, a divided Germany…..and then – not. It’s really amazing. That’s why it was the first thing that I thought of and not 9/11 which seems like in some ways it had a less stark “before and after” in my mind.

  34. you don’t buy into the Republican assertion that the economy got much worse after 2008?”

    No, not at all. Unemployment was never all that high, and now as Obama is getting ready to leave office, it’s so low we’re practically at full employment. The stock market and corporate earnings have been chugging along nicely.

    lots of families were significantly affected by the fallout from the bursting of the housing bubble and a decade of underemployment that followed

    I’d agree that the volatility in real estate prices was significant (and of course magnified by the fact that it’s so leveraged), and for that reason, I could agree with it being one of the top-10 events for my generation. I wasn’t opposed to it being included, I was just responding to Rhett’s surprise that other generations did NOT list it.

    I’m not convinced about the “underemployment” argument. After almost a decade, it’s no longer “underemployed.” That’s just what people’s labor is worth.

  35. You will still feel the impact if you try to refi or get a mortgage. There are changes to the rules in financial services that do impact many of us. I happen to think some of those rules and fines were necessary, but the impact wasn’t just felt in NY. The European banks are still struggling to recover.

    Fly into Vegas and other parts of the US that are still filled with worthless homes… and there’s an impact.

    I don’t have the statistics because I’m just on my phone, but there’s a difference in the types of people that can buy a home with a mortgage in 2017 vs 2006.

  36. Agree, Lauren. I can find it kind of annoying that I have to jump through a couple more hoops to close my loan but by and large, credit is easier to come by than ever if you don’t really need it. Jumbo mortgage market is very strong, for example. Credit is cheap, if you can get it. But basically blue collar people can’t get it and there is less upward mobility overall.

  37. I’m not convinced about the “underemployment” argument.

    You don’t seem to be buying all that many of the Republican talking points.

  38. I support the Baby Boomer list, except for the Obama election which I would replace with the Great Recession. It was indeed significant and has changed our country.

    I also think the passage / enactment of Medicare and Medicaid should be on the Silent Generation list and maybe Boomers, too. Maybe no one (certainly not I) remembers what it was like for old people and poor people wrt health care ex ante.

    The JFK assassination is interesting as CoC mentions. Had he lived, we may not have had the escalation in Vietnam. But we might also not have moved as far as quickly on the Civil Rights / Great Society Issues.

  39. “I also think the passage / enactment of Medicare and Medicaid should be on the Silent Generation list and maybe Boomers, too. Maybe no one (certainly not I) remembers what it was like for old people and poor people wrt health care ex ante.”

    I was wondering that too about the lists of those in the older generations.

  40. DH’s parents are classic Silent Generation – they remembered the Depression all too well, and FIL fought in WWII. They are huge fans of Medicare, as well as the VA health system. Of course, they were huge FDR fans too.

  41. Personally, there’s no question that the bursting of the tech bubble in the early 2000s was the most significant event in my lifetime. My bubble burst along with it, taking all my well-laid plans for the rest of my life.

    It was to me what the financial crisis was to Lauren.

  42. “I think people who were born right at the end of WWII are baby boomers.”

    Definitely not.

    The first baby boomers were conceived after the end of the war.

  43. Prior to the Great Recesssion we knew that home prices were going up but were totally unaware of the housing stock that was being built in other parts of the country or that people were getting credit easily. When we bought a home in 2002 we had to submit all our documents to qualify for a loan. Basically we were ignorant of the picture in other parts of the country.

  44. One event that, unsurprisingly, seems to be flying completely under the radar, but IMO has had a huge impact on this country (the criterion of the survey), was the change in accounting rules that led companies to discontinue defined benefit pensions in favor of defined contribution plans, e.g., 401k plans.

  45. “You don’t seem to be buying all that many of the Republican talking points.”

    No, we’re both typically far more optimistic than the 70% of Americans who perpetually think we’re on the wrong track. But when you’re trying to win the Presidency, “More of the same!” is not a great campaign slogan in that environment.

  46. MM, growing up in the Depression and fighting in WWII are classic Greatest Generation markers. Again, Silent Generation is those born ’25 – ’45 according to the definition used for this study. I’ll grant you that someone born in ’25 would well remember the Depression and could have fought in the last couple of years of the war, though.

  47. “Personally, there’s no question that the bursting of the tech bubble in the early 2000s was the most significant event in my lifetime. My bubble burst along with it, taking all my well-laid plans for the rest of my life. ”

    My personal parallel: I was laid off in late 2003 and didn’t regain employment paid at about what I had been making for about 4 years. On average, our household income took about a 33% hit during that time. No, we were not poor by anyone’s measure, but that financial impact definitely meant I would/will need to work later in life than otherwise to get to the same goal.

  48. For my parents, there’s no question in my mind that the #1 event would be WWII, probably followed by the Depression, especially when you consider that SS was a reaction to the Depression.

  49. I think their definition is scooping the surviving members of the generation preceding Greatest in with the Greatest (A 27 year generation? Really?) but their numbers probably weren’t large enough to significantly affect the survey responses attributed to the Greatest.

  50. “Personally, there’s no question that the bursting of the tech bubble in the early 2000s was the most significant event in my lifetime. My bubble burst along with it, taking all my well-laid plans for the rest of my life.”

    Having not been deeply personally affected by either the tech bubble burst or the 2008 financial crisis, they seem pretty similar and equal in my mind. I’m not saying that they necessarily were to the country as a whole, but they were to me.

    The Enron scandal & breakup of Arthur Andersen is the event that personally affected the most people that I actually knew. That coincided with the bursting of the tech bubble, so they are combined a bit in my memory.

  51. To clarify, I meant that to say that the tech bubble was also very significant, not that neither was significant. But I don’t work in either sector, and I didn’t lose a job or even come close due to either of them.

  52. Black Monday is the one that most affected me. I’d spent the previous summer temping in some big international banks in London and was pretty impressed with the whole scene, but then that fall, my friends a year ahead of me who’d already received offers in finance saw those offers withdrawn as Wall Street laid people off. I started looking around at other career paths.

