Everybody's mountain; 8; Community School Idea in Flint, Michigan
Everybody's mountain up program in the recorded series written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on with the author as narrator. I was a citizen taxpayer on a mission behind the blackboard curtain of contemporary American education. I traveled throughout the United States for six months. I saw schools universities and educational experiments from Boston to Chicago from San Francisco to Miami. I began my journey in the valleys of generalization abstraction and controversy in education. I ended it on mountaintops of educational leadership and imagination. This broadcast is a report on one of those mountaintops the Community School idea in Flint Michigan. Dr. Frank J Manley is the director of the Charles Stuart foundation in Flint and assistant superintendent of flints public schools. He sat at one side of his desk and I had the other in his office at the Community College Dr. Manley had been a football coach when he first came to Flint many years ago. He recalled the time when the Board of Education to try to control juvenile delinquency with a
program of recreation. We found out in an awfully fast hurry you can't correct a boy or a girl that congenital syphilis with a ball bat. We know that and we also know that we can do a lot of these other things where you have broken homes or you have prostitution in the home or you have drunkenness and that sort of thing. You can't do too much with that boy unless you work on a total family. Each year the Charles Stuart Mott foundation makes available to Flint's Board of Education a sum of money for supplementary educational recreational and cultural programs not provided for by public taxes. The projection of the school into the home and family life is the key concept of the foundation Flint Board of Education Program. It is the exciting concept of the community school. Dr. Manley introduced me to it. We get the parents into the school and they meet with the teachers and the children themselves too. And we sit down and we find out what all of our
common problems are. Just what are the needs. What what's wrong as well as what's right and over here we look and say what are our resources here in Flint. What are the most important things that we have here that can work on these but this particular deal and every instance we found out that the school the community school was a focal point for the instrument. But it isn't any good unless you have real Democratic leadership to head it up. Mrs. Hayes will be McCreary is the from a principal of the Jefferson Elementary School in Flint Michigan. She said in the community room of our old school one afternoon. She was under the impression that she was just rehearsing. I didn't tell her that the tape recorder reels unobtrusively spinning behind or picking up every word she spoke. We had several Paxton children in school and every day one of them would be absent. I called the home and the mother was called to the
telephone as she seemed. And she said I cannot talk to you. I must go back to bed. And that was when we sent Miss Thomas to see what was going on there. Miss Thomas was your first counsellor. She was our only home counselor. Miss Beverly Thomas a younger woman listened as the retired principal told the Paxton story. She found the mother was very ill. The family was extremely poor and unable to get proper medical help for her. There were some 18 or 19 windows broken out in the home and there was no story. Only the heat from the other end of the cook stove. There were no blankets. Quite a large family too. The walls were dirty and ragged and covered with Berman. Even if that had a stove they couldn't use it because the chimney was broken in the fire department had said no stove could be used in that home.
What did Beverly Thomas do when she observed the conditions in the Paxton home. Miss Thomas is a social worker who goes straight to the point and gets things done and doesn't do a lot of hemming and hawing about it and calling it meetings. First we made a plea to the teachers for blankets and quilts and those were forthcoming in the teachers themselves gave us. Then we told that Mr. Paxton that if he would take the windows out the frames down to a hardware store we had made arrangements there for the man at the store to put the glass in frames. Teachers donating blankets to a family of the pupils. A school arranging to have the family's empty window frames impaneled with glass. What curriculum guide is this exercise written. What happened to the condemned chimney Mrs. McCreary. That fact since church Allen peered to build the chimney which they did and then some friends of hers came in one night
and the whole group scrubbed and sprayed for Berman and hung fresh curtains papered them so that Mrs. Paxton's bedroom at least was clean and cheerful. She began to improve in the very clean surroundings and the fact that somebody cared to come in and help got her on her feet. Her children were in school and she said well woman today Frank Manley tells a story suggesting the absence of democratic leadership a generation ago in Flint. A gang of kids used to go swimming in the old Flint River near Horseshoe Bend. They played stump the leader one day and a boy dove into the water and broke his neck. What do you suppose the city fathers did about it. Manley asks. And he answers. They went to the river which was lined with trees and they cut down the tree the boy jumped off. There have been changes in Flint. When youngsters are in trouble nowadays. The Flint youth
bureau an arm of the Board of Education doesn't chop down trees. Mike is a typical boy that comes to the youth bureau. He's a fatherless boy. This one happens to be 14. He was discovered by the school personnel in particular his principal and counselor. It was an old frame building on a tree shaded street. The sofa joy riders sat on was motley and faded and the flint youth bureau was in temporary quarters but there was a permanent robust vitality in the man's dedication to his flock of deviant adolescence. Joe Ryder is the director of the youth bureau the attendance officers were having a terrific problem with this boy. He wasn't extending him self in his academic field. He had missed a Maginnis ninety four and a half. Half days. Just last year. And yet he was able to to complete his ordinary class work. This kid has a terrific brain apparently. What's his IQ.
