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Hello my name is Percy Sutton. I'm the president of the borough of Manhattan in the city of New York. For the next 30 minutes I'll be moderating a different kind of panel program. It is run 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 solutions to America's greatest problem the crisis of their been 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 Arabist population. This series of programs takes as a point of departure. The award 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 are Azerbaijan. Elliot the editor of Newsweek Jonathan Kozol teacher writer and specialist on ghetto schools and Dr. edge
Shapiro superintendent District Number three New York City Board of Education. This is a continuation of our previous discussion on education in which we touched on decentralization and. The role of ghetto dwellers. In Community Schools today we will continue that discussion with the same panel. I would like to begin with Mr. Crystal and asked What has concerns you most Mr. Kissel in finding a way out of our present educational dilemma. Well I really was concerned with was it was the way in which the new unhealthy militant the organized teachers of this country and the new and healthy militants of the organized parents and in many of our ghettos and other areas could be brought together into it into a single flood of militants which would which would work harmoniously in a single direction the direction being being a more comfortable and exuberant and realistic school day for the child. And you know the question is how is this to be done no one
one way I think it could be done. One Direction would be to. We find ways of convincing teachers and the organized and teachers unions as much as in any way to find ways of convincing these groups. But I have been in formality and relaxation with with and with a bright community. It's likely in the long run to be to the teachers advantage that it's going to get if if if this can be brought about in a way in which the teacher is protected in which the principal or the supervisor the superintendent has made it clear you are safe. The net result will be a heightening of the teacher's natural existence in the classroom the teacher won't need to come into the classroom shouting out banning denying you know our his or her personal convictions he won't. I used to have this terrible image every morning at 8:05 in Bronston of but teacher who cared a lot about the
issues who was very committed. Sitting out in his car reading the morning edition of the newspaper. The minute the bell rang he would fold it up felt it again put it in the backseat get out of his car close the door and lock it. As he rocked across to the doorway of the school it was as if he had just folded up all his opinions and at least a half of his personality. So the feeling I got you know it would be that. Bringing in more of the firmness and conviction of the teacher into the classroom and then allowing that teacher to go around involve himself in the community. It's not nearly going to placate a militant group of parents. It's going to increase the bad cowardly of the teacher's life in our So if it should happen to win I'm an ally in the community. It will make his teaching career a great deal easier. The point the point when the parents are behind you. The point when the matter knows you point when you spent a Sunday afternoon having dinner with the child's family is the point when you are far
far less easy and far less nervous about about a confrontation with a child that happens to teach is there's no such thing as a perfect school day. There always is trouble and then you know that the parents on your side is just where you asked us to close to a white teacher in a class school. So yes in that case is this. Is this the best. This is the best system should treat the way teachers teach black children or should black teachers teach black children or doesn't make any difference. Be very interested to hear the views of the experts on this. I wonder whether there are any experts I person who have been working all my life. Actually all my working life in any case within the school system in New York City have often felt that we should have had it in New York City a much better ethnic and racial representation of the entire
community than we do have. I do feel that we're on a we're now at the beginning of developing that more representative as a working gamut of people within the within the school system. I think it's imperative that black children have Black teaches at some time or rather in the course of a school week or in the course of a school day at some time or other I don't mean that's a one term or another term of one year or another year. There should be enough black teachers for black children in school system so that black children will have. If not a continuous experience a kind of constant or continued experience with black with with black teachers like you. I feel this is not yes I feel this is very important because I have one I have the strong feeling that the youngsters need an extra element in their identification with adults for one thing the black race in America has been pushed aside occupationally
vocationally and in so many other ways that in some ways the black adult has been separated from the black child especially as a black professional adult been separated from the black child. It is now and absolutely necessary for a black child to see through the person of a black teacher that IT teacher can learn has learned and is recognized in the larger community as the equivalent of any other professional. This in an In and of itself will develop the aspiration levels and even more basically develop help to develop a basic self-image and a black child. This has to do then with the improvement in the black child's mind of his own possibilities is that. Yes said That said very well that he can administer side with a black teacher. He sees the black teachers and says I can be like him. As he sees the white teacher and does not feel that he could be like him. However we're not suggesting that the other or all of the teachers in the black in the school should be black teachers. He's going to live in a an open society it is hope.
