Tender twigs; A school's role
Development that is safe sane and straight. Attended twigs is produced and recorded by W. K. r radio at Michigan State University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The tender twigs are you a task to help them grow say sane and straight. The title of this program seven hours a day five days a week 10 months a year. This program features a single guest. Each week we present a distinguished person who we feel has left a mark on our time by his thought and by his work. As it relates to our youth our guest Dr. William Kabera seeis professor of education Boston University
author of the community and the delinquent delinquency in the school forecasting juvenile delinquency and recently author of the government presses the teachers of children who are socially and emotionally maladjusted. Our interviewer for the series is Ben Thompson Research sociologist with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Dr. converse is the school room is a place to which children go. The greater part of each year is we've said seven hours a day five days a week and 10 months a year. Do you think our schools are doing the job they should. Mr. Thompson you really have described the American ritual. We might have been say the educational fantasy. Send your child every child any child to school so many days and we will teach him.
This is an omnibus institution. We mean that and intend to educate your child whatever whoever he is. And he's pretty. Also let's say looking down the street the youngster who may not be so attractive now. Have we succeeded or have we failed. If you read the annual reports of superintendents of schools they read as though they had a thousand percent batting average I think this is where they've gotten into some difficulty because an outsider discovers a boy named Johnny. And he has a low rating score has difficulty and it appears that the school has failed and I think within every hour the orientation considering the fact that we are doing or trying to be all things to all pupils and in a sense in the briefest time. You say you are. I think you said only 10 10 months 10 months a year. Well of course there are 12 months in the year so I think we've Shotton the school potential school yeah. The reality answer
would probably say that we're doing as well as we can in the schools. We could do a lot better if you didn't force the schools to be all things to all youngsters on a marginal budget. You know here in Michigan we have twenty five hundred fifty young men incarcerated in penal institutions under the age of 25. Twenty five hundred fifty. Ninety six percent of those never graduated from any kind of a school. Yes they rejected the school to the three other school I'm not sure I'm going to be sure who did which is but let's say this is that a recent mutual separation which solves a particular problem on both sides. Let me say that these young men that you're talking about I'm sure the results somewhat of bigness and the results of the shoestring budget problem.
There are people who have been who have suffered and on and in many in the public schools who suffered boredom. And we've suffered failure. And as a result perhaps some of their aggressions landed them in this particular institution. I think there is some evidence that that is probably so let me ask you Do you think that compulsory education for every child is a desirable thing. This is a question that must be faced. I wouldn't presume to have the answer but I think it's a fair question and I'll give you at least a personal answer. I think the time has come when with all the tools and techniques that we have in testing. With the case worker orientation that we have that we can say that for this youngster if not this amount at least this kind of education or at least this kind of education is not profitable. Otherwise the schools have been jockeyed into a kind of convenience community
convenience to store children up to a magical age formula and in Michigan I believe this is 616 the same family we have a mess just as and after you get to be 16 then you cannot cannot you can't you might continue. Now I think it's most significant as you look at what is the worst problem to knows that just about half of the people who begin high school think enough of it to finish. And while we do all this talking about delinquency Perhaps this is the major problem though the two problems are related very closely. In other words half of the U.S. population and their parents to some extent feel that what is offered in the high school is not worth pursuing beyond the age of 16 to the completion of the program this is probably an indictment of the school. Now to answer the question of that you raised earlier. Let me phrase the problem in terms of the two juxtapositions that we see. Written within the last year or two
Countrywide there's been a great flurry of interest for the trainable child. I didn't say a tickle. That's the child in the regular special classes the trainable child this is the child who will never read. This is a child with an IQ below 50 and provisions have been made for him in the same institution. And these provisions frankly custodial. They have very little to do with education except in the very broad sense of teaching the youngster how to tie a shoe lace how to walk up the stairs how to eat properly when to use the fork in this very same building today were concerned concerned in view of the presumed Russian educational threat inoffensive in the rivalry that we're pursuing. It is this problem of the bright and gifted child for whom we are now setting up conveniences special classes in your reading of them in the press for. For science oriented children for math oriented children meaning those youngsters going to handle a abstract area so within the gamut of these two we're trying to educate every man's child. And I'm not so sure that we can do it
in the sense that we don't have the money locally to do it. Now it may be that we have the national wealth but I don't think we're willing to do it. I think you said some time at least in our conversation the last day or so that originally in our public schools in our schools I should now use the word public because we're talking about all kinds of schools actually I hope so that the child originally may have been a first or second class citizen. But under our special kinds of programs of special education and especially in view of the Russian push on science and now our own we're creating first second third and fourth class citizen I believe so. What does this do. What does this do to kids. Well much of the problem of the Mel behaving child centers around the self-concept that he has just as your behavior my behavior developed around our own self-concept. Let me say that many children who get into difficulty have a very low self estimate. They are nothing they are less than nothing.
