By: Myron Lieberman
Source: Lieberman, Myron. "What the Problem Is Not." In The Future of Public Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960, 15–25.
About the Author: Myron Lieberman (1919–) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II (1939–1945), and after earning a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in 1952, he began a career as an educator. Lieberman has been a high school and college instructor as well as a negotiator and consultant for many educational groups.
Both World War II and the Korean War (1950–1953) affected school funding in the United States. Because of the difficult economic conditions, government funds were diverted from schools and used to fund the military. Local and state government took over the responsibility for school funding and control, causing disparity among school districts. However, this was only part of the problem with education in America at the time.
Educational theorists of the late 1950s and early 1960s wanted to return to the emphasis on "the three Rs"—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Reports were issued and books written about the subject. Many of the theorists of the time...
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On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand
By: Jerome Bruner
Source: Bruner, Jerome. "The Act of Discovery." In On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962, 81–85.
About the Author: Jerome S. Bruner (1915–) is a well-known psychologist and educator. In 1960, he cofounded the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard. Bruner was also involved in the MACOS (Man: A Course of Study) project, an attempt to produce a comprehensive curriculum based on behavioral sciences. Bruner has been a prolific author, writing several important works in the field of cognitive science.
Jerome Bruner was one of many psychologists studying the areas of thinking and learning in the 1950s and 1960s. He came to believe that "learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge." At the heart of the theory, called constructivist theory, is Socratic learning, or encouraging students to discover their own answers and principles. This is a quite different approach than rote learning and memorization, and it influenced instruction in schools.
Bruner's theories differed from those if his contemporaries, B.F. Skinner and Jean Piaget. Skinner's theory...
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The Community of Scholars
By: Paul Goodman
Source: Goodman, Paul. "Society and School." In The Community of Scholars. New York: Random House, 1962, 46–52.
About the Author: Paul Goodman (1918–1972) was born in New York City and spent most of his career as a poor and itinerant teacher. He first received widespread notice with his book Growing Up Absurd, which was published in 1960. This paved the way for further publications, many on education. Goodman taught at several institutions and worked as a lay psychotherapist with the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy. He was politically active during the 1960s. He also wrote fiction and poetry. His political beliefs influenced both his fiction and nonfiction works.
In the early 1960s, there were no shortages of studies about what aspects of the American educational system needed to be improved. The problem was how to make those improvements and who would pay for them. James Conant's 1961 Slums and Suburbs: A Commentary on Schools in Metropolitan Areas recognized the problems of violence in schools but did not address how to remedy it. The American College, a collection of essays, asked a number of questions about college education in America. The...
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Educated American Women: Self-Portraits
By: Eli Ginzberg and Alice M. Yohalem
Source: Ginzberg, Eli, and Alice M. Yohalem. Educated American Women: Self-Portraits. New York: Columbia University Press, 1966, 1–9.
About the Author: Eli Ginzberg (1911–2002) was born in New York City. The son of a Talmudist scholar, Ginzberg was drawn to education. He earned degrees from the University of Heidelberg, the University of Grenoble, and Columbia University. In 1935 he joined the Graduate School of Business at Columbia as a faculty member. Ginzberg published widely on economics, healthcare, and education.
Women's education was not a new idea in the 1940s and 1950s; in fact, women were attending college in increasing numbers. But society still expected women to marry and raise a family, and it was assumed that mothers would not work at a full-time job outside the home.
Published in 1966, Educated American Women: Self-Portraits, by Eli Ginzberg and Alice M. Yohalem, was the third volume based on a study of graduate students at Columbia University between 1940–1945 and 1959–1951. Data was collected in 1961 and 1963. The first volume, titled Talent and Performance, concentrates on male graduate...
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Children of Crisis: A Study of Courage and Fear
By: Robert Coles
Source: Coles, Robert. Children of Crisis: A Study of Courage and Fear. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1967, 363–368.
About the Author: Robert Coles (1929–) was born in Boston. After graduating from Harvard University (1950), he earned a medical degree at Columbia University (1954) and served a number of residencies in the field of child psychiatry. He was an Air Force neuropsychiatrist from 1958 to 1960. He has since worked as a child psychiatrist, professor at Harvard Univerity, and writer of more than fifty books exploring the development of children. His work focuses especially on social justice for children. In 2003, he was the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard.
As an Air Force neuropsychiatrist stationed in Mississippi in 1958, Robert Coles began to notice the injustices and power issues that occurred between the races. He embarked on a study of the social stress from the effects of desegregation. The goal of his research was "to describe certain lives," especially the way political and social stresses affected those lives. Coles sought to explain the motivations for people's actions. Why do young people participate in sit-ins? Why do mobs of white adults...
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Learning to Read: The Great Debate
By: Jeanne S. Chall
Source: Chall, Jeanne S. Learning to Read: The Great Debate. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967, 187–190.
About the Author: Jeanne S. Chall (1921–1999) was born in Poland and became a naturalized United States citizen. Chall earned degrees from City College in New York (B.B.A.,1941) and Ohio State University (M.A., 1947; Ph.D., 1952). A psychologist, she dedicated her life to teaching, especially to teaching reading and discovering how to improve methods of reading instruction. Chall taught at various institutions and finished her career at Harvard University, where the reading lab is named in her honor.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, debates raged about the best way to teach children to read. Rudolf Flesch's best-selling Why Johnny Can't Read, published in 1955, criticized the "sight-word" method popularized by reading series such as those featuring Dick and Jane.
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Death at an Early Age
By: Jonathan Kozol
Source: Kozol, Jonathan. Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967, 1–7.
About the Author: Jonathan Kozol (1936–) spent his career advocