An educator's credo
I think you should know a little bit about me. My experience has taken me across the country I'm one of the few school superintendents who can truthfully say I. Served. All the way from Maine to California. My experiences run the gamut as I indicated to you from a first grade teacher to a rural schoolteacher to an elementary school principal to the school superintendent say. In the metropolitan area of New York City. In the rural South. Now in the very beautiful city of Berkeley. I don't regret the path I have taken. I'd like to chat with you a little bit about it today. I think you also should know that my life began in an impoverished downgraded. Angry Irish ghetto.
It took me through the stages of the American dream. Now who a fine Hill house in Berkeley. Mine was an immigrant heritage and some of yours I'm sure must have been also. But my skin is white and that has made a profound difference in my opportunities. Not long ago. And I know many of you are from the area. The second anniversary of a very unhappy event. Took place in California and I'm talking about what. About a year ago. Hunter's Point erupted right on the door steps to to this hotel. In this summer 49 inner city ghettos boiled over in a backlash of unreasonable. But understandable anger against traditional red white hostility indifference and
arrogance. I must add here that lots of nice things happened in the United States yesterday and I think the nicest thing was that. Mrs. Louise Hicks was resigned do you think. There is no place in American cities for a racist particularly in city hall. My only hope is that she resigned from the Boston Board of Education along the way because that would help. Now it does not take a genius to recognize. That if the chain of broken promises lip service to equality in community and education continues we can expect we can expect a civil war in ghetto streets. That's easy to predict. A chronic chronic and worsening slum blight haunts our cities. If you don't believe it take a trip in any direction. Try West Oakland. How can we
as citizens teachers help blast through the blight and renew the American dream in this generation. How can we help cure a mighty sick establishment. How can we bring the children a message of hope. The children you have before you every day. How can we provide them with the tools to solve the overwhelming problems of this world. These are some of the critical questions we must ask ourselves and each other. Before we start talking today about curriculum. And then we must realize that the problems are universal in Paramount. That they exist not only in Watts and in hundreds point but they also exist in the hilly area in the flat area and they exist in Michigan and New York and Maine. Therefore in the beginning we must pass the critical and overriding question. Can these questions be solved in separation and
segregation. Can there be hope in knowledge and technology without direction toward human end. The crisis we face has been growing for a long long time. Their consequences are grave indeed. But as in most human endeavor only by facing these kinds of desperate challenges can the needed energy be gathered and United. With these we can create the French social economic educational cultural patterns required by our times. Lewis Mumford said this quite a few years ago. He said it this way. Is life becomes insurgent once more in our civilization. In conquering a reckless thrust of barbarism. The culture of cities will be both instrument and go all at one in the same time. Let me reassure you these will not be racially
separated ghettos. They must be metropolitan communities linking city and suburb. Into human entities. Interracial. In her class with education tailored to the new realities. If educators are not among the leaders towards this inevitable direction then we will be deserve to be replaced by braver smarter professionals and there are all sorts of organizations who would be very happy to replace people like me and other school administrators who run this establishment. Only recently the mayor of Jersey City New Jersey asked the Ford company to take over the running of the schools. We only have to look in California camp parks where Litton Industries is running Job Corps. We haven't done well. Industry would take over and labor would take over the church would be happy to take all the forests
we need to do a better job. Do a better job though I'm convinced we need help. And many of you know I was elected superintendent of schools in Detroit. Just a few months ago. It was in 1966. Many were surprised that I didn't go there. There were lots of conditions that were. You know that were nice. Why didn't I go. I waited until the day of the election when the people of Detroit were going to vote on a tax increase to provide some money so you could do something in in in the city of Detroit. Some of you are from there. And one thing you cannot be is proud of the schools of Detroit. They are in chaotic condition. And the young man who graduated from them we don't drop out of Northern High School and the young women. There's
no place to go. There are no junior colleges so the next day they were going to vote in Detroit on the tax election to see if we could get the money to get things rolling. And vote on junior colleges the people of Detroit overwhelmingly defeated both issues not for the first time. So this summer when Mayor Kavanagh our and Governor Romney went on the. Television programs across the country and they said we can't understand what happened in Detroit because we've done everything we possibly could. Maybe they had but the people who lived in Detroit hadn't done everything they could any more than the people in Oakland who voted down five tax selections out of five in the last few years. They're not doing their part either. I'm not suggesting that the riots of Detroit took place because of defeated tax selections in poor schools. I am suggesting it contributed. I see here and there around the country and
changes in it's delightful. What took place yesterday. In that's fine. And I see in this room now which is normal the lifting of a skeptical eyebrow. As if to say you know there goes THAT SON OF A again with his. Bust out of the ghetto dramatics. Let me make several things clear right now. First. I do not exaggerate the ghetto feelings. Nathan Cohen coordinator of the of the Los Angeles study. Undertaken immediately after the Watts. Situation made these observations. First up to 15 percent of the negro adult population are about 22000 people were active at some point in the Watts rioting in more than a spectator role. Second.
