Students in the 1950s learned only the core four subjects of English, math, science, social studies (which could include history, geography, and other related classes). Some students learned foreign lanuages as well. One major difference between our grandparents' education and ours is the lack of electives; today, students choose computer science, ceramics, and digital apps among many other electives to enrich their education and pursue their interests, but students in the 1950s didn't have many opportunities to take elective classes.
Another major difference doesn't have to do with the curriculum itself, but with the students that attended school. In the 1940s and early 1950s, colored students weren't offered the same opportunities as white students. Schools were segregated and colored communities were underserved. This only changed when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) petitioned the government and pushed the legislation that prohibited segregation in schools. Schools nowaways have students from many different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, whereas American schools during our grandparents' generation were segregated. Today, education quality isn't based on a student's race and students are encouraged to mingle with people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Schools also teach about racism, race-based inequalities, and what we can do to stop it.
A third difference is the influence of technology in education. Today, you can study online anytime you want and millions of resources are at your fingertips. One Google search will tell you what you need to know. For our grandparents, however, it wasn't as easy. They had to go to a library and find a book to use. If they wanted to learn outside of school hours, staying after school and going to the library were the only options. Many schools today also use apps and websites to provide extra resources, organize classwork, and assign homework - for example, our school district uses Schoology, a virtual learning environment, to assign classwork and post learning materials. Schools during our grandparents' generation didn't have this kind of technology. The use of technology in education is especially helpful during the pandemic since schools hold classes virtually and everything is done online.