  53. The tech bubble first brought home the fact that we could lose well paying jobs. This in a way prepared us for the Great Recession. We didn’t lose jobs at the time of the bubbles but I was displaced twice as a result of the right sizing and re-orgs that have become routine in corporate life.

  54. “the day Lehman filed bankruptcy”

    Didn’t Bear Stearns file for bankruptcy around the same time?

    At the time, I was hoping these events would be much more significant, as a sign that the FedGov was not going bail out large financial companies, but in retrospect, they are more like blips along with other large companies that went bankrupt, or are just part of the financial crisis of the time.

  55. “JFK might never have escalated in Vietnam and LBJ’s leadership was integral in passing civil rights legislation.”

    I’ve also read that about LBJ’s involvement in passing of civil rights legislation.

  56. Didn’t Bear Stearns file for bankruptcy around the same time?

    Bear didn’t fine, it was sold to J.P. Morgan for $2 a share.

  57. Underemployment – I think the current hubub has to do with the mismatch between expectations and reality. Many young adults took on debt (student and consumer) thinking that it would be EASY to get a job that pays $X (the top 25% of the salary for their field) and/or there is high demand/sufficient openings for everyone in their skill set/major. (Think art history major to be a museum curator)

    I have a friend who is a nanny who got a BA in psychology thinking it would help her make more money and she took on debt to do an online program. In reality, it only keeps her from losing. The jobs that require a degree vs. no degree pay about $2 an hour difference, but there are more jobs that are asking for the degree. Her pay is roughly $15/hour with a degree and 10 years experience. Another friend’s son is a diesel mechanic, who right out of trade school, is paid the same amount. With 3 years experience, he would be making $20+/hour and he has much less debt.

  58. Note: Bear eventually sold for $10/share as shareholders had threatened to set the whole thing alight and get nothing rather than settle for $2/share.

  59. These comments have reminded me how the tech revolution is tied deeply into unemployment/economy, and may end up impacting us in ways previous advancements never did. So in that way it may be as important as almost any event on those lists. In significant ways today’s creative destruction differs from historical patterns. Increased productivity has not necessarily lead to increased employment.  This time we may be entering a new era with long-term periods of involuntary employment for many.

    Related, this started on January 1:  Finland is giving 2,000 citizens a guaranteed income

  60. I think going into debt for online schools that don’t also have an accredited physical university or college campus is folly. I do not value those degrees remotely as a hiring person.

  61. coc – I have very mixed feelings about the minimum income concept. Part of me thinks that having some level of gainful employment that provides funds for a family to have food, housing, and healthcare is beneficial. However, I am not remotely impressed with the youth coming out of countries where everything is provided. Our au pair is from a western european country with free healthcare, free university, and generous benefits if you work. On the whole, they seem lazy and entitled. She and her siblings are choosing not to attend university and have no ambition to improve themselves. Every generation in their family before them attended university! No interest in news, world events, just a complete lack of bringing anything to the table. Frankly they deserve to lose out to immigrants who are young and hungry….

  62. “A black President was completely predictable and inevitable for decades.”

    I wonder whether most black people would agree with this. For some perspective — https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/21/96/a1/2196a1185d3cf8f9bb975128ed633405.jpg. Note also that Obama was born before we even got to the “free” bit.

    I’m not particularly fond of these particular lists, because you get a total apples and oranges comparison. It implies that Boomers, GenX, and Millennials don’t care about things like WWII and the Great Depression, when the reality is that they just didn’t happen in their lifetime. It sort of forces a recency bias, because I can’t even mention older events that I believe were much more significant. I’d be more interested in a list along the lines of “most significant events of the 20th century,” where things like the Great Depression, WWII, the Civil Rights Act, etc. would have more consistent play across generations.

    I am surprised that Watergate didn’t even make the list.

  63. Frankly they deserve to lose out to immigrants who are young and hungry….

    Young, scrappy and hungry?

    (sorry – couldn’t resist Hamilton reference)

    On topic – I think everyone here has hit the ones I would list – end of cold war, 9/11, and the recession that was almost a depression.

  64. “and have no ambition to improve themselves”

    “I think going into debt for online schools that don’t also have an accredited physical university or college campus is folly. I do not value those degrees remotely as a hiring person.”

    Why not? Especially contrasted with your view on the entitled kids. Sure, the online things are not selective, but when adults are putting themselves through them, often when they’re already working and caring for children, and they’re not just following their families’ expectations to “go to college,” and they’re getting no parties or football games or social enjoyment out of it, when all they want to do is improve their employment prospects, why wouldn’t you value that?

  65. Hard to believe that baby boomers put the Obama election ahead of the moon landing.

  66. Scarlett – the Boomers generation ended in 1964… so if the respondents skewed towards the 1955-1964 birth year, they came of age in the 60s-70s and therefore Obama’s election might resonate more because of Civil Rights.

    Also, on the boomers list moon landing resonated with 35% of respondents and Obama with 38%. It’s possible that those numbers are statistically equal depending on number of respondents, age of respondents, and other controls for how they answer the questions.

  67. “I think going into debt for online schools that don’t also have an accredited physical university or college campus is folly.”

    Mia – I agree. The thing people need to look for in choosing an online degree option is REGIONAL accreditation. Many/All of the for-profit schools are NATIONALLY accredited, which is different.

  68. Milo – because the online degrees are not of the same quality. A degree from large land grant university that offers a substantial portion of the courses online has met the standards of that university. Phoenix? Nope. Would rather an AA degree from the local community college. It’s like a degree in education from a university versus alternatively certifying as a teacher. They pass the same test – which would you rather teach your elementary age kids?

  69. I don’t think the online degree is worth the cost. Certainly not going into non-dischargable student loan debt for it.

  70. Rhode, I am at the tail end of the baby boom and the moon landing was a VERY big deal for everyone who was old enough to stay up late in 1969. I agree that there’s not that much difference between 35% and 38% but also that it’s a recency thing. Plus the whole space program was tarnished by the Challenger disaster, which might have influenced the responses.