In additional 35 to 40 percent of the negro adult population were active spectators to the disturbance. Third young people were much more active than older people. Fourth men were more active than women but young women were far more active than middle aged or older men. Fifth support for the riot was as great among the relatively well-educated. In economic economically advantaged persons as among the poorly educated in economically disadvantaged in the curfew area. 6 support for the riot was as great among relatively longtime residents of the South Central Los Angeles area as it was among recent migrants from the south. 7th. About 35 percent of the sample studied were favorable toward the riot. 8 while the majority expressed disapproval of the
violence and destruction this was often cuff coupled with an expression of empathy with the motives of those who participated are a sense of pride that the negro had brought worldwide attention to his problem. Nine. Thirty eight percent of the curfew area population felt that the riot would help the negro cause. Intense. Study of the white population in the metropolitan area showed 71 percent were certain that the event would hurt the negro. The majority showed great fear about one third of the whites considered using firearms. About 12 percent either bought guns or already had them. Pretty riot conditions in Watts reflected the gamut of social problems inherent in the river in the slum ghetto. They lacked employment housing educational health welfare and recreational services. Post riot action has been positive but too
slow. In a period crying for rapid change. Meanwhile. The Negro community itself is increasingly deaf divided itself about equally. Into the traditionalists the militance and the survivalist. Now as Nick Glass Katz and that put it the most dangerous agitators in the ghettos are. Not people. But disease and desperation joblessness and hopelessness. I submit that as we move educationally there must be a dialogue with representatives of all poor people on Negro opinion. And action groups. The question of jobs should be first on the agenda. We can't talk curriculum when we've got tens of thousands unemployed and hungry. High on the list must be. Neighborhood blight in all its forms. Welfare in police
malpractises real or imagined. In this whole process the white community must give tin uing can't give them evidence. Of its commitment to tackle the prime social educational problems of this day. Racial discrimination in segregation in Parvati. And the educational reality matches the ghetto reality. You've seen perhaps worked in perhaps attended the schoolhouse in the inner city. In many of you I'm sure left those schools either today or yesterday. It is a slum like monstrosity be fitting the slums. Typically its program like its was corridors an asphalt playgrounds a prison like in the children parents and the teachers crippled by the ghetto fellow prisoners. Traditionally
tired methods. Middle class teaching styles practiced by teachers recruited from the middle class. Trained in middle class dominated university programs and led by middle class administrators and boards of education. Are shackles that must be destroyed before we can hope to build. A successful curriculum for on young children. Two men in you've read him I'm sure writing in Saturday Review just a few days ago. Said this. It seems undeniable if recent research findings are to be believed that the schools of America are in urgent need of a fundamental reappraisal. In that an equally basic change in our modes of thought regarding student's curriculum and teachers is the first order of business. Two men also talks about curriculum in this article calling it a hot topic in educational circles.