TIME TO BE A Yes I think a well and as a matter of fact if black teachers and white teachers show in their daily cooperation in a dairy and daily involvement in the school and in the community a kind of equal feeling for the people we will begin to see that the black child will then not be so hopeless about it. You might say the white part of our society as black people have become many black militants have become. We will see I think the beginning of a change so that what has developed you might say is a kind of separateness movement in the black communities and I think necessarily has had to develop as a separatist movement first in Littlefield one straight will also begin to develop transition into communal Countrywide nationwide moving together as human being and human being. Work and live together in many of the schools in the black community there's now an outcry and
by the people who live in the community for the teaching of African languages and there has been some objection on the part of the majority they say it's all right to teach French Italian Latin and others but it's trivia. When he suggested that they teach some of the African languages. And this is brought some protests from the black. Community how important do you feel it is seems to cause all of the teaching African languages anything to jazz you know one are true into the computer and I know I know. I think it's important if only because it's being demanded by the black community I mean I think there is a there is a point at which something becomes important. I don't think this means we have to accede to you know waves of Know-Nothing pressure but I don't think that I don't think that would in fact be the right term in this case. But I do think there you know there is a time when when a demand ought to be entertained seriously mean merely because it is presented with so much passion it may be difficult for people old Latin and old Latin and Greek scholars classes
to people who have grown up with French Spanish German to you know to accept the feasibility of practicality of suddenly having children learn an African language. The mere fact that it has achieved so much significance in the mind in the in the in the consciousness of the black community seems to me not only not only very healthy but a good reason for treating it seriously but I don't and I frankly never worried so much about the teaching of language so much as a teaching about great a relisten in what you know in the whole area of African society African culture the emerging nations there are still textbooks used throughout the country in which you name which in which we're talking essentially about an old fashioned neo colonial type of Africa and some of the some of the textbook companies in their passion to to get rid of unattractive bigoted materials or simply salve the problem by not studying Africa at are just a mystery. A recent in Mr. Coles Earls stamping
ground in Massachusetts where the Afro-American students at Harvard demanded a certain number of actions on the part of the administration. There one was two and a negro professor. One was to admit more Negroes to the faculty and one was to admit when you go students at Harvard and finally to introduce more Negro Studies at Harvard the response of the. Harvard ministration as I've been told was quite sympathetic to these demands. The Dean I believe said to the Afro-American students that he certainly felt that Harvard as well as other institutions should be doing more in this area. He disagreed with one specific demand namely the one having to do with the endowment of a chair and he wrote professor because he said look if you start making the
color of a man's skin the criterion for his becoming a professor he's going to be truer than that academic community. As for the other demands he said that he thought that the administration of Harvard was very sympathetic to this since Harvard is run by its faculty. He suggested that the way to get action was to get the faculty steamed up and he asked the African Afro-American students as they call their organization. To submit to him a list of faculty members who would be acceptable of them to form a committee to make sure the Harvard did move further and faster in the areas of admitting when he grows students surfacing morning growth studies. Introducing when you grow studies and getting more Negroes in the faculty. That seemed to me quite a realistic way to deal with this. I thought it was interesting. You have something very interesting here it applies across as you as you were very very well known not
only to Harvard but and but also to many colleges of course now around the country but what is very interesting to me it's now applying to various high schools it so happens that in the district that I head that we have a seven high schools and several of the high schools at the present time and we see a strong student Power movement developing and the student Power movement on the whole is developer is requesting is demanding is as a matter of fact of race in the philosophy to administration of the school of race in the curriculum and it is and is arguing for some kind of race also in regard to the staffing of the school. Now in their demands actually right of ways we see the need they reach the demand for a curriculum that will include Afro-American Studies Africa and so on always as a demand for an African language. Well there is a demand for a more black and more black teachers within that within the school and in some places I gather black a black person to head a school. Now I think this is part and parcel something that we see now generally around the world not only in regard to black youngsters but even
in regard to white youngsters and we see it in regard to the poor including Let us say the. They have great with much of the poor on Washington and what we're seeing is that people who have been kept out of a society no longer will take it. People who have been kept out of a society where they kept in a ghetto or whether they young people are kept out of a society almost chronologically. I say no no this in this society at this point in this era of a nuclear weapon it's necessary forever of us to come together and we're going to push our way in no matter what you do about it we're going to involve ourselves and we're going to involve ourselves with you. And you better involve ourselves yourselves with us. And I do think we seeing this almost as a worldwide movement. And interestingly enough I think it's the black young people who have shown the way but others are beginning to get the message. Well aren't you getting a reverse of that. Going to interrupt for one more minute. I haven't heard that on many college campuses today but there is