They are dirt and within the structure let's say of an organization that gives its prestige to a particular type of youngster who is in and out with a particular kind of peculiar abstracting skill we might unless we. Unable the so called lower class citizen to become successful at something and to find security and a measure of happiness in something they were going to provoke. This is going to provoke a problem with this youngster and many of the youngsters who explode. These youngsters who have endured for a long time not only fade away but boredom actually are we headed for something pretty dangerous in the sense that the fourth class citizen the child who cannot accomplish much in terms of abstract thought and action and faced with the business of automation in our
industry. I work a day world where where is he going to go where can he go. Well we cut off a lot of avenues in this way in terms of what possibilities the labor laws don't allow oh let's say job placements and in many areas. This is a place where the community has got to get together. This is where we got to invite the union folks whose own children are very much involved in who have a strong social welfare concept within their own organizations that just sit down and say What are some other reasonable alternatives. I don't think this is going to happen. I think it's upon us now. I think what happened in New York City in terms of the mass expulsion of some 600 youngsters shows they regurgitation was taken taking place within the large city schools and in particular then I think in this connection we are assuming something Mr. Thompson and that is that we all believe in youths and that we are like children and the teachers
are happy to be with youth. Five days a week 10 months of of the year I hope. We wouldn't provoke a negative reaction if we suggested that perhaps only very few teachers happy to be with children. So many I was so many days that there isn't to be found this positive attitude towards children wanting to help. I would propose that what we have is a negative attitude to get rid of this problem and to get them out of the street and out of the classroom. Actually Isn't this what we're already doing with our. The thing that we have called the fourth class citizen for the moment right now in New York City there's a contemplation not only of a 600 school but a 700 school a special special convenience for some of these youngsters. I would say that this may be a necessity because of the current pressures but from in terms of a crash program of doing something because surely it's no solution to put the youngsters out in the street. This is this is largely culturally determined there are legal manifestations there are cultural value systems that are involved. I'm not so sure that we're going to remake
them I frankly I would have probably have to take a pessimistic point of view except that the problems are great Maybe we'd better join ranks and march and strong and close. They mix that in in terms of this particular problem. Let's turn the coin over. What is a good school. This is a this is many questions isn't it. Let me say good school is one that has good personnel. The superintendent ought to spend more time on looking not at just the record but the kind of person he hires. Does that what are the motives of this person in taking this particular job. Does the person like children. Is the person willing to take some abuse from children I hope I'm not misunderstood on this but I mean to say exactly what I what I said I would I would be willing to separate the crime from the criminal and look upon the shanks not as human rubbish but as a child evidencing symptomatically the need of help. Do we have a teacher with a diagnostic point of view or is this person fearful of children being fearful heating and
working with youngsters who in turn is fearful of the teacher and then hating and on a two way street of hate and fear. Let's not expect much more than we're getting in some of the large cities today. Now apart from the teacher we might discuss the kinds of activities that go on in the school this would relate to curriculum. We've already implied in this earlier discussion that two are for everybody and a marginalise curriculum is to lead into trouble. That we ought to have a cut if we have every youngster coming in with differing interests abilities achievement special attitudes with a different occupational intense. Perhaps we should be an enabling institution for each youngster to mature and to achieve the success and security that might come through him through a varied curriculum. So as the critics of the school push in the direction of my community for example to the glorified Boston Latin School that I think well well I guess it resembles the kind of institution that bothered Horace
Mann when he was commissioned I mean I think he felt that that was in the world's best institution. The the the group that forces a unitary tracking program aimed only at those youngsters who might perceive might succeed in Michigan State or any other good university. The if this is one function to prepare for another institution then we are going to be a difficulty. I would say with 84 percent of our people population. Why do you pick the figure 84. Well this is the technically this is one standard deviation above the mean and I'm assuming that a first course in algebra and perhaps a second course can only be mastered by 16 percent of the population who have a certain kind of ability pomps I don't want to use the overly overworked IQ but if you want me to name a figure I'll say those people not with IQ about 115 and over. And only 16 percent of the population of IQ was above this point. Now what we do with the rest of these this is a matter of degree and we can't perseverance has a great