  71. The reason the financial crisis isn’t on the lists is because most people have no understanding of what actually happened or how it affected them, and I’m probably one of them. My understanding of it is “some big banks went out of business, so they passed some laws for tighter regulations of financial companies.” The stock market dropped and the economy had a downturn for a while. Economic downturns aren’t uncommon so I don’t know why this one would be considered one of the most important events of my lifetime.

    Yes, I am woefully ignorant on some subjects.

  72. There is a difference between a wholly online degree, which are often associated with for profits or with struggling nonprofits trying to make some money, and degrees that have some online courses in them. The wholly online programs tend to be oriented towards shoving the max number of people through for the least amount of money, and are often based on a series of quizzes to get through. Or perhaps lightly graded papers. Online courses that are part of a traditional degree program can also be awful, but are less likely to be so because the students will feed from the online course to other courses in the department, which means that faculty hope that they learn something.

    I often have to evaluate these courses because students are trying to transfer them in.

  73. Our au pair

    Selection bias. That’s why she’s an au pair not an analyst at HypoVereinsbank.

  74. “which would you rather teach your elementary age kids?”

    If they both passed the test, what business is it of mine how they studied? Maybe the test is too easy?

    It reminds me of the old hag at the Health Department who initially refused to grant me my lifeguarding/pool operator license when I was 16 because I had crammed all my training into a single weekend session with a for-profit company at a hotel conference room in Tysons rather than diligently spending an hour each week for a year taking a course at the Fire Department or something. She just didn’t think that this method could be sufficient, and claimed it wasn’t accredited. I convinced her to let me take the exams, and scored a perfect on both, and she didn’t have much to argue after that.

  75. “The wholly online programs tend to be oriented towards shoving the max number of people through for the least amount of money, and are often based on a series of quizzes to get through. Or perhaps lightly graded papers.”

    Which we all know is totally different from the Composition 101 seminar at Land Grant University with 400 kids being taught by a TA who can barely speak English.

  76. I went through the tech bubble burst, the financial crisis, and a few others. For me, the most significant recession was the one in the 80’s because it was so hard to find a dang job. No one could find burger broil jobs to help with college costs, or reasonable starter jobs post graduation. It was very much like the situation around 2010-11. On the other hand, I found the financial crash more terrifying simply because I knew more about what was happening. I was in tech when the bubble burst, and honestly, it was more of an annoyance in my life. My company had just gone public, so our share prices were hit. That was about it. But I know it affected other people. At the hell company, one of my colleagues was a middle aged guy who hated the company and the nasty manager (he was one of the people on the receiving end of deaf jokes), but he stayed in the job because he had been laid off in 2000 and it took him 4 years to find another stable job. He lost all of his retirement savings as a result.

  77. That au pair comment is a little nasty. Some of them are so young, and they just want to see the world before they figure out what to do with the rest of their life.

  78. “Which we all know is totally different from the Composition 101 seminar at Land Grant University with 400 kids being taught by a TA who can barely speak English.:”

    I don’t know of schools that do that. Usually Comp101 is taught in bazillions of small sections with adjuncts, who are all underpaid PhDs. A lot of schools also hire fulltime contract faculty to run those programs. But every school I know of adheres to the model of smalll classes with lots of feedback.

  79. “the moon landing was a VERY big deal for everyone who was old enough to stay up late in 1969.”

    Yes, I remember very long lines to see the moon rock when it came to our area.

    My grandma came with us, and commented on when she was a kid, airplanes didn’t exist, and here she was looking at a rock brought back from the moon by humans.

  80. While I am not a huge fan of traditional education degrees, I know a few people who did those alternative certifications, and those are even more appalling. I think I mentioned before the lady who was an office manager, and then she did 6 months of online classes for her alternative certification in Texas, and now she is a certified teacher for advanced middle school math classes. There are two reasons I am so horrified – one, she never had to do any student teaching, and had no classes in classroom management methods. So she was just dropped cold into her classrooms,. But two, she has no real math background, and never had to take any further math or math education courses (and yes, there are some useful math education courses – we offered a couple of good ones in my department at directional state u), and now she is teaching honors algebra to kids who are good at math. I guess it makes me mad because I had to suffer a lot of MS and HS math taught by people like that – why do we want to perpetuate it? So, yes, I think ed degrees are bad – they need more math and more classroom management courses – but to just gut those topics in order to get people through faster is not the right way to do things.

  81. My older son’s math teacher changed out midyear last year and we parents got a slightly defensive sounding letter from the principal about how they’re sure the new guy will be a fine teacher and so forth and here’s his background — I looked, pretty young guy, doesn’t appear to have an ed degree as such (maybe that’s where the defensive tone of the letter came from) as his major was physics and astronomy . . . yeah, I’m ok with this ^_^.

  82. “The reason the financial crisis isn’t on the lists is because most people have no understanding of what actually happened or how it affected them”

    Perhaps Obama’s most significant accomplishment as POTUS was his handling of the financial crisis he inherited, and that is not well appreciated because many people don’t understand what happened. At the time, he received a lot of criticism for federal bailouts, e.g., GM, AIG.

  83. “there are some useful math education courses”

    My kids’ school has a guy with a PhD in math education on the faculty. He helped design their MS math curriculum.

  84. And DS’ physics teacher from last year was teaching during his grad school application year. He (the physics teacher, not DS) is now back in college working on his PhD in physics education.

  85. HM, your DS’ new teacher sounds like a lot of the teachers at my kids’ school, where I believe many, if not most, of the HS teachers’ degrees are in the subjects they teach, and not in education, physics education majors notwithstanding.

  86. Milo – because the online degrees are not of the same quality.

    I have my doubts about that. I think the main issue is the filtering aspect of college. If someone is getting a degree online, poor choices/luck were involved. I’m more inclined to agree with Milo that someone going back to school while working, raising kids, etc. may be more competent and dedicated than someone who fell into State U because that’s just what you do.