a rather strong movement on the part of the negroes and. Those campuses to cluster together and not to enter the world of white could I think that so when I tried to add a touch that I didn't do in a very in a very coherent manner a little earlier in the program. I think for a little while we'll see as what I've said before this kind of separatism. But the separatism makes the demand and the demand is on the right society or the largest school as the demand is exceeded to almost necessarily then one has to live together and I do feel that this is a period of time that is necessary so that each group select a black repeals its own configuration its own beast off its own power. But then feeling it will be able to mingle with the white group as a white Make group begins to come along and mingle with the black. Yes Dr. Shapiro and Mr.. Osbourne You know you didn't say this I as a black person who are moderate here I'd like to just interject myself if you will with regard to this period of separatism that is occurring in the various universities as well as in schools and schools of our nation. What is really happening is that
black students are seen to themselves We have never really been a meaningful part of America. We've never had a chance to develop. We've not had. Black curriculum we've not had black teachers we've never seen ourselves in position of thought of authority in the educational system and we've never really seen ourselves in positions of authority in the American system. And then we began to look at ourselves and we say that we could never really be big in the American system. Perhaps we'll try separatism and this is what many of the youngsters are saying I can beat being in my own world. Now what they're really saying is give me a share of the system. And I think we're seeing it in housing we're seeing it in education we're seeing it employment. We're not really saying that we don't like the system. We're saying that the system as it has existed has never let us participate fully. And we're now talking about an introspection a self inspection a self education for the purpose of coming forth and be a
meaningful part of the system. And I think what America's going to have to do is to realize that there will be a period in which black people will. For separatism I will call for it out of a sense of frustration. But I think that's home to me that we would all wish is that after this period of separatism there will be a joining of hands I think it is possible if we do not during this period of separatism leaving aside as the race is as being not willing to change and I think is very important that we will I said it is a sense of frustration that drives them to you know I'm going to comment on that I agree with you. I think I think it's unfortunate that we that we throw that. It's a no trick in politics to throw the least expected turn out your antagonist and so many people nowadays are quickly flipping that word fascism or racism at the militant at the militant blacks. My feeling you know is that for one. First of all most most of the militant black kid
to my know on the campuses this goes all the way from my own area in Boston do well to the west coast. Recently in Colorado the militant blacks were talking this way. As you say I'm no longer linking arms with the whites but there's a kind of quiet tacit understanding frequently very moving and very strong between the white college radicals and their black counterpart. It's almost as though they're saying to each other for a while we're going to do it nearby. But separately one day soon when we get there we'll be together there. And I've seen this happening at many campuses in many different ways and all of that's wrong. That's dramatic That's a dramatic symbol we occupy different different buildings and it was in a tragic Somedays you know at Harvard after the death of Dr. King to see the black students feeling on able to mourn to pray in the University Chapel and leaving and walking outside to pray in the. That that
was bitter you know to think you know my God we can't even move in together any longer. I don't think that that's a reversible and I think that the young white radicals on the campus recognize that it's that it's something only temporary what I think is you know the main main thing that impresses me annoys me is someone now 10 years out of college is just the fact that these kids are moving in that they're talking my generation was called the silent generation we did nothing you know I found myself just over 30 and pleading with the young kids to to accept me as s as someone still is still to be trusted. We were known as the Silent John when we were manager I had somebody asked me recently what happened and I said wait a few years ago we started talking. But I was taught in college during those 10 years when you were in college I can assure you you were assigned you know. Yes there's no question about it. And there has been this great change as you said I didn't want to go back one step further when we talk about student power because sometimes it can be eloquent and beautiful and offer a real shining
beacon for the future if if we would like to find something about which we can be optimistic recently I've been in my area and one of the suburban schools a busing program had been suggested and been turned down by the local community. These were suburban areas which were considering the possibility of bringing kids out from the inner city. And I might say I don't want to sound terribly old fashioned but I think I am one of those people who still see it's some authentic good and racial integration and if we haven't talked about it much today I think it's only because we want to talk about the first things first and we know that that's not coming overnight in this case it was something really beautiful the community turned it down. And where did the student power come from it didn't even come from those who were 18 and 20 years old it came from a child who I think was in the eighth or ninth grade child about 14 who organized her classmates in this Alright suburban community saying you know we don't care what our folks are doing. We want to have black children in our school and they ended up almost closing down the
school system and debating in public with their own parents. Many of the parents you know heartbreakingly opposed them and unfortunately it ended with the children losing out. But I know what not to do not not to make an awkward person you know I say all power to them. I like what those kids are doing. Yes you know what you're describing interesting enough is not an isolated phenomenon anymore it occurred in West Hartford and we got it a busing arrangement and it occurred in regard in Penfield outside of Rochester and the young people who are in the high schools and in the junior high schools carry the Burrell argued with their parents for what. In fact if the members of the school bred and for what to what kind of a victory not always an overwhelming victory but a kind of victory in West heart that I think they fought to a real victory in Penn feeling for a while and to more than they were going to be given in any case. And what is very interesting is that it's the young people are coming to the fore within the white community. Now hopefully these young people