deal to do with success in school. As you know so that maybe a hundred ten with good perseverance and interest and good instruction might well succeed on occasion. What we do with the let's say non academically interested is a real isn't I push on in our public schools right now to get a unified curriculum let's throw out all the junk they have to write all of that yes I think so. And this will make let's say youngsters who already dislike school and then they dislike it for a reason. It may be cultural but it usually it's tied in with failure and boredom. These are the two enemies because these again are the offshoots of bigness in a school the bigness lack of money. I think it's going to be our stumbling block block to whatever other suggestions I'm going to propose here. If I may go back to the other question what can the schools do in the line of curriculum. You think I should. I think you should. Well let me say with
with curriculum. Show me a one track program. I'll show you the school that's going to double its emotionally and socially disturbed children. Wow. Well that's the way it is this is a question of basic satisfactions can I how long can I endorse they do this every time they have to get a report card if it's a bankruptcy statement. We have the evidence in one community at least in which we had good data on comp. And on a complete story that when the schools were not in session during the summer the delinquency rate went down and we factored out the peculiar school offenses such as trancing. Now the implication that this has many ramifications I would want to suggest is that on the air or elsewhere that the way to solve this problem is to close up the schools completely. That would be lovely. Well you know a lot of children don't have a lot of satisfactions at least for a short time. I'm not so sure we ought to pursue this much further. Shall we have one kind of experience when we have many different kinds of children.
I think we might leave it at that but they had to get the money dole for more kinds of experiences for the many different kinds of children that there are we have to have the money we've agreed upon that yes. How do we get the money. Well I think that the wrong man here I think would have somebody from some other department I want I want I want to start but I want to ask that question when you say though that I don't have the conviction and I think many others do that in terms of national wealth we do have the money. I think we have the further conviction although this is better said at a Rotary Club speech. What we're talking about is the top's and most valuable national resource. This is good for radio speech too. When Lee a local school board or its equivalent looks at the school budget and when we in our own family economy decide to forgo settling it because we need that new car we need a new color TV set and when we mortgage ourselves let's say in a sense to pay for these things I think we've indicated where a real values are now. Let me assume let's assume that we have the
national wealth. Surely we do because we are supporting other nations and we've been supporting them for a long time will continue to support them. We're not supporting in like manner on youngsters. If you look at the net it looks like we have no trouble passing at the federal level. A bill with tremendous tie you know on dollars. In terms of bettering the roads and officials were doing so well with the children. I'm not I'm not arguing for federal aid at the moment that although that is a kind of alternative let me just let me know then. Having said First I think we have a national wealth. Secondly that we have here the only let's say product in our communities in which we ought to be willing to go all out in terms of marketing ourselves. Children that pessimistically were props not willing. Why are we not willing. This is a broad question I know that involves our total culture and so many factors. But as you see it as an educator over many years with teachers and I'm not
always I'm not that old Mr. Thompson. It doesn't rise I expect to get wiser. Don't we all. I'm afraid that the listening they feel that I should age I should age faster. I don't really have that focus again. Why why why why is it that we are not willing to pay the price that I think every almost every citizen realizes must be paid if they are going to work for that well this is culturally determined to somewhere you know I think you are primarily a sociologist is a labels. What do we think is important to us and how do we live. How I was is a culture of indulgence. We work on the pleasure principle. This is a labor saving device era. This is the era of infantile pleasure seeking. I think in terms of the cultural determinants they tell us from our behavior what's important know whence comes the
culture and so on. People aren't expecting to work Had they want to have fun and going to school is working if you like Asian is hard work is hard work. Even in a so-called activities school you cannot learn without effort. Effort means work. I think this is a cultural determinant. You hold out any hope. I don't frankly give you an honest answer you know over the air this is permissible. I'm very pessimistic about whether we can hold the line. I don't think there was that I don't think. I don't think this means that we give up. I think this means we work harder and work more closely in a much more closely knit fashion. I wish I were optimistic as you are aware of the increase in the delinquency is about three or four times the increase in population increase in the 7 to 7 age bracket and I don't
see any falling off. I would say that we are going to be in this kind of trouble for a long period of time and more because the forces that work now particularly the critics of the school as visible very much in time in life are pushing us in the wrong direction. They are heightening the problem rather than lessening it. You've said that in spite of the pessimism this means that we must work harder now actually looking at all of us as people. Isn't this really the basic problem that many parents are aware of the problems of the school and the problems of their own children. But faced with the fact that they do not know what to do plussed they do not even sure that if they do it it will do any good. They cannot hold the line and cannot retain a certain kind of optimistic pessimism if there is this. Freeman Yes well I think you're almost assuming that we know what the problem is.