There is talk and talk of curriculum reform. Horizontal and vertical coordination planning and integrating from kindergarten through grade 12. Even preschool through junior colleges mirthfulness cliches being said Danley by all of us. To numerous questions are identical with mine and they go like this. What do we want our children to become. Why do we want our children to come to value. For what do we want them to learn to get pleasure. Whether we want them to understand about themselves in the world of nature and man. How do we want them to be to behave toward other human beings. To what do we want them to be inclined to commit themselves. What technical abilities do we wish to cultivate in them. Before you answer those questions I would report to you. That last night's Board of
Education meeting I grew tired of people who wanted to know what the achievement level of these children were tested by outmoded devices. It seems that our people today want to measure the effectiveness of our curriculum in our schools on achievement test results alone. We must resist these efforts and speak out against them. Sure we wrote the achievement test results why not. But let's talk too about attitudes. Our tools and technology must be dedicated to these kinds of questions that I've just raised in the teacher must be freed to join us. The parents and the students in finding the answers. The best of teachers the ideal curriculum the shiny plant. Some of you come from those the fabulous technology. All go down the drain in segregated schools. That has been well documented by the Coleman
report on the quality of educational opportunity in the more recent Civil Rights Office report of which I'm proud to be one of the coauthors racial isolation in America's public schools. My own experience in the free schools of Prince Edward County Virginia. In the public schools of Berkeley California convinced me if I needed any convincing I want to chat with you a little bit about those schools in Prince Edward County Virginia the chairman indicated I wrote a book about them I did. But let me tell you just a few things. It took our courts to begin with a decade to decide closing the Prince Edward County schools to avoid desegregation was indeed a violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th and that amendment is really rather hard to understand that it took 10 years to decide
that particular case. Meanwhile for four years the Negro children of this county where I worked. Were denied schooling or even the traditional inferior segregated variety. They weren't dropouts. They were a lock us phone rang the year 1963 sixteen hundred negroes in four white children attended the private Prince Edward County free schools under the auspices of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Francis Keppel from the U.S. Office of Education. This effort to appear other damage was spearheaded by the late great President John F. Kennedy. And I was honored to serve as the superintendent of those schools. Despite the difficulties of starting a school system from scratch on three weeks notice in a hotbed of racial hate. Sixteen hundred negro youngsters were in their seats on that morning on September
16. There were many pluses in this program. Money was no object. Fifteen hundred dollars was available for each pupil plus all sorts of gifts in kind. A carefully picked totally committed interracial staff of teachers specialist an administrator to operate as a team. To bring the best and teaching style. Materials technology to the children. Class size was tailored to individual needs major focus was on reading and reading skills. And we found that phonetics was just part of what reading is all about. You know I grow tired of hearing reports from the state capital that all we should look for are in our reading book our phonics. I think we've got to look for a lot of other things in these. Now law schools there were never closed day nor night Saturdays no
Sundays they were kept open for the people. Field trips and travels to all parts of the Eastern Seaboard including the United Nations and the nation's capital into the White House were the order of the day. On the face of it. Much was accomplished. On the average students made two years progress in one. It took the less favorite rural ghetto children for years to make half the average progress made by the Free School Negro students in one year. Twenty three graduates were admitted to college. That same year. The children were inspired by their distinguished sponsors. I was always nice to think that Jackie would drop in on you. And they were fired with zeal increasing self-confidence. The free schools represented the best in ghetto education the best in compensatory education that's ever been tried in the United States.
They the free schools were the inspiration for the development of the national teachers corps. However the children were human not superhuman. The average income of their parents was fifteen hundred dollars a year dismally low even by ghetto standards. There was a heritage of segregation deprivation and insult. On top of that they had been shut out for for triva boom years from any educational opportunity. Dr Bob Greene and many of you know him because he married a San Francisco girl Many comes back here often and he's now the research director at the University of Michigan State University in Lansing examined this whole process for us looking at academic achievement before and after the experience. And they also looked at attitudes aspirations and self concepts. There was improvement both in measured intelligence in
academic achievement but never near the national average in the older the children the last the progress academic aspirations self-concept attitude towards school likewise up and down the line showed remarkable improvement. After the program. The youngsters entered the now desegregated public schools courtesy of the United States Supreme Court. Actually this was de facto segregation as usual. Almost no right whites remained and now when the public schools even the four were to leave expenditures per pupil dropped from fifteen hundred dollars to the county average of two hundred fifty dollars. The children returned to their normal rate of reluctant learning in a rural ghetto setting. Someone had cared for one brief exciting year. It was a year of shot lived. Inspiration in
hope. And now the Berkeley experience is in the free school. Berkeley socked the poor get all children up by the bootstraps through compensatory education. Headstart following through the full complement of enrichment remedy an experiment. We tried individual tutoring perceptive counseling team teaching non graded programs some of the people who created in directed these programs are in this room today. And we've been zeroing in on reading now for over three years in Berkeley so the results are. Negligible. And like the Free School student body Berkeley's Negro students are urban better US educationally and economically. Their educational opportunities were not snuffed out but rather have been continuously improved. The school system itself has
been partially segregated since 1964. Latest reading test scores of Berkeley's segregated negro elementary schools show almost no gain from the previous year. All were significantly gone to the district average. All were from several months to six months under the gains made in the racially mixed four girls schools in from six months to a year. Under those in the predominantly white hills schools. This after three years of continuing compensatory education four years of strong emphasis on reading both developmental and remedial three years of headstart in special small class sizes. We are proud over there to say that we think we have the smallest pupil teacher ratios in any of California cities. The pattern of Chey of achievement remains as it has been traditionally the children from south and west Berkeley. Are
approximately a year behind those in the hill schools as they begin school. By the time they reach the sixth grade they have lost another additional year. The other side of the coin has been documented nationally now by the Coleman report results of a six year evaluation of that program indicated that the Negro students attending the former upper class white schools are achieving far more than those who attended the segregated central city school. Those who have been in integrated schools since the first grade are doing better than those who started in segregated schools run thing we know. Sure it's better that we integrate late than never but the time to win the great is when they're young and early and I want to come back to that over and over the White Plains study certainly reveal that. But the Komen in other studies have done nationally Berkeley is validating for itself by its own evaluation right here in the Bay Area.