  87. Rhett – depends on the country. My point was that making school free will not necessarily result in a more educated population and may not be beneficial as a whole if the purpose is to have more college graduates. We screened for intent to attend university as we have upper elementary age kids and wanted someone who had a desire to learn and the ability to help with homework. We did not ask the question about whether she had been put on a university track in middle school or an “alternative” (vocational track).Come to find out it was the latter. University is still possible but involves passing a test and she may not be prepared because the courses that would make one university ready were not even offered in her high school.

  88. There is a huge difference between someone who has a physics degree teaching math, and a former office manager with a tad of college business math teaching honors algebra. And I would still argue that some student teaching and classroom management coursework would serve the physics guy well, in addition to some passing familiarity with the research on how to teach math effectively.

  89. The helicopter parent in me wants to see her studying for said test in her abundant free time. I kind of made an incorrect assumption that a desire to go off to a foreign land indicates an adventuresome spirit and someone who seeks opportunity.

  90. I know a lot of you saw the movie based on Michael Lewis book, Liars Poker. The movie is funny, and it is fiction. It is a fair representation though of how far the situation reached into most pockets of America, and further around the globe.

    Someone made a comment up above about prosecuting people for what happened during the crisis due to CDOs etc.

    The difference with this crisis vs. a recession was how close the economy came to a complete collapse. This wasn’t just going to be a deep recession like the 80s. Many industries were tied to those CDOs. It wasn’t just the auto industry. That is why the Fed and Congress were frantically working with President Bush and his staff at the end of his term to avoid a complete collapse. This bill was signed during the first week of October in 2008, and it was the linchpin that kept money flowing between financial firms, and ultimately to consumers and companies.

    I’m not saying that it is more or less important than the other stuff on the list, but I can assure you that the bursting of the tech bubble wasn’t going to create the Great Depression II. This financial crisis was very close to that point.

  91. “Does that indicate sarcasm?”

    My guess is that HM is happy, or at least optimistic, about the new teacher, since his major indicates that he probably has the intelligence and knowledge to teach HS math to smart kids like her DS.

  92. Mia – Our experience with exchange students was mixed. Half just wanted to get away from being under Mom and Dad’s supervision – just being here looked good on their educational resume. The other half really wanted to use their time here to improve their language skills and to engage in a different culture.

  93. the weekend that Lehman was going down, many people at DH’s company were called in to frantically unwind trades that had gone through Lehman. And this was happening all over. Money just ceased to flow for a while. It was really scary. I can remember how shellshocked Bush looked, and Hank Paulson begging Congress.

  94. DH did an alternative certification for teaching and it was a disaster. The positions that hire those certifications (at least where I live) are Title 1 schools, so you are putting a teacher with no student teaching experience into an environment with kids who don’t want to learn or are really far behind. He didn’t last long. As for the education degree, I had a roommate in college who was an elementary education major. She was working on a project where she had to teach about taste buds. She was cutting up fruits and veggies and coloring plates to present them on. I just remember being amazed that this was an actual college project.

  95. OT for this thread, but not sure anyone is still reading the other one. Rhett, this one is for you.

    “SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike.

    He proved that prediction wrong again on Wednesday.

    In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category — created especially for the tireless veteran — by riding 22.547 kilometers in one hour.

    “I’m now waiting for a rival,” he said.”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/105-old-frenchman-sets-cycling-record-161928620–spt.html

  96. The helicopter parent in me wants to see her studying for said test in her abundant free time.

    Why would she bother? She was routed to the vocational track because she doesn’t have the cognitive ability to benefit from a college education.

  97. The fall of USSR was the only significant event of my lifetime. It was called without irony or dispute “The End of History.” The financial crisis was just money.

  98. Rhett – if by your nature, you are a C student but could potentially get A’s and B’s if you worked harder, would you not try? Her brother was attending university for a degree in biochemistry and is dropping out because he doesn’t want to work hard.

  99. On the Western European au pair – I would definitely think that someone who signs up to be an au pair is someone who is at least in theory interested in adventure & new experiences, but not necessarily “opportunity” or motivation. Same as a US au pair or from other countries where there is a lot of opportunity in other fields. The one person in my circle who was an au pair has been “finding herself” for quite some time. She is a lot of great things, but “motivated” in a Totebag kind of way is not one of them.

    I’m not convinced that a Physics PhD on its makes for a good math teacher (although far superior to an office manager with a little Accounting knowledge). I believe that being able to teach takes different skills from gaining knowledge – and that the teaching methods, classroom management, and child development theory that education majors should be learning in college are going to be more helpful for teaching Algebra than a knowledge of high level conceptual math.

  100. “Money just ceased to flow for a while. It was really scary. I can remember how shellshocked Bush looked, and Hank Paulson begging Congress.”

    Really, this is the modern corollary to the bank runs at the beginning of the Great Depression. The reason it isn’t higher on everyone’s lists is because this time, the government’s actions prevented a total meltdown, and so the resulting consequences “felt” more like a regular recession — yes, some people lost their homes and jobs, businesses and homebuyers couldn’t borrow, many people really were hurt, but there were no breadlines, no decade-long slump, no Dust-bowl migrations, etc. I think only a small percentage of the population (not including me) really gets how close we came and how bad it could have been.

    For me, the most significant event of the past century has to be WWII — not just because of the lives lost, or because the Holocaust wiped out a good chunk of DH’s extended family, but because of the “new” approach to rebuilding Germany (which began more active American presence abroad that lasts until this day), the establishment of Israel, the huge shift in geopolitical alliances, the real rise of America as an international superpower, the significant change at home and in the military in the roles for women and minorities (which I believe were long-term drivers for the civil rights and women’s rights movements), etc.

    OTOH, the Challenger disaster wouldn’t even make my top 25 — yes, it had a huge personal impact on a number of people (including DH), but I don’t think it had significant long-term global or country-wide impacts. Sure, it’s an incident that helped support the anti-NASA bandwagon, but the end result has been commercial companies occupying that sphere and pushing the science forward almost ridiculously quickly.

  101. I don’t like how boats in that style ride. We had a power boat with an enclosed cockpit similar to that and it rode like a school bus on the water and just feels more tippy. I get seasick and need to be close to feeling the wind and the salt spray while I stare at the horizon.