There were three tests on him and none of them were more in one hundred fifty seven. There were others wondering in and out of the old building on kids Lee Street as Joe talked. A boy who had tried to commit suicide. And other who wouldn't talk to anyone yet. Flint is in Michigan's Genesee County which ought to rank second in the state in the always suspect juvenile delinquency statistics. Genesee County ranks 25th. You're right it doesn't think of the youth bureau's work as crime prevention. He calls it the unwanted feeling prevention that no one cares. Don't belong. I can't do anything feeling prevention. Job continued with the prevention story of Mike. His first father died when he was approximately five years old and the mother remarried and a fine marriage and this boy loved this. This father and in approximately 20 some days this man was killed. So you can imagine a defeat and a disappointment no loneliness that has come to this boy. He has the
idea or what's the what's the purpose. This boy will go home and read stacks and stacks of scientific. Material he isn't running the streets. He's not. Not just to anyone he's just disappointed and hurt and has tried to withdraw someone. So we're trying to harness him to an experience that will motivate him that will challenge him and make life interesting again. And that is putting him with was Mr. Galloway. Now Mr. Galloway will be his big brother so to speak this boy can identify with him somewhat have a father figure replacement a friendly kind of a relationship. But more than that this boy's having experienced an extreme opportunity in a scientific setting down into slam the lubbers the summer of building beyond the Oak Grove campus. The ghost of the physics lab the most junior college. We went over to see it and to meet
Elma Gelly the man who had undertaken to become Mike's big brother. The Big Brother movement is ubiquitous in American social work. It relates in a close specific supervised relationship one man to one fatherless boy. What do you think of the boy. I think it has tremendous potential here. The first day I met him I had an old radio down here which I couldn't get working and I gave to take home that night and fool around with them long behold the next day brought it back it was working. Do I understand you have always chosen you to be not on his science mentor but also his big brother if you've ever been a big brother before. No I haven't. There was no current in the lab. There was a big old left over Tesla coil and a chaotic garbage of equipment. They were also mousetraps toy trucks roller skate wheels and toy U.S. Air Force rockets. Mr. galley had been snatched from the atomic laboratories in Oak Ridge to revitalize science teaching influence public schools. Might could be helping him put on television shows such as bullets bombs boxes. Inertia. Kinetic molecular
theory. Magnets and where they live. Mike is unusually tall and broad shouldered. He was two stereotypes in conflict big fire a dark rimmed glasses crewcut. Definitely the brain type. But also a leather jacket sallow skin gum chewing. The delinquent. Are you in a system to Mr galleon science worked. Yeah what do you do around here mostly carry. I used in science. Yes you do study science in school yes. Why do you think that science in school is hard. It's pretty elementary. I'm stunned you have a brother that goes to college where does he go to. He goes to Michigan for two degrees one in math and one in physics would you be interested in going to the same degrees. Yes well what do you grades now are they good enough to send you to college. Why not my amateur and sell for return as you hesitant abashed desperately and secure underneath.