when they do get a little older will be coming into the school system too. But of course this takes some time and when one is hanging from the end of a rope as we had indicated some time before it takes hold one has a feeling that one can't hang very much longer and so there is something I think that is of great importance that. We must be able to do now to push for a quicker action. My own feeling is that we ought to push and at least I have a feeling that we ought to push in three different areas one area would be in the black community one would be in the white community and one would be as aware within the professional teaching community to teach Israel listening to me I must suggest Amos almost urgent demand. If you value your profession as a curling if you are really involved in it that you must do everything possible to involve your colleagues if you feel this way your colleagues with the community. You must involve your colleagues as helping hands with the community so that the community will join with you in realizing the
common aspirations. I would suggest to those of you who are in a white community who have some feeling for brotherhood and recognizing Pabst the need at this point almost as doubtful need for a bid for it at a time of separatism. You must reckon you must indicate this you must indicate that are the dynamics of this within the white community. But you must also fight the backlash so that the backlash begins to move ever to reseed so that it will no longer be a Lashon will disappear. It must be necessary for you to write down to face a world with a community of the poor as you identify with the community of the poor you will discover that in identifying with that community you will build a much better life not only for you but for your children and in the black community especially those of you were a militant in the black community. I urge you at this point to try to develop the militancy of all as teachers were with who are working within your neighborhoods and may I urge at this point that you recognize that teachers themselves despite the fact that they seem to have made it in some kind of economic and professional sense have
themselves been oppressed within their schools. And if you will note the feeling that it is not wrong to be a time to be oppressed that you need not fear oppression. It within your schools that if you participate in the life of the schools you will also participate in the community. You will do a great service to the children of your community. He goes on. Real briefly I would like to you know join in pleading with militant parents and militant teachers to be militant. Together parents too can find new ways to make it safer and more comfortable for a teacher who might start out frightened to loosen up to relax to let down her guide and do for an opening wage to get into your community. Find a way to do it. My own feeling however is that the initiative probably is going to have to come first from among the teachers and the question is how well possibly it will come from leadership at the very top from the teachers organizations but I would plead with teachers who are listening not to wait until that day to do some things
now and teachers so many of them that wrongly as possible do it do it now and teachers coming up on the phone and ask me a complicated question how can I solve this difficult discipline problem which has broken out in my class yesterday afternoon I don't know what to do. Can you suggest a lesson tomorrow some way in which I can deal with I say don't wait until tomorrow. Get into your car and drive to that child's home right now. Try to make it in time for dinner. You know and if you get there too late stay and have a drink. You'll find when you get into school tomorrow something will be different and yet very difficult. Well the experts have advised. You do hear I think it might be useful to remind the listeners that this country tends to react to powerful stimuli. I think back to 1957 for instance after Russia put the first space satellite into orbit and we all sat around thinking we have it we're dead. What has happened your
educational system. There was a great rejuvenation of the educational system that was one of them. I think that it tended to lose the momentum in the subsequent 10 years. I would suggest that we are in the process now of being faced with a similar. Equally if not more important kind of stimulus from the problems we face in our cities. And I would hope that the American political system will respond accordingly. Ladies and gentlemen this concludes today's edition of WHAT MUST BE DONE. Again let me suggest to you that we have not thought that we are presenting an in depth consideration of the step to time considerations limit asked as to what we may do. We may make only a cursory discussion. There is so much that might have been said so many questions that you would have asked so many answers that you would have wished. And this was our second discussion of education. Nevertheless we hope that you have found this program stimulating as well as in lightning. Most
of all we hope that you will take advantage of some of the suggestions made for action that you. Can undertake. As I said this happens to be the second comet that we have made upon education because as the editor of Newsweek magazine Mistah has been Ed you'd have said. It seems basic that if we're going to change our conditions of housing and if we're going to change our conditions of employment and if we're going to change the socio economic conditions of the ghetto generally then we must also change our educational system as a basic part of the overall change that is to come. We must improve over what we have now. I want to express our thanks for our panelists who participated in this discussion on education for providing us with some significant material to think about. Our panelists Mr. Jonathan Kozol teacher Wright a specialist on ghetto schools Dr. Ed you've Shapira the superintendent of District Number three of the New York City Board of Education and of
course Mr. Quinn Elliot the editor of Newsweek. Please disinfo the next program in this series what must be done when we will cover another aspect of America's urban crisis and what must be done to solve it. What must be done was created and produced by Sam chase for Debbie Ivey Radio in New York with the cooperation of Newsweek magazine. I'm Percy Sutton saying thank you for now this program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
What must be done
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For series info, see Item 3635. This prog.: Continuation of previous program: Osborn Elliott, Jonathan Kozol, Dr. elliott Shapiro
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Producing Organization: WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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Chicago: “What must be done; Education,” 1968-09-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
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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