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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Teacher qualifications, May 28, 1924

An S-R editorial noted how the qualifications for teachers had advanced.

“The qualifications of teachers in this state have been advanced strikingly during the last 10 years. In 1913 the graduate of grade school was permitted to secure a third grade teacher’s certificate and enter the profession.

“There were 890 teachers of that caliber in the state. Mrs. Preston, who has been superintendent of public instruction for 13 years, describes the forward steps made by her department with the cooperation of the legislature.”

It continued: “In 1917 the law was changed to require a high school education and nine weeks of professional training.”

Russian propaganda, May 23, 1944

An S-R editorial saw through the Soviet campaign to bolster the image of Josef Stalin.

“We are being treated to a course of the crude propaganda which has been used so effectively in every totalitarian country to build up the rulers into legendary figures. It is propaganda coming from Russia and evidently intended to transfigure Stalin in our eyes. This idealized version represents him as a great democrat, a great humanitarian, a champion of religion and of the basic freedoms – the divinely appointed ruler of all the Russians.

“Americans have a lot of respect for Stalin’s strength of character, his hard-headed cleverness and his grim determination. But he still looks like a dictator, as ruthless in holding on to power as he was in his methods for attaining power. He looks more the human than the humanitarian – and it is certain that if he is something more than human, he isn’t a saint. And all attempts to put a halo on his head are simply funny.”

Mt. St. Helens, May 23, 1980

“President Carter wasn’t in Spokane long enough to leave the airport Thursday, but his comments hit the mark for urgency and sensibility.

“The political aspects of his trip notwithstanding, Carter said the right things – and not just what the people wanted to hear. First, he congratulated the citizens of Washington and Idaho for their attitude and efforts in cleaning up after the volcano. He said they had exhibited patriotism.

“After five days of misery, it’s gratifying to know we rate a pep talk from the president himself. Throughout it all, the Northwest has had the impression the rest of the country has not taken the crisis seriously. All weekend, the Miami riots took center stage on network television.

“Teamwork was the central theme of the president’s remarks. All levels of government must help in the cleanup, he urged, stressing that the bottom line is that the people must respond if everything is to come together.”

It continued: “Carter was right in observing that the farmer will be among the hardest hit by the volcanic eruption. Fittingly, he agreed to extend for one month the storage limit on wheat held under the federal loan program.”

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