    If I really wanted to get a good deal on a boat right now, I would buy a 5-year old boat in Europe (probably Turkey, Croatia, or Spain) and pay a captain to deliver it to the US.

  102. I’m thinking about the Beneteau swift-trawler 44 for when the nest is empty….
    OT- I find it interesting to see the discussion about what affected people because it was “close to you” in some way. It seems that when that “close to you” affects a huge mass of people it takes on the “national significance”
    for me 9/11 looms huge – being there, knowing victims and survivors and the whole NYC aftermath plus our children had several friends and classmates who lost parents.
    Also, being Cuban American- the cold war, the communist spread and the defeat and the collapse of the Berlin wall are very vivid to me- I remember when Ceaucescu was arrested, convicted and executed, we were sure that Castro was next – (look how that turned out.)
    Also Katrina affected my family deeply.
    We had a front row seat to the financial crisis and I agree with what Lauren describes that it was terrifying for several months… But I remember the savings and loan crisis and the tech bubble bursting as major moments as well but not in that close terrifying way.

  103. I definitely agree with the end of the Cold War as the most significant historical event. 9/11 was of only minor significance for me, because it was one of many terror attacks over many years and just happened to be the best executed. The results were significant- I don’t think the war in Iraq would have happened without it- but my cynical view at the time (2000 people dead isn’t worth a war in the Middle East) seems to be at least partially correct.

    I remember the Challenger but don’t think it was particularly historically significant.

    Geography definitely plays a role in what we perceive as significant within the U.S. Sandy Hook isn’t different from many other school shootings to me, but the Farm Crisis of the early ’80’s and resulting recession is what shaped me in terms of money and security.

    Does anyone know how the ~2008 crisis compares to the panic of 1907? With no knowledge of the most recent crisis, I thought of J P Morgan and his efforts to mitigate that crisis.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1907

  104. I want to add that maybe Western Europe a nanny is considered to be a decent enough profession and there is felt no need to better oneself. We encountered a tour guide in France who did a great job and DH asked him if he did anything else in the winter slow season. His answer was no, being a tour guide was his only profession.
    Regarding teachers they should not only know their subject but also how to teach that subject to kids in their classrooms. I had a very smart lady as my science teacher but she was an awful teacher.

  105. “and just feels more tippy”

    I don’t know, but it might be due to the shallower draft. The advantage is that it can go a lot more places, into rivers and coves; and even in the deeper coastal waters, it’s a lot less stressful to navigate. They’re not really meant for the open ocean, even including regular deep-sea fishing. If you’re crossing over to the Bahamas, you make sure the weather forecast is favorable.

    “and pay a captain to deliver it to the US”

    The ones I generally like aren’t made for crossing oceans, but there’s always…

    http://www.yachtforums.com/attachments/1-yacht-express-bow-jpg.23571/

  106. “I’m thinking about the Beneteau swift-trawler 44 for when the nest is empty….”

    Ohh, I like it.

  107. The shock of the assassination of JFK, later reinforced by the assassinations of MLK and RFK, was essential to the growth of the counter culture, mainstream drug use, sexual revolution in the US. The Vietnam War, which was fought by a conscripted army, completed the breakdown of trust in established institutions.

    Griswold vs CT was not on the list, nor any other direct reference to the women’s movement in my quick perusal of the lists on my phone. People of exactly my age remember actual professional and educational exclusion, in addition to the stuff that many continue explain away as free choice or nature or custom or overreaction.

  108. @Meme – Along those lines, would you say that advances in birth control in general are of significance in your lifetime? I’ve certainly heard that before. (I don’t think it really qualifies for my own lifetime – doesn’t seem like anything that revolutionary has happened in the last 40 years.)

  109. @Meme – In the women’s movement, I wonder if the passage of Title IX is significant. (it was passed before I was born, but my mom & aunts certainly say that it was a huge change in their lifetimes – and not just because of sports even though that’s what you hear about today.)

  110. Does anyone know how the ~2008 crisis compares to the panic of 1907?

    The 1907 panic was primarily caused by the San Francisco earthquake. The most recent crisis was caused by the collapse of a real estate bubble. Or do you mean in scope?

    To bail out the US economy in 1907 required J.P. Morgan to arrange for the injection of $200 million into the banking system, that’s about $5 billion in today’s money. TARP injected $770 billion and the the Federal Reserve, which was designed to replace J.P. Morgan, injected another 2 trillion to stabilize the economy.

  111. “To bail out the US economy in 1907 required J.P. Morgan to arrange for the injection of $200 million into the banking system, that’s about $5 billion in today’s money. TARP injected $770 billion and the the Federal Reserve, which was designed to replace J.P. Morgan, injected another 2 trillion to stabilize the economy.”

    But how does that compare proportionally to the size of the economy, given that that is also much bigger nowadays.

  112. I think far more people are affected by banks today than in 1907. At least in my farming family, loans more often occurred among extended family members and banks were avoided if possible.

  113. If you don’t play sports at the college level, how would Title IX have impacted your life?

  114. Title IX impactespecially the availability of sports for girls in elementary, middle, and high school. I got so much out of playing sports – lifelong friends, learning how to be on a team, leadership, etc. Girls who play sports are less likely to get pregnant and do better in school. Sports have had a huge impact on my life. I don’t think the opportunities I had would have been available without Title IX.

    I should read up on Title IX but I thought it was more than just sports.

  115. “If you don’t play sports at the college level, how would Title IX have impacted your life?”

    Really? Part of it is trickle-down — I wasn’t allowed to play baseball as a kid because that was for boys; by the time I was in HS, girls could play Little League. In MS, boys did wrestling and girls did square dance; I had a hissy [boy, do I *hate* square dance], and they had to let me wrestle. Now there as a many early rec programs for girls as boys — they are not mandated by Title IX, but they serve the need Title IX created. Beyond that, it normalized the concept of girls playing sports, being strong, etc. How many girls play sports now vs. in the 1960s? Or more accurately, what is the ratio of girls to boys playing sports now vs. pre-Title IX?

    Title IX is largely irrelevant only if you believe that the sole benefit to sports is obtaining a college scholarship.

