What must be done; Education
Hello my name is Percy Sutton. I'm the president of the Manhattan in the city of New York. For the next 30 minutes I'll be moderating a different kind of panel program. It is one of a series called What must be done. The title of these programs what must be done has two meanings. First it poses a demand for urgent solution to America's greatest problem the crisis of the urban ghetto and the black community. But it also refers to what can be done and what must be done by you the listener because nothing stimulates action as effectively as the demand of an a Raul's population. This series of programs takes as its point of departure the A-Rod winning issue of Newsweek magazine published last November the 20th on the Negro in America. Today's topic is education. The members of our panel rar ASA Braun Elliot the editor of Newsweek
Jonathan Kozol teacher writer and specialist on ghetto schools and Dr. Ed your chip hero superintendent District Number three New York City Board of Education. May we stop with this dodge when Eliot the editor of Newsweek magazine most decidedly Yes sort of doing this special issue. Newsweek last November on the racial crisis in our country the deeper we got into it the more we found of course that it boils down to three essential problems namely jobs housing education and of these three in my opinion the most important in the long term is education because without education the jobs are not available. Without jobs the housing of isn't available without the housing in turn good schools in the right neighborhoods aren't available. This is the reason we're talking about education today. Education in my view in this highly competitive
society is the springboard. The open sesame and the launching pad. And with education it seems to me that this visual vicious cycle can be broken that with this is a long term project obviously although there are certain short term accelerated programs that can be implement. In the long term it seems to me that with education finally the jobs will be open and with the jobs the housing will be open them with the housing the schools in turn will be open. Seems to me that of all of these the most vital and the most basic areas to talk about is the one we're talking about today which is education starts but you believe that education is basic to any change in the American situation with regard to the ghetto in the black community. A person who has done some writing and has done some studying and considered no party with regard to get your education is Mr Jonathan Kozol who is a trustee of
Boston's community run new school for children. Mr Kozel. But I think you know the thinking of the one Mr. Elliott has just said you know that the place where change is going to have to come from the long run is going to be the school. My first question is you know how can we bring into a classroom into a school building into a into a whole school administration some kind of a confidence that the world will not go to pieces if it does change. My feeling is that is that education public education particularly in America for quite a long while has really has really not looked at anything whether it was a social studies or literature or physics or any other area. As if as if rapid and unceasing change were built in element of the of the of the subject and so you look at social
whether whether you're talking about black children or white you look at things in social studies that's the way they always were. You look at Switzerland and you say what are Swiss children like Swiss children where curious letters sure have a funny short blonde hair. You know what are black children in Nigeria like black children in Nigeria where you know where where. Peculiar kind of clothes and have bare feet you know here and here I'm not even updating it. Even when it's updated still this this sense of status and and fear oblivion of change remains constant. I'd like to you know I'd like to talk in one way about curriculum how we can how we can begin to look at anything in school with children as if change transformation intelligent revolution should be. It might be not merely acceptable but
desirable because we're talking about change but. What is his position now. Where are we now owe him to go to a sports education is considering is our position one of strength or. If administrators were aware of the of the caliber and temperament of Dr. Shapiro and I think I could be more optimistic but unfortunately this just isn't the case I think we're. I don't like to use a term which seems so hopeless as weakness but I think we're at a point where the prospects seem quite grim and where it is going to take more than more than patch up methods more than Band-Aids more indeed than a single summer project even even an exciting summer project such as the suggested reading somewhere that Newsweek has talked about. It's going to take something much more revolutionary than that to make the difference. And I'm to I'm talking about you
know enormous overturning of the whole tone and temperament of curriculum and. At the same time an enormous and massive newest on the whole problem of integrating school systems and thirdly subject which I suppose is most on people's minds right now. You know a massive inroad of community influence community can community voice within the public schools. Soon Mr. causal speaks is a noted educator Dr. Shapiro is from the city of New York. He is now the superintendent of District 3 of The New York City school system there are a number of districts in New York City school system. But before becoming Sunita district number three which happened to be in the bereavement how we got to see the pure raw skin the whole of the area he was formerly a principal of Public School Number One 19 in Manhattan. Dr. Shapiro thank you Mr Kozel raises of course a very