A secondary school reorganization a step established too. It's de segregated junior high schools and we've got a few. Reports I want to make to you now on these students and faculty who experienced the reorganization. I've accepted it in stride. Attitude toward teachers counselors and school programs. Fellow students and other races are increasingly positive as time goes on in the truck trauma of change recede. They said that their rights would run away from Berkeley that we'd make it into a negro city if we moved on integration. It just didn't happen at all. Instead for the first time in 10 years whites returned to Berkeley instead of running away. The answer is that if you do it right and if you retain the quality of the in the context of quality education. This thing on integration can be made successful. And accepted
and approved by the white establishment and by white. Citizens. More significantly for over a year and a half. Berkeley has been busing Negro school students from overcrowded segregated schools in the south to the underuse foothills schools and we have at least one of those principals in the room today. And a little bit on that program. Throughout all of this we have found that these bussed youngsters are doing academically a better job than their brothers and sisters who are left behind in the ghetto. They're receiving class students and this is what the Caucasians worry about what's going to happen to my little white girl. Well nothing happened to her at all she just had another neighbor. She had another person in the room so she can learn to love appreciate and understand her achievement level didn't slow down. She just went right on achieving the attitude and stuff parents and student toward the project project continued
overwhelmingly favorable. Last weekend here in San Francisco at the U.S. medical school there was a symposium on hostility aggression in violence. And it focused on the ghetto. Speaker after speaker farmer Louis Lomax to burn a Diamond spoke as one to the white community. They agree that the lies the broken promises the packages developed by experts for the poor own good must cease. We must listen to the people. At church meetings in bars on street corners. We must join with the ghetto community and together to develop programs in every field of need from their experience and their demands. Their management and their talents must contribute in full free measure to this enterprise. This means the end of tokenism and economic opportunity programmes. It must mean the end of
token open housing in urban renewal. It must mean the end of double standards of the law enforcement. The finish of those employment programs which are for demeaning jobs to get our youth and adults these programs bring me the hope of training for a career. Nor do they make it anybody's worthwhile to forsake the welfare rolls. It must mean the end of these things. First we have to find the direction to those most forgotten most young and aged in most angry as a prelude to the necessary overhaul of our whole society and not just education. We cannot accept the onus for all the ills of society. We can only accept some of them. Without this honest approach to those in our communities who have been forgotten. We are whistling in the dark when we talk about curriculum reform
specifies some basic directions which can be taken in interracial and into class partnership. I guide to the future in human affairs is the bridge to a successful curriculum for all. The guide must mobilize the home community with all of the knowledge and technology at our command. First priority has to be the end of segregation and discrimination by race and class in employment housing politics business as well as in public schools. This must mean not just employment for the unemployed but job opportunities which become pathways to new careers. It must mean subsidizing minority enterprises both in and out of the ghetto. It should mean an annual guaranteed wage for both employed and the unemployed. Modeled on the ruther plan in acceptance by portions of the auto industry and led by Ford. That program could be supplemented
by a negative income tax. A crowding to a proposal recently made by Professor Craig. At the University of California. Under this negative income tax those whose incomes were under party levels would report this to Internal Revenue officials and receive income tax in reverse. Private and public sectors of the economy should be mobilized to provide jobs for all of our people. This would mean immense implications for tying educational programs to realities of the community need it were the up to the schools to relate educational education directly to careers and jobs providing many of the career opportunities in education itself. And I hope all of you are privileged to have in your schools hundreds and hundreds of teacher aides. The parents of poor children. The experience in Berkeley has that we should have done it years and years ago. Not only for the parents
more important for the child and even more important for the classroom teachers. Fair Housing at premium prices is not enough without broad and scattered low cost housing in city and suburb. Both for ownership and rental segregating housing will continue in the long run this would defeat the purposes of school desegregation. In politics major change should be considered not to ensure the representation of racial minorities and of all social classes in the federal state and local legislative bodies. It shouldn't be headlines in history when we elect a negro mayor. It should be the honor of the day in America to elect the most competent the most dedicated individual and I hope that day is about to dawn. This might mean the development of a system of proportional representation to ensure a vital interation in a cross role in government.