But assuming the hard core of cold non-communicative withdrawn. It one hundred fifty seven IQ delinquent teetering on the brink of self destruction or of great personal fulfillment how many other school systems in America would be marshalling so weighty a potential of organized love to send him rocketing to a possible career in nuclear physics. I want the fragmentary impulses of disconnected understaffed underpaid agencies in school and out big grappling for a drowning boy with a short and brittle hook. Good morning boys and girls are you happy this morning. I walked an it was 8:45 in the morning. There were thirty nine children in the car the most sordid ages and sizes kindergarten to sixth grade. They filed past the beaming lady in the spotless white dress who had greeted them at the door of the Fairview Community School. They did not troop to desks for opening exercises off the homeroom activities. Fairview hadn't opened yet for the day's
teaching business. The children took their places instead at long tables immaculately set place mats and bowls of fresh cut flowers in the Eden Park Group where we find our serial sex. That and not just me and what group are we throwing out that at. That nicks are toast delicious. What group will we find. 3 Thank you. We were meant to mean thanks. Pineapple juice drinks whole wheat toast milk and peaches and little green paper cake holders. Four of the older girls served the children spun the wheel of good eating with chatter. Margaret Clement was one of them. Age 9 a thin wistful little fifth grader misses Broadway the lady in the white dress listen as I spoke to Margaret's mother but did you find out
about Margaret's weight from this bug. Yes what did she tell you she told me she was underway. Promise that you wait here and whether this is Broadway suggested. She suggested that she would take up for the directors and that I would have to cooperate with them and after lunch and I did and what happened to Mark Ridgway she gained 20 pounds. Breakfast for underweight youngsters courtesy Flynn's Board of Education. Why Mrs Broadway through this by the children haven't got now aspect us. It has made a big change in the classroom because often at optimum. So often they get sleepy drowsy and checked as to whether they had a good match and we found out that the child had a good practice and can think. The children had been clearing the tables. Now Mrs Broadway called the teachers names and they left in polite regimented but well nourished. But to us
as the children filed out Mrs. Huddleston came in. This is a solemn lady she is a lay preacher. I moved into this neighborhood 15 years ago and at the time the neighborhood was quite rundown and it was what you would call one incident I recall a fight between two small children. They were ages 7 and 5. And that really put the parents on the warpath and a parent group was formed that went from house to house. We found that about 90 percent of the people were not satisfied with the condition but they didn't know what to do about it. We found that many of the children were not getting the proper food at home for various reasons. Some mothers were working they were in broken homes sometimes the mother and father worked and there were some parents that were just indifferent as to whether or not their children were really getting breakfast. Since Mrs. Broadway has been here the program has grown by leaps and bounds. We've seen the
changes take place from drunken brawling in children going in the streets during coming to school but now they are just like the average child in the city because they are taught to want to live better. The parents are taught to want to live better. And as the home improvement for the children improve there is no discrimination. People of all races groups creeds religion and whatnot are invited and they are welcome and we have learned to work together constructively. We have learned that when people feel good they act good and is the director of community activities for the home school. My take on the responsibility of organizing and conducting in some instances an afterschool program. Primarily for the children in my area. And then of course this continues on in the evening and evening program which may involve some of my older children some of my teenage years.