important point and the important point actually is the revolutionary need for change in the curriculum. But the real question I think involved here is whether or not there isn't a curriculum behind the curriculum as it were. And it's the curriculum actually of the educators around the country. And unfortunately that curriculum is a curriculum that has no relevancy to the Times and specially It doesn't have a relevancy to the times because the times are moving very very rapidly but I do believe it almost never had a relevancy to the times when I'm saying I think it's best that on the whole we in education and I will accept some of this blame too because I participated in some ways and in some measure this way too. We in education though we very seldom touch the realities the realities especially if they are grim are almost never touched. Let us say that we in education deal very hotly at all let's say with the housing problems of the people in the poor neighborhoods we in education dealt hardly at all with the let's say the job opportunities and a lack of job
opportunities in the poorer neighborhoods. We dealt almost not at all with the health needs of the people of the poorer neighborhoods. In some ways then despite the fact that we as educators if I may use that term have lived in an era of jewelry and and post you know when he when he talked about the whole child we. And even though we talked about the whole child we almost we related not only not to the whole child we didn't relate to the child at all because we didn't relate to him in his living. I think what is necessary joining with Mr. Kozo on this. I think what is necessary certainly is a revolutionary change but the change has to come in the relationship of the educators the teaching profession and a changing relationship with the teaching profession to the community and I think perhaps we if I can help make any appeal to the listeners here may I speak first to the teachers and suggest to the teachers that unless we begin to go into the community and join with the community in common aspirations about a common endeavor namely the education of our
children we deserve all the opprobrium that we will get. You know Dr. Shapiro mentions education seldom touches the realities. Now the realities of the getaway are that it appears it is more difficult to educate a ghetto child because a certain socioeconomic conditions that exist in the ghetto in writing this series of new stars from you apparently became aware of the problems of the ghetto child educate us Dr. Shapiro mentioned the problems of the health conditions of the ghetto. How will the broken family condition of the ghetto all the things that make it difficult for the ghetto child to receive an education. We're obviously all of these things are tremendously interwoven goes to the three basics that I talked about earlier in a moment jobs housing education these are in a world in the same way that the child's family life is interwoven with its school experience I don't pretend to be any expert a little on the you know on the
process of educating children much less ghetto children but it seems to me that what Dr. Shapiro services is a very meaningful. The suggestion that teachers do somehow communicate with their community know children better than they do know. My question to that is is this a failing of how teachers are taught. In some ways it is a failing of how teachers are taught in other ways I might might say that it's pretty hard for people who live outside of the school as a Where in the neighborhood around the school and especially in a poor neighborhood it's pretty hard for them to realize that teachers on the whole have never really been citizens not only of the community or of the neighborhood around the school but they actually have been citizens within the school either on the hurdle you might say despite the fact that teaches college graduates that they come let's say in Kai's to the schools they are situated there and then in the poor neighborhood go away at the end of a day go
perhaps to the middle income or genteel poverty districts displayed where I live this and the spite the fact that they look relatively read think we're secure with secure jobs despite all of this. The teachers teachers really have never had a voice really in the philosophy of a school. And only now is it possible for teachers to have voices in the philosophy of schools in various places around the country because they have strongly organized. But we have a very unfortunate. Phenomenon that has just occurred as the teachers organize and began to feel empowered and as the poorer communities organize and begin to feel empowered. They seem to have confronted one another instead of that instead of joining hands in a common operation. And what has happened is this I think that at first as one as when each group develops its power each group in developing its power as a hothouse plant. And because it's a hothouse plant if it receives recrimination from the other group it then we act so defensively that it can't be creative. I think this has happened here in New York and I think it's happening around the country.