  116. “I should read up on Title IX but I thought it was more than just sports.”

    Right – it’s not just sports, and it’s not just at the college level.

  117. LfB,
    Too funny — I wanted to play baseball too as a kid. Softball isn’t the same.
    But all of your references are to sports. Apart from sports (at the college level or otherwise), how does Title IX affect women?

  118. Title IX is a huge deal! Else, it wouldn’t be honored with its own American Girl Beforever doll:

    Julie Albright is dealing with big changes since her parents’ divorce [natch]. When she finds out that her new school has a basketball team, life starts looking up—until the coach says girls aren’t allowed to play. Julie decides to fight for a place on the team, and almost loses her best friend in the process.

    http://www.americangirl.com/shop/julie-books/the-big-break-julie-classic-1-bkc47

    Come on, Scarlett. You’ve got a granddaughter, and only a few more years to learn this whole subculture.

  119. “But all of your references are to sports.” — Oops, sorry, assumed you were focusing on the “college sports” vs. “non-college sports” issue, vs the “limited to sports” vs. “non-sports impacts” issue.

    Yes, Title IX clearly extends beyond sports, and I think is actually the underpinning to the fact that women have generally achieved parity in college educations. Per the NCAA website: “Although it is the application of Title IX to athletics that has gained the greatest public visibility, the law applies to every single aspect of education, including course offerings, counseling and counseling materials, financial assistance, student health and insurance benefits and/or other services, housing, marital and parental status of students, physical education and athletics, education programs and activities, and employment.

    So, basically, the public schools could no longer assign girls to home ec and boys to shop — I remember the shift in MS/Jr High when it was no longer a gender track, but they instead required both genders to take both (and then moved to making it optional). But more critically, they couldn’t generally track girls to secretarial/typing courses (like in my mom’s HS) and send the boys off to the college prep courses. Similarly, once those girls graduated HS, the colleges couldn’t (a) refuse to admit them because of their gender, or (b) just shunt them off to nursing and teaching programs. My stepmom was one of the first women in her law school class in the late ’70s; those doors were opened by Title IX.

  120. Yes, before Title IX, schools could and did routinely deny admission to women in fields like medicine and engineering, saying that they would be taking up slots that men needed.

  121. The acceptance of/wide availability to women of family planning methods and Title IX are two identifiable aspects of the change in women’s roles and opportunities. The birth of the conservative religious right as a political force, operating by word of mouth, the pulpit and national media outlets (now with social media added in) and most effective politically at the state level, can be traced to the successful campaign against the ratification of the previously thought innocuous Equal Rights Amendment.

  122. Title IX is a large part of the legacy of Patsy Takemoto Mink, born and raised on Maui. She experienced a lot of discrimination as a female lawyer and legislator of Japanese ancestry back in the 50s

  123. Interesting tidbit.

    “Is there a penalty for Title IX non-compliance?

    Yes! Schools can lose federal funds for violating the law. Although most institutions are not in compliance with Title IX, no institution has actually lost any federal money. Schools have, however, had to pay substantial damages and attorney fees in cases brought to court.” http://www.sadker.org/TitleIX.html

    However, it appears from a ten minute Google review that, notwithstanding the broad language of the Act, most of its actual impact has been on sports programs. This article, for example, listing nine ways that Title IX has helped females in education, has to stretch on several of those points. http://neatoday.org/2012/06/21/nine-ways-title-ix-has-helped-girls-and-women-in-education-2/

    “Until the 1970s, some colleges and universities refused to admit women. Before Title IX, this was perfectly legal.” [It still is legal for private universities, though the limited appeal of all-male colleges means that there are virtually none left.]

    “Have you ever had a female professor? Before Title IX, she probably would’ve had to work at a women’s-only college, for less pay, and she might not have ever gotten tenure.” [Harvard had several tenured female faculty members before 1960.]

    “It was once widely accepted that boys were good at math and science, while girls were good at domestic activities. Textbooks showed girls as nurturing wives and mothers, while boys were shown as powerful and aggressive. Thanks in part to Title IX, gender stereotypes are now challenged in classrooms and in learning materials including textbooks.” [in part]

    “According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, women who are active in sports have more self confidence and are more outgoing than women who do not participate. These women never would’ve experienced these benefits if they weren’t allowed to participate in sports!” [Correlation, causation?]

  124. I wish I had Title IX when I was growing up. Even though my family encouraged equal opportunities for women, society in the home country did not. I see the change in American society from what the posters are saying. My DD has benefited from Title IX. The trickle down aspect of sports is the visible result. Maybe I am reading too much into it but I see it in band too, in the choice of instruments. I was surprised at girl percussionists.
    As for the American Girl Dolls, DD will have to pick one story. Their Truly Me dolls with different features are a genius marketing move. I am going to buy my niece one that looks like her.

  125. Thomas Sowell has argued that the Civil Rights Act did not increase the improvement in the social status of blacks, rather that the Civil Rights Act was a reflection of existing social changes. Scarlett seems to be making a similar argument about Title IX, my Dad observed the same thing about discrimination against Vietnam Veterans for employment and I have pondered the same thing about Obergefell. I wonder to what extent discrimination law trails elimination of discrimination.

  126. I wonder to what extent discrimination law trails elimination of discrimination.

    This comment, along with Milo’s re: the inevitability of the election of our first black president makes me think these may depend on where you live. (Although WCE’s Iowa upbringing may contradict this.) When Colin Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I expressed my desire to see him run for president. In two separate conversations, male colleagues told me there was no way they would ever vote for a black president. That stunned me, but they were very open about sharing that view, so obvious didn’t consider it it out of the mainstream. 20 years later, that state had zero counties go for Obama in either election. So while discrimination may fall away in some parts of the country, or perhaps more urban areas, it is my experience that more homogenous, rural areas are more resistant to changing the status quo, and may need a little push until a new normal is reached.

  127. Interesting discussion on Title IX. I’ve never given it much thought, but now I want to read more about it. I think you guys are right about the trickle down effects but WCE might be be right too…chicken or the egg?