How does your work differ from that of a physical ed instructor in a conventional school. Since I start at noon I do have the opportunity during the morning hours to make personal contacts in the community I have an opportunity to visit with many of these people in their homes which I have done. It is a much closer relationship which evolves out of this job. I try and meet as many people as I can and I try and find out as much as I can about them because I feel this helps me on this healing job overflows the school boundaries and oh yes Flint has a community activities director in every public school in the city. He is the probing patrol leader of the Board of Education in constant exploration for the enemies of education. Want. Ignorance prejudice indifference. Which poison the well-springs of a community's potential. Flint participates in a graduate training program for master's degrees and for director certificates and community education. It aims to
provide this new kind of educational leadership not only for Flint but for other cities as well. In Michigan in the United States even abroad eight hundred twenty six people came to the city's first community education workshop from Khanfar nations 17 states and 88 communities in Michigan. They came from Baghdad Iraq. Oh dang. And Indonesia from Japan and from West Africa. They came because they could see the persuasiveness of an idea as elementary as the home Dale school in which Jai Klein works. One of the things that we feel is unique about this program is that we operate the schools. We use the physical facilities 12 months a year. There isn't any other business in this country that invests as much money in its capital outlay in buildings. And then lets them sit idle for one fourth of the year which the traditional school does from June through September during the regular school year. The traditional school
closes at approximately 4 o'clock and remains dark until the next morning. This is just plain inefficient. The gymnasiums are spectacular in Flint. The original disciples of the Community School Gospel were mostly physical education instructors and their influence is still dominant. But Flint now has more than 700 adult education courses. The history of Russia creative thinking popular astronomy father son or daughter a hobby shop and the flint Symphony Orchestra. The skeptic may think this is all whipped cream on education's loaf of bread. Dr Spencer Miles is Flynn superintendent of schools. Dr. Miles one of some of the results of Flynn's community school involvement. The first result of the community school program in Flint is that it has revitalized the interest of people in the community in the educational process at a time in 1987 when our economic conditions were not excellent. People voted increased millage for support of schools over four to one. It is this backing and support which
really makes possible a revitalized academic program. Can you name some evidences of this revitalized academic program. It's at the elementary school level we have a primary cycle of what we think an improved method of grouping children for learning. We have a program for the academically talented at the elementary school we have at the junior high school and are beginning at the senior high school. We have a special tutoring opportunities for youngsters that have special problems and rating and an arrest might take. Well what about the sciences in the months to train the gifted leaders demanded by a new technological age where about four years old in this process our gifted program for academically talented youngsters in math and science started four years ago. The month foundation considers its program a pump priming operation. It is designed to excite the educational tastebuds of Flynn's taxpayers and make them want to go it alone. The MOC foundation contributed 1 million dollars to a recent 12 Million Dollar City
budget for the schools. This represented only 8 percent of the total. If the average taxpayer would pay this percentage himself he would have to contribute an additional one and a half mills to the average taxpayer. This would mean two cents a day. Dinner served the twenty two young ladies rose from the generous chairs in the wide sofas in the plush drawing room. They chatted in the well-groomed manner of discipline sub Debs as they came in to dinner. The logic gracious dining room was lit by iridescent chandelier as they hung from a high ceiling above the red brocade walls. A fountain played from two sculptured care of them under a stone umbrella in the adjoining terra cotta cell area outside the setting sun played on the fall foliage near the blue pool. It flashed off the autumn colored backs of pheasants. This was a 23 acre park estate on Flint River. Mrs. Cox the Hamady house hostess was understandably nervous. She had never had a tape recorder to dinner before the bread plate off of the table
and. Placed C bread at your left side for the dinner plate. We don't ever notice accidents or errors neither do we make unfavorable comments about the food. Be seated. This was no coming out party. This was school in the Flint Community School pattern. The yellow bus which had brought the girls with their suitcases from afternoon classes 15 miles away in the city was still outside in the morning it would take them back to school again as it had taken them every day for the past two weeks. Home has hammered the house for two weeks each year to more than seven hundred fifty Flint school girls between the ages of 10 and 18. How many houses a rococo example of Syrian architecture. It was donated by a successful chain store merchant in Flint. It is the training laboratory for the stepping stones. Mrs. Milton Pollack is the organizer of the stepping stones stepping stone
program was designed to help girls to find the best in themselves. To appreciate we can't live far south. But through selflessness and getting away from self centeredness we can help others. To prepare the girl is to realize that their future is now. But what they are today pretty largely they will be in the future. The girls are taught that there is no such thing as a menial task and that includes floor scrubbing dish washing and dusting. They are counseled on cleanliness and you know charm. They are encouraged to live in the presence of the best. Read an excellent poem enjoy a sunset here a staggering symphony a girl who has never been able to talk with her own mother can talk with the grown ups at Hamady for two weeks. For thousands of flint school girls since 938 how many houses been a