But despite that I think there is some reason for optimism and the reason for optimism is simply this. It's much better to have an argument an open argument in which passion is displayed than to keep everything concealed and never really touch the reality. Now with the passions displayed I do hope partially as a function of this of this broadcast but partially as a function of many other endeavors by us. Other persons who are interested objective and yet subjectively involved in one way or another. I do hope that we will be able now to come to have a joining together on that common enterprise in which I spoke because the vested interest is not only similar but identical the teacher and the parent have the same vested interest and one vested interest for us is the one common enterprise that one can go into at this point is a fact that educational budget has been curtailed the type 1 monies have been curtailed. Why can't we join together and work together to not only remove that could tail me but actually have an explanation and I am concerned I am absolutely convinced that as teachers and parents work together for the
first time in something that is of so basic and the importance of the lives of the children we would find that the teachers and the parents begin to develop a very fine new human relationships. We see already some beginning of that that despite the fact that teachers were resistant I might say to the to the fact that teacher aides paraprofessionals were coming into the schools in the first scene to feel embarrassed and even suspicious of the paraprofessionals. Now we see close relationships developing because they've worked together in a common enterprise and I don't think we on a more generalized scale this could be of basic importance seen to persons with any high you stare. Mr Editor in chief of Newsweek thank you both. Step Beyond. That it is much to ask for and yet never seen dark as you see here earlier in history Jonathan Kozol who is from Boston who is a trustee of the community run schools their mission of the initiative force is how can we bring into the school
into a classroom some confidence that the world would not go to pot if there is change. Obviously there's a need for change in the educational system. And right here in the city of New York in which there's probably more than you need today there's concern about the change that is seeking to take place that is a change from a large central school system to a community operated school system and there is great protest on the part of the teachers who will see in this change that is a community domination. See in this change in security for them centers are now district of Boston doctor is to course all what are you doing there how do you secure the teachers and their positions on that. They're not hostile to this change in the educational process. Well we have got a small but notable success in this in this pilot project in the Boston. Well it makes it different from the from the situation in New York and other cities where teachers have
gotten frightened. And many teachers I'm afraid will resist the implication of what I'm saying but my my own feeling is that the teachers are more comfortable and less threatened in the end. In our special situation in the New School in Boston because the parents have in fact not less but more control they have so much control that they are effectively the trustee of the institution there are only a few outsiders such as myself who are involved. They have so much control that they also have pride in effective operation and the daily routine and the success the reputation of the school. It is not to their advantage to come in day after day and mess things up and make trivial complaints. They do not want to have teachers quitting. They do not want to have teachers running scared. They want the teachers to be comfortable because if the teachers are comfortable the children will be comfortable in it. If there is that kind of atmosphere the success will redound to their
own to their own reputation. So you know one one thing that I'm I would hazard based admittedly on a single example is that with more intelligent authority the parents will exert far less trivial interference. It might be hard to sell some teachers on this but for that I think you know we've got to go back to a deeper problem which is. You know how are we going to get to the teacher soon. I hate to say this but I think in many cases it's too late once the teacher has been you know involved in this routine is defensiveness the familiar faculty room dialogue about what to say to parents and how to talk about how to talk to them when they come out to discuss the report. This is this almost paranoia that's built in. What I'd like in order to be as concrete as possible what I'd like to suggest is that maybe some very drastic steps have got to be taken at the education college level you know
almost immediately for example for example just as there's a single specific project I want to stop. Giving so many of these sociological seminars on the problems of the culturally deprived and I hope the listener can hear the quotation marks around the phrase because I don't like it. And instead instead of you know discussing it's always from the outside why not have the people while they're in school rather in the Teachers College before they got out of the classroom. Hold some of these seminars out in the ghetto with black people with militant people with edgy people with very angry people if they can possibly be found because if you're going to run into that three years later in the classroom in a you know in an edgy and malevolent looking child you might as well learn how to deal with it early and perhaps be able to prevent its development. Once you're there. Maybe only the ritual of going into the ghetto for your
classes will will make you a lot more comfortable. You know the day that you go into that school I think one of the best things that ever happened to me the day I walked into the Boston Public Schools was the fact that five kids who had seen me doing this in their neighborhood walk through my room and wave to me. You know there might be all sorts of other mysteries at stake but this sense that I was already safe and because of what is the first holding this in my heart. That he didn't kill. And does not believe that he is or her child is being properly educated. Is it a fact that they get to parent did not believe that the teachers relate and know the problems of the ghetto community and may I just interject here Mr Antietam stock for next year. Is this what you found in the course of getting together the November 20th 1967 edition are from the Newsweek magazine with regard to the ghetto conditions did you find that the ghetto parent did not relate