The whole educational establishment must be a leading component. In the preparation for our. Institution of overdue social economic political and cultural change. I do not believe the US should. Be dedicated to the continuation of status quo. I believe that we should move in the area of change we should encourage it and develop it and move in that direction. I speak from Berkeley experience and that is where the school superintendent has been encouraged to move and I'm delighted to serve as their superintendent. In this area. Pressed there must be immediate commitment as in Berkeley to the total desegregation of all of our schools within a reasonable length of time. I was on a Chicago radio program program before I came in here this afternoon and they were boasting that they are going to be able to do something. In about
20 years. People aren't going to wait 20 years. There must be a calendar a stablished by a reasonable man and followed through. Without this commitment. The chaos that we've seen this past summer is going to be nothing. Compared to the future. Second. As in Berkeley preschool education should be merged with regular early childhood education becoming part and parcel of a regular primary school program. I was terribly disappointed in the last election in California when one of the candidates for the highest office recommended compulsory in supporting education for our children beginning at the age of 4. He didn't get enough votes. We have we have as you know in our state compulsory education beginning at age 6 and we have some of the many fine special programs that are
subsidized in which most of you are involved under special programs. These should all be part in process of compulsory education. These programs and methods should be informal. At this level and experimental. In its close ties with parents should be nurtured and strengthened. Of course desegregation should above all include the preschool children who are at this younger age the children are most ready to learn and cluttered by the prejudiced prejudice around them. Here is the great secret. Integrate them early and the biases and prejudices will not develop. Third in Berkeley the mixing of races and classes in each school is not enough. Grouping and tracking practices must be revised so that every class in every school reflects the racial and social composition of the community. Otherwise resegregation is built in to the
super desegregation process. Yet another law is thrown into the teeth of the minority community. Judge Jay Scully Wright. Pointed this out last June in his landmark decision. Hobson vs. Hanson he had segregation in Washington DC. Must go. But to accomplish that ability tracking and grouping must also be ended once and for all. For all. In Berkeley. Something more of the effect of an immediate desegregation is needed. We need concurrent improvement of every aspect of classroom education in auxiliary services. Fifth compensation must be continued as needed to make the desegregation classroom work into share and share its transformation into the integrated classroom. This means educational integration in the school going into each neighborhood involving whole families in the
process. Sixth. The Berkeley school master plan Committee. Wreck two and a half years and approximately 135 people and they've come in with their recommendations and they recommended that preschool children should become an integral part of primary education. That's been three the all preschoolers and their parents. That report is a vailable to communities in California if you'd like to have it. They recommended the middle school should be established as a bridge between the Elementary and Secondary Education should be developed in a crowded school school City master plan tying education to community and community to education. Seventh. The ultimate educational solution may well be the community educational center park. And I don't think that's a bad word at all. It could be the appropriate setting for our making Martin programs
services and technology available to all children with a maximum of economy. It might as Maxwell Theon Dan Dotson contend become the most unlikely means of breaking down. Inner city suburban and rural walls. The conclusion after all has been said in all proposals in much done piecemeal and emergency fashion and in panic. The ghettos still remain. Neither programme the proc apart from total attacks on the social and economic problems of this time will suffice. That must mean that the first. Federal money poured into employment and training in retraining programs at the rate it is now being poured into Vietnam. Second state state and local in private monies too.
This means massive revision of the total financial tax structure. Second that the public treasury will have to finance their requisite human and physical renewal project to an extent equal to our preparation for war. Third great centers of education culture and human services again with massive financial federal support in state and local support tied into comprehensive community and regional plans for. The kind of economic subsidies and political representation which can make the necessary changes within the framework of law institutions capable of coping with the human problems of this generation. Fifth. Simultaneously the reconstruction and education must take place then the student centered problem solving cross discipline approaches can take home. Team
teaching the non graded school heterogeneous group being programmed learning the vast mordant technology can come to significant life in more than a sheltered experimental settings. With what we now know about how children learn in how the learning teaching process can become alive in relevant and personal to the children it will be possible to build a successful curriculum for all the young children. The youth and their parents to this process may mean a wholly new relationship between education and the community. The new regional governmental educational units capable of solving problems which cut across archaic local lines. It may mean new tax structures new political forms in our monthly and new American social and economic system but
- An educator's credo
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- Dr. Neil Sullivan, superintendent of the Berkeley schools, discusses his view of school desegregation. Recorded at the annual conference of the Association for the Education of Young Children, meeting at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
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- School integration; Race discrimination -- United States; African Americans--Civil rights--History
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