    Growing up in a totebaggy suburb during the 80s most moms were SAH, and the moms that did work were doctors. teachers or nurses. A good friend of mine had a mom that worked and all I knew was that she worked at a bank. I thought she was teller, because all I knew was that women could be one of three professions. It wasn’t until high school that I learned her mom was some high up VP at a bank. By that time I had been exposed to all kinds of women in business and the class offerings. I would bet that my girls don’t know what a bank teller is, and I would also bet that they don’t see specific occupations being gender specific. Just tonight my 8 year old told me she wanted to be doctor that creates medicine.

  128. Growing up in Iowa, I knew exactly two working professional moms who were not nurses or teachers, an Indian pediatrician whose mom lived with them to take care of the kids and a divorced attorney, married to the county’s widowed judge. That may have shaped my worldview. :)

    I didn’t/don’t see a lot of racism against African Americans growing up and living in mostly white counties. My school district is 0.6% African American and also 0.6% Alaska Native, so people have largely unformed opinions of both groups. To the extent that rural white kids stereotype, they think that African Americans become professional athletes, based on what they see on TV. It’s not hard to see where this stereotype comes from.

  129. I didn’t/don’t see a lot of racism against African Americans growing up and living in mostly white counties.

    That’s because you didn’t/don’t see a lot of African Americans.

  130. “However, it appears from a ten minute Google review that, notwithstanding the broad language of the Act, most of its actual impact has been on sports programs.”

    I completely disagree. Sports are easy to point to. But it’s amazing how the threat of lawsuits and losing funding opens doors to educational programs and opportunities that had previously been closed based on prevalent cultural beliefs.

    ITA with MBT as well. Clearly, not all colleges/universities were so constrained in the opportunities they offered women (my alma mater, for ex., was coed from its founding in the mid-19th century). And you would not even have had Title IX without the feminist movement and the significant changes in society’s view of what women could and should do. And yet that progress, by itself, is uneven; the Citadel was still fighting against admitting women 20 years after Title IX was adopted, and several years after I had graduated law school. Title IX was both a result of the feminist movement and a critical mechanism to ensure those gains were shared equally nationwide.

  131. Nanny is not a profession in most of Western Europe. As a result of generous parental leave and state-subsidized daycare, having a nanny is pretty rare (and an unnecessary expense). There are Au Pairs that work in Europe, but their hours and their pay are far lower than the American counteparts. It’s much more of a mother’s helper position. None of the Au Pairs from Western Europe that I have met have been planning on making a career out of it (though I have met more than one German who does two years on a J-1, stays in Europe for 2 years, as required, and then returns for another J1 2 year tour – seems to always be Germans).

    Ski Instructor and Tour Guide, on the other hand, are jobs which require a college education in many European countries. .

  132. Having said that, we are going through a bit of culture shock with our first European Au Pair after a half-decade of young women from developing countries. The work ethic and the ambition are (literally) a world apart. However, there is huge selection bias in this – in poorer countries, the candidates for Au Pair are upper middle class. They need to be able to afford the application fee, the driver’s license, the English lessons. Their opportunity to see and explore the US is more tenuous – they may never be able to get a tourist visa or have funds to return.

    Western Europeans, on the other hand, tend to be fresh from high school and lower middle/working class. The fees are fairly low to apply; the requirements are things they probably already have done. The two previous Europeans we have had (from different countries) were the least ambitious of all of the ones we have hosted, and least likely to spontaneously mop the kitchen floor or take out the trash. There is just a very different idea of the role of household help, the role of a childcare provider. There is also a selection bias – upper middle class kids, or highly motivated kids have other paths to visit the US. Interestingly, both of our European Au Pairs have gone home to become nurses (which required extra high school, as they had not been on the appropriate track). Neither expressed that desire before visiting us – perhaps I was an inspiration, but I doubt it. More likely, young women without a clear direction or ambition can find a way to be contributing members of the state health care machine.

    So, I think MiaMama’s Au Pair will likely find herself before she can legallydrink in the US, it seems to go that way.

  133. One of the great changes in my lifetime is the deregulation and increased security associated with air travel. My kids will never wait at the gate with a loved one who is leaving, nor will they dress up for plane travel. They probably won’t complain about airline food – now that they charge for it, it is not so bad. It wasn’t so long ago you didn’t need ID. It also wasn’t so long ago you would pay $600 for the cheapest possible ticket from Salt Lake City to Chicago. So, win some, lose some.

  134. WCE, thanks for making my point more clearly than I did.
    IMO, the reason that Title IX is linked in the popular mind to sports is that sports programs were the most visible and objectively discriminatory aspects of education offerings. Coeducation was already a trend and home ec and shop classes were important only as symbols that most schools eliminated in their entireties anyhow as college prep became more important. Tha application of Title IX to college sexual assaults is relatively recent and of seriously questionable merit, especially as it affects the legal rights of both the putative victims and the accused. It’s likely that the new administration will take a different approach on that issue which will be welcome.

    Ten years after being forced to admit women, the Citadel is still 95% male.

  135. Laura pointed out that the attitudes and the laws are mutually reinforcing, so chicken/egg questions are sort of pointless.

    And the 5% of Citadel students who are female at least have that chance.

  136. Title IX was incredibly important, and there are still so many examples of discrimination. In some cases, the only reason that people do the right thing is the threat of a lawsuit.

    Here is a 2016 example from my town. The girls soccer team was not allowed to practice at the field at the HS. They played in a higher ranked league, and they were very successful. Boys soccer was just another sport because there are more popular team sports in the HS such as football and lacrosse.

    The boys and girls teams were supposed to rotate years, but the Athletic Director refused to allow girls teams to practice at the HS. How old do you think he was? 68. A guy from another era and even though he gave lip service to girls sports, it was never “equal” until there was a threat of a lawsuit.

    He retired and a new Athletic Director was hired. He openly discussed the unfairness for girls teams at new student orientation.

    My point is that this crap is still going on all over the place.

  137. Related to the gradual change (or not) for women there is a movie on Netflix called Sand Storm that I liked.
    A funny Bollywood movie with great performances is Piku, also on Netflix.