to the teacher who was teaching in the ghetto. Well they got some sort of William Clark factor here is Dr. Shapiro those I'm just I'm not sure that it's different when compared with the relationships of white non ghetto parents considers. Yes I kind of agree with you on the whole teachers have and I think as I kind of try to indicate at the very beginning teachers haven't involve themselves with their communities. They haven't because in some way whether stated or unstated the teachers have learned that it's quite dangerous to involve oneself with a community in the past they have learned it and they've learned that it's dangerous not so much because the community makes things dangerous but they've learned that the establishment makes makes what danger. Let me give a possible example. If for instance a teacher in a community that's economically distressed were to develop a social studies lesson in regard to the democratic processes of our governmental you out of
society would indicate that Miss is the will of the people as sovereign and then a little youngster in the front raises hand say. Mr Smith if if we're really all that powerful why can't I get why can't we get he house in the middle of February and Miss Smith might say well did you call the building department. Did you call the Board of Health. Bring us up will present. But he says he did not. And he begins to look askance at the teacher for making the suggestions that it talk to the landlord. Can't find the land they can't find the agent for the land look only confined only to Janet pays the money to the agent who pays the money as it were to occur to the landlord and the teacher is now left with a real problem here I've been teaching a lesson stating that the people are sovereign obviously of people and not at all sovereign for even a small item like this. We can't accomplish anything. Now let's suppose been the teachers as we look at try to develop something effective in regard to it. We will locate
somehow the agent and let us suppose she does Miss Smith does locate the agent and she says and she calls the agent and the agent does nothing about it he even denies any relationship to the property. I'm talking about a real instance and the teacher then goes back to the class and as we pick up the agent's house that will embarrass him. Now that's the consummation as it were of a very interesting unit. Let us say in the in the curriculum it's a very realistic consummation because actually it will provide heat relief for that child in that house and for the rest of the house. But of course the teacher will hear from the principal who will it will have heard from the assistant superintendent will who will have heard from the superintendent of schools that this might well be conduct unbecoming a teacher. Now if Miss Smith read Mr Smith at this point she would he would have realized that his career line was about finished. Miss Smith might not have been that interested in the career line but if she were a probationary teacher she would have some difficulty being in that school in the next year. Now it is that kind of thing somewhat dramatically put your say. That makes for odd and for a
great feeling of underlying feeling that they had to deal with the relevancy is to deal with to deal with what is dangerous and I suggest it is no longer that dangerous for Deja's because they're organized. Unfortunately the changes and the newly organized as it were up parents are finding the wrong opponent the opponent in some ways is the largest society. Perhaps the society in Washington that keeps you might say been a down to a minimum. You know throughout the country we're talking about caring government through the people we have met the people for to see. Paid in deciding their own destiny that what we need to do is to dull the sense of power and the powerlessness and this applies especially to the ghetto and any caring of the government of the people is a suggestion of decentralization. We here in New York and this is a national program and in Los Angeles the problems are rising as well. We're talking about getting the good people in the ghetto ole governor and school system in the city of New
York. We have one mammoth school system where there are more than one million youngsters in the school system. There's been a suggestion recently that we should break up the school system into 20 to 30 organized community school districts there has been a strong outcry by the teachers against us auditing some of there been some allegations of racism that if we did give the community this power of the school system that white teachers would be driven out of the school system. And I move now to you Mr. Jonathan course all because the community does run a school system in the community from which you come in Boston you're a trustee Have you seen the tendency on behalf of the community to run the teachers out. Now I really haven't. And you know it seems to me you know by rights I mean you know I dare say there are situations where we know there have been in the past and certainly in decades past when when when a
parent communities often of a very different political orientation instituted witch hunts against vulnerable and helpless teachers and this I suppose is one place where there is this fear on the part of the teaching profession developed. And this I suppose is one of the things which was responsible for the instituting of tenure. But Dr. Shapiro said a few minutes ago in this regard for the first time it ought to be possible for the for the for the parent community and the militant teachers to work together and not to see each other as antagonists. I would agree with everything except the phrase the first time it has happened before and it's happened in recent memory. Could we remember it. It was during the process right now seems a distant historic moment the freedom movement during the freedom movement throughout the country. But above all in the south also in many northern cities including my own. Suddenly they sprang up those impromptu freedom schools. Some of them were first time for a couple of weeks or summer.