prototype of a home they might never have known in their lives. At dinner I said to one of the girls why did you join the stepping stones to get us talking about like to be part of this club doing you know you talk about the pillow fight up in the night time what you say I think you become nice you will never hear well before look at myself to sleep and what are some of the things you've learned in your days as a stepping stone. I have learned to become friendlier with people that I don't know. It's a lot easier for me to meet strangers now. And of course I've learned table manners and how to cooperate. That is very essential here. How about you Joe. I think the main thing is learn to get along with others or else your own staff members also when you have to live right with them. It's much different than knowing I'm just in school. This is Cox ended the dinner as good mothers often do with instruction and homily. The kitchen crew where we part for their crew duties. The other girls go downstairs
and if you have any homework get busy with your homework. Would you like to say the thought for the day the happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. Everyone say it together. Yes I was here was a community school educates the community. It's as simple as that. The educational goal in Flint is not the stockpiling of information and skills. It is the release of creative energy in the individual and in the group for personal and social discovery and expression. It begins with the total needs of the community and its capacities. It unfolds what is already there in the community cupboard ready to be used constructively. It works through the public school because the public school is the most direct human pipeline to the atomic core of the community. The family in his office at the Community College I said to Dr. Frank Manley I live in Westport Connecticut a non
industrial town of about 17000 population. Does West Point need a community school. Dr. Manley gazed out of the window at the Oak Grove campus which had once been Charles Stuart Mark's cornfield. He grinned. Oh I don't want to be facetious but I think you need one when we do. Why I think that is where people get a little bit sophisticated and think they're pretty good. It's like the fellow that gets his doctor's degree after he's finished he's finished and so we think that in living you must go on learning all the time and even in Westport there's a lot of things to learn and if you get together all those good mind you bring them all together in a common room and you have good Democratic leadership and you get ideas from each other. You're not only going to do an awful lot for Westport but you're going to do an awful lot for the all of the country because these little people with leadership qualities and techniques and brains and so on must share in a democracy if they're going to survive. If I could just say just in the few words
that America really doesn't know its own strength. That Westport Flint Chicago and the rest of them haven't the slightest idea how big their muscles are. I just like to add just one other thing that when a community and you boil it down to your elementary Community School District when you bring the people together in that area and you have have all these different resources to meet these particular problems then you begin to find out. That the Catholic the Jew the Protestant doesn't have horns or that labor and management can get along. That colored and white can get along. We know that they can get along. And until you change the attitudes and remove the barriers of ignorance indifference prejudice hatred then you can have some chance of having your resources come to bear upon your problems.
Educational mountain climbing like the real thing is an adventure round one rope. No single community has all the answers to America's educational challenge in the 20th century. Perhaps your community has reached flings mountaintop. In education as in life as in democracy there are always Mountains Beyond Mountains. Freedom is not at the summit. There is no summit. Freedom is in the ascent. No man is really free unless he is up among the heights and climbing to new heights on solid and grand ideas. Education is such a solid and grand idea. If your community has not attained the educational power inherent in Flint's Community School idea a lifting of the eyes to Flynn's hills may be in order. The inspiration present in Flint escapes the word to grasp but you must see it in action. Education is your mountain to your children's Mountain your neighbor's mountain. Education is every body's mountain.
The recorded series everybody's mountain was written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on for the Educational Television and Radio Center. The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. The series consultant was Dr. Ernest O MELBY professor of education at Michigan State University and former dean of education at New York University. This is the end.
- Everybody's mountain
- Episode Number
- Producing Organization
- National Association of Educational Broadcasters
- National Educational Television and Radio Center
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Series Description
- A series on educational leadership and imagination in the United States today.
- Media type
Narrator: Shayon, Robert Lewis
Producer: Shayon, Robert Lewis
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
Writer: Shayon, Robert Lewis
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-49-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Everybody's mountain; 8; Community School Idea in Flint, Michigan,” 1959-01-19, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dj58j014.
- MLA: “Everybody's mountain; 8; Community School Idea in Flint, Michigan.” 1959-01-19. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dj58j014>.
- APA: Everybody's mountain; 8; Community School Idea in Flint, Michigan. 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-dj58j014