I've got to say that I don't know what the problem is. Very few communities know what the problem is and as a matter of fact some communities know how many children they have of a certain age. But beyond that they don't know much so that we don't have enough knowledge we are not knowledgeable. We're not knowledgeable on on several level there is that level of how many used we have what kind of use where are they what types of difficulties do they have so I would assume that there's some fact gathering I would like to think that the community is also knowledgeable in terms of theory or theory of one theory of child behavior or child adjustment or adult adjustment too. Let me say that this looks sounds like a dirty word over the edge. I'm saying that this is a holy word. Because without good theory based on the best knowledge that we have in research we have in the community in practical practical workers and I wouldn't and we have a host of impractical practical I would say exactly the expulsion route is an impractical practical device. Punishing children is an impractical practical device and they're kicking them out may
solve one of your problems to me and the immediate sense yes. But it certainly does not solve either your base on the school nor does it solve the problem of the child that's right. That's right but it may be something that we have to do without it to study this child to relieve the teachers that she is willing and can let they continue within a class of 35 40 youngsters. So there is this matter of how do we know enough. As a base on which to operate. Now this means the need for research to find out. And we are in a primitive science. We just started to try to understand human behavior. And when you say what can we do. I'm going to falter and say I'm sorry you asked me the question I wish I'd asked you the question. We have some ideas in terms of approaches but perhaps not more than ideas. If you're a parent how do how do you convince your fellow citizens who are members of the school board or how do you show your teachers
that you're interested. How do you keep going on a positive trend even though the thing which you see in your school may not be the most satisfactory to you. Well what I think we've done a pretty good job with. There are many parents that are interested in math like I would say some of them are over interested. And these are probably upper middle class parents. I think we've got to recognize that when we come to certain problems that many of them may emanate disproportionately from other parents would never go to the PTA. I would never go to a church who wouldn't enroll these young Swinney any YMCA they are who are not through perverseness but me. It may be through ignorance or lack of funds or lack of understanding. They saw that the problem we have and we ought not to think of parents as a single group. I think there are many parents doing a very good job and I would want to make parents feel any more guilty than they do right now to quit than they do. But there are some inadequate parents. And I think we might I think the $64000 question there was a 64 million dollar question these things are going up so
rapidly is I would how do we get at the parent and the youngster who repulses us as we approach him in the local community out of which come let's say the large bulk of our problems for example I'm aware of a study done not done on the west coast probably and I'm sure you are the San Mateo study in which there was a vigorous attempt made to identify those problems that came from what families and they discovered Let's say I think that a very large proportion of the families came from very large problems came from very few families to identify these families. Let's say let's say that on the outside this is about 10 percent of the families in the community then I think we ought to move vigorously in that direction. I think that's the key to Dr. William could VERY see is we must move vigorously now is the time when we must face the problems of making our children all first class citizens. This is the problem with the schools to schools that handle our youth 7 hours a day five days a week 10 months a year. Our guest has been Dr. William Clare C.S. professor of education
Boston University. Next week our guest will be Dr. Joseph Loman sheriff of Cook County Illinois. You have been listening to the tender twigs a series devoted to ensuring youth development but a safe sane and straight. We invite you to join us next week at this time for the tender. Our interviewer was Ben Thompson. Research sociologist by the state of Michigan's Department of Corrections.
- Tender twigs
- A school's role
- Producing Organization
- Michigan State University
- WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Dr. William Kvaraceus, Boston University, reviews the role of the school as it relates to youth and the community.
- This series discusses problems affecting today's youth, such as mental health, delinquency, crime, social pressures. It also considers solutions for parents and youths to employ.
- Social Issues
- Media type
: Kvaraceus, William Clement
Interviewer: Thompson, Ben
Producer: Wayne, Wayne C.
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-43-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Tender twigs; A school's role,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 21, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-kd1qkz82.
- MLA: “Tender twigs; A school's role.” 1958-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 21, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-kd1qkz82>.
- APA: Tender twigs; A school's role. 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-kd1qkz82