Constitution, and our laws is tottering under a wave of
ridicule, lack of discipline, and general disorder.
Yesterday, a high school graduate was instructed in
moral values, proper behavior, English grammar, American history, civics, citizenship, geography, arithmetic, and
various other courses. He was a literate citizen. America
was proud of the product of her public schools.
Today, people are wondering why children with equal
intelligence are failing to respond with equal literacy.
They are disturbed with the lack of discipline and the
discourtesy permitted in the classroom. There is so much
pressure for conformance to the group that parents wonder
how long the individual child can maintain his individual
identity. Competition, the basis of our American society,
is threatened. Many critics believe that the schools are
thwarting all individual attainment and superior talent
and holding all children down to the lowest denominator.
Children go from grade to grade without accomplishing proficiency in the basic skills needed to fulfill the
requirements of the grades ahead. Some children in high
school are unable to read adequately or to spell. Foreign
languages are offered to children who have no foundation
in English grammar. What has happened?
JJorothy Thompson- discusses the merits of the educational system of yesterday; in contradiction of the modern
school theory on discipline, she says, "If anyone thinks
that absolutely certain punishments for certain prohibited
acts did not aid us in resisting temptation, or that the
punishments created a 'complex,' that person, it seems to
me, needs a little psychological analysis himself. We had
the emotional security of early learning the consequences
Concerning the emphasis on controversial topics in the
classroom, Dorothy Thompson says, "Characteristic of this
older form of education was its avoidance of the transient
and currently controversial. The pupil read the literature
that had stood the tests of ever-changing time. He was
not quizzed on the current Reader's Digest. The teacher
had little opportunity and no encouragement to indoctrinate the student with his own political and social ideas.
The child learned the history of his country and something
of the history of Western civilization factually. He read
and declaimed the speeches that had become landmarks
in American thought, and the literature that had characterized its phases and development. He thus imbibed the
spirit of America. This sort of teaching did not produce
conformists. It produced many rebels, and rebels who
knew what they were rebelling against. Today our rebels
are often the worst conformists of all - as though there
were any rebellion in joining the Young Communist
League in order thereafter to swallow blindly the Cospel
according to St. Stalin."
Harold L. Clapp of Grinnell College says, "As a parent,
I want to have my sons educated by teachers who themselves are broadly educated and kindled with the love of
learning. As an observer of teacher training and selection,
I see little likelihood that they will be so trained. The law
of averages and the professional educational theorists are
against us. For one thing, no dyed-in-the-wool Educationist really seems to believe that knowledge of a subject has
much to do with teaching that subject."
The Harvard report states: "Our point is that in a
proper scheme of liberal education, the man will acquire
the capacity to meet various problems in matters of health,
human relationships, and the like. In this view the educa-
Mary L. Allen,
and observer of
asserts: "There is
no question but that
the public schools
do belong to the
people of America.
and school administrators are employed and supported
by the people, the
should be considered."
tion of the mind leads to a maturing of the whole pel4
On any other view, the obvious danger is that schools w
set for themselves so inclusive an objective that they "'
fall far short of their main goal. The schools cannot »
everything. When thev attempt too many tasks tW
sometimes fail to do anv of them well."
Judge R. O. Wilson,'jr., of the Suffolk Probate C<4
of Massachusetts, says, "Boston Public Latin School 1"
discipline. Every student knows every day just what I
grades are. And he knows that if he fails a certain co<v\
he does not merely fail. He knows he must go to Sg ^
other school. In Boston Public Latin School, I — an"'
seemed, all the others — wanted to make good grades. j
felt it no disgrace to be smart." He observes that he
heard of too many high school graduates and college j I
dents who cannot spell or punctuate and have no ^
knowledge of history, Latin, and English.
A well-known personnel director in one of the oust*!
ing department stores in the Los Angeles area says tn'
employees frequently do not know their mathema*J
tables and therefore must make calculations on t",(
fingers. Girls come to work with no knowledge <»
alphabet. They don't seem to know what they read l
they are poor writers. Youth is bewildered. They s^
from an unrealistic approach to life. The sense of a cl
petitive spirit is lacking. There is a lack of knowleOK
to how the American business world functions. Preva'
is a strong desire for security instead of work.
Lewis Haney, professor of Economics in the Cra('"'
School of Business Administration at New York Univ'1'1'*,,
says that after twenty years the product of progi'(l-s. I
education "is coming home to roost. We are seeing *J
the progressive educators do to our children, and on
whole we don't like it. ,,
"It isn't merely that they can't write or spell, i'r ...
thev don't know history or geography. Worse than ,
we find them being taught a 'way of life' that tends ,u
hick ol respect for many respectable things such as h"'
Roman Catholic Bishop McGucken states, "('•''