Some of them were after school tutorial programs and some were later financed by the war on poverty you know. Most of those programs you had a high percentage of volunteers but you also had plenty of professional teachers and some very decent who would come and come there after work and in those programs if you were there as I was for a year you so are professional teachers suddenly letting down their professional dignity and finding a new kind of dignity as comfortably human beings you'd see them after they finished the two hours of reading tutoring at night sitting in the kitchen of the neighborhood church with the mother and father the child drinking coffee and talking about where that child was going. You see the same teacher two days later dropping in on Sunday afternoon with her bright friend to have dinner with those parents. Now something good was happening there. It doesn't have to be for the first time. But we have to do is institutionalize within our public schools the spirit which pervaded the freedom movement in America and make our
public education into freedom schools. He apparently has disturbed the teachers and the public at large. As we talk about decentralizing and giving to the community of how to operate his own operate their own schools and outside of the city of New York incidentally in the rest of New York State the communities do operate their own schools. I frankly think however to the majority population has been the thought that a good deal of black militancy that is those backed militants who want to teach Negro history black history are going to take over the school system and they're going to develop a sense of racism now. Tell me gentleman do you feel it is important to the black community that black children know something about a heritage to develop a better self image. Is this a one answer just be a part of the curriculum. I believe that this is a very basic importance it is necessary particularly for the black community to know more about its racial heritage. It's more necessary for the black community than for any other community primarily because the black community was kept
from any knowledge of its racial heritage by what must be considered the conspiracy of the say the 5th 16th 17th 18th and so on centuries I guess the white community and its Christian Judeo Christian conscience. I wanted to keep away from the black community any knowledge of its heritage so that the and from itself to from the white community to any knowledge of its heritage so that the white community could say See that group of people is an inferior group of people because it never accomplished anything. Helen from a family which of course is untrue. Mr. Osmond will indorse Dr. Shapiro's remarks on those and only add to them the suggestion that waits would similarly profit by education. Glen Bolger Yes I think you're quite right. Course I Percy Sutton have been involved in this quite a long time happened to be black myself. Happening to people that I see having to be back in our youth or having at my dinner have been quite concerned I think it's very important that we have a
teaching of black culture because for so long we've had so Bill appreciation of that which we have developed. Gentlemen unfortunately we've had only cursory examination of the problems here on education in the ghetto community but our time has come to an end. The planning we've had with us questions to our battalion whose energy and keep love Newsweek magazine down at the end here Shapiro was superintendent of 53 of the Board of Education in the city of New York Mrs. Jonathan Kozol who is a trustee of the community run school in Boston Massachusetts. This concludes today's edition of 12 must be done. We hope that you'll find a stimulating as well as in writing then most of all you will take advantage of some of the suggestions made for actions that you can undertake. Please listen for the next program in this series we will call another aspect of America's urban crisis. What must be done was created introduced by Sam chase like the radio in New York in cooperation with Newsweek magazine by Percy Sutton saying thank you for
- What must be done
- Producing Organization
- WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- For series info, see Item 3635. This prog.: Osborn Elliott, editor of Newsweek magazine; Jonathan Kozol, author; Dr. Elliott Shapiro, New York City Dist. 3 School Superintendent. In previous program, Farmer is founder of CORE.
- Social Issues
- Media type
Producing Organization: WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-37-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “What must be done; Education,” 1968-09-12, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 7, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-222r8m9q.
- MLA: “What must be done; Education.” 1968-09-12. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 7, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-222r8m9q>.
- APA: What must be done; Education. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-222r8m9q