  138. @WCE – in the same general place at the same general time, I had many, many examples of working professional moms in the 80’s and 90’s, including my own (an actuary). Not as many as in my current circle, but there also are far fewer blue collar dads in my circle. It’s a lot less socioeconomically diverse than my HS.

    I will say that overt racism was not prevalent or frequent in my experience because as you say – there were no minorities of any kind around at the time. My HS graduating class of 165 people had ZERO AA or Hispanic people, ONE Asian person (who was adopted from Korea as a child), ONE Jewish person, and 163 white Christians (at least culture and tradition if not practicing). HOWEVER, comments that I heard in certain situations – like when we played the “urban” schools in sports – from parents & kids alike were pretty damn racist.

  139. One interesting aspect of the Jiro film is the conspicuous absence of women. None of the sushi apprentices at his restaurant are female and no mention is made. But Jiro’s older son told an interviewer a few years after the film that women can’t be sushi chefs because they menstruate

  140. Ivy, maybe the difference in working professional moms is/was partly a rural/urban divide? Working moms, even those with degrees, tended to work in nonprofessional jobs because professional jobs weren’t available and families were less likely to move for the wife’s job (why most professionals did a stint in my town) than the husband’s job. That has changed, I think, and there is now a “quality childcare infrastructure” in the town.

  141. Scarlett, one of my favorite movies is Tampopo, in which a widow takes the audacious step of learning to cook ramen for the restaurant she and her husband used to run. She’s helped by a cowboy truck driver. It is very funny.

    The conversation has now moved into the kind of things I thought of when I first saw this list, like birth control and Title IX, that are broad cultural shifts. But in terms of singular events, I think the events of 9/11/01 ushered in a different era. Prejudice against Muslims existed before then; I recall talking about it with friends in the 90s, when Islamophobia was one option but not “the” term like it is now. (I still prefer plain “religious bigotry”).

    I saw a write-up of this survey that highlighted the differences between black and white responses. It said white people mentioned the Civil Rights Movement much less frequently. That it would also be an age thing, as Mooshi’s intro points out, makes sense to me–the Civil Rights Movement means that white people under a certain age have had more contact with non-whites than earlier generations did. I was surprised a year or so ago that my dad, who grew up in Southern Wisconsin, had never heard of the Great Migration in which millions of black people moved North and West from the Southeastern US

  142. S&M,
    Not sure I would have recognized the term Great Migration until relatively recently even though I was very familiar with the movement of blacks out of the South. Have you read The Warmth if Other Suns? My sister recommended it from her book club and it has great reviews but probably one of those books that is better in real book form rather than Kindle.

  143. Scarlett, yes, I have that book and love it. It reads like historical fiction, but is not. It is very well documented throughout, and I have cited it in my writing. My copy has been in my parents’ house for a year, but it doesn’t look they’re going to read it anytime soon.

  144. Love the Title IX discussion – makes me want to read more about it. I think I recall in the recent articles about Baylor and the sexual assault cases there that Title IX also plays into how collleges deal with investigating sexual assault on campus but will have to find where I read that.

    Ada – thanks – I should have considered that more in our selection process. If I could do over, I would have gone with an Au Pair from Latin America. Generally more effusive and emotional – for better or worse and the Latin American Au Pairs are typically already university-educated and coming to the US to improve their English. As you noted, they are usually upper middle class and we were concerned they would treat our Mexican housekeeper (who we consider family) very poorly. Live and learn…

  145. Add me to those who were unfamiliar with the term “Great Migration.” I knew about blacks moving from the south, but I didn’t know there was a specific name for it.

  146. I loved the Warmth of Other Suns. It is very easy to read. And it made me understand the family history of the black kids I went to school with, who were mainly all the kids or grandkids of people who came up from the South. When you read in the book the lengths people had to go through to get out – they couldn’t be seen inspecting bus schedules for example, lest they get into trouble with local whites – you realize the courage it took to make the move.

  147. S&M – are you referring to a specific country? They are typically from a handful of countries in Asia outside of Europe or Latin America. Would have been fine with South Africa or Australian Au Pair also.

  148. We have really left all her South Americans, and they have been the warmest and most loving child care providers. However, to generalize from the group, none of them have been great at setting boundaries. All of them needed extensive one on one training to learn to drive safely in the United States. I keep reminding myself of this, and accepting the disdain and entitlement from the current European Au Pair. She walked off the plane knowing that children should eat vegetables several times per day, how to drive carefully, and how to use a can opener and a dishwasher. She also makes the kids clean their rooms, instead of doing it for them.

    We’ve had several different Spanish speaking house cleaners who have worked for us at the same time as the Au Pairs. They’ve always been warm to each other, and I’ve never seen any condescension. The house cleaner was just asking after the recently moved AP this week.

  149. “She also makes the kids clean their rooms, instead of doing it for them. ”

    A feature, not a bug?

  150. “A feature, not a bug?”

    that’s what she’s saying. it’s in addition to all the other advantages.

  151. I was attempting to outsource the nagging after my children over chores to someone else. I think instead I gained a 20-year old who didn’t grow up in my house.

  152. “When you read in the book the lengths people had to go through to get out – they couldn’t be seen inspecting bus schedules for example, lest they get into trouble with local whites – you realize the courage it took to make the move.”

    Very true. Also true of the many poor white immigrants, like my grandparents, who got on the boat and came to the US with virtually nothing. It’s hard to understand why many of the descendants of these people, including members of our extended families, will not move to another state for a better job. They don’t want to leave the familiar, even if it isn’t actually working for them.

  153. SCarlett, where are you thinking of that people were forbidden to emigrate? To me, the stories of strategizing to move away from the orange grove or cotton fields were unusual. I don’t know of anywhere else that happened.

  154. A cousin of my husband emails a question to her father and DH father every week about their family. She is trying to write down as much history as possible while they’re both alive and able to remember. The stories about how and when their grandparents/aunts/uncles came to America are so interesting. They took a chance and came to America with nothing, and they didn’t speak any English. I wonder if it is because they didn’t really know what it would be like on the ship or in America. Also, they feared for their safety so they were willing to leave everything behind.

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