Special Reports

Prosser principal contends cars are bad for good grades in 1959

Prosser story on school survey of car-ownership draws notice

This story on a school survey of car-ownership among students drew national interest to Prosser at the time the state was considering raising the driving age.

Published on February 18, 1959

By the Herald staff

PROSSER-- A recent survey conducted by Prosser High School which revealed that junior and senior students with the lowest grades own the most cars, has brought numerous letters and phone calls to Edwin T. Anderson, principal.

The story, released by Anderson, was carried by press wires and from all reports, it has become a topic of conversation throughout the nation.

Anderson has since been contacted by the Time-Life reporter in Seattle. He told Anderson the story of the survey would be featured in Time magazine.

One letter was received from State Sen. John A. Petrich of the 26th District who is co-sponsor of Senate Bill No. 359, raising the driver age limit to 18 with certain exemptions.

"I am neither for or against Bill No. 359," said Anderson.

The survey showed that out of 69 seniors 11 percent of the A-B group had their own cars (and not the family car); 33 percent of the C group own cars; and 62 percent of the below C group own cars.

Among the 92 juniors answering the questionnaires, no A-B students own cars; 31 percent of the C group own cars; and 39 percent of the below C group own cars.

The survey was made among 161 junior and senior students, Anderson said. There are 296 three-year high school students.

Information revealed in the survey classified the students in three groups. Each group showed how many times per week they drive to school, number of students living in town, those having driver's licenses, number taking driver education and behind the wheel training, and number who own their own cars.

A similar survey in Rexburg, Idaho revealed more startling results than the Prosser survey. At Rexburg there were no straight A students who had the use of a car. Only 15 percent of B students had the use of a car while 41 percent of the C students drove to school. Of the D students, 71 percent had cars and 83 percent of the failing students drove to school.

Anderson said the University of Virginia recently banned all students, who owned cars, from the campus because of the adverse effect on scholarship. Also, Princeton University has forbidden car privileges for students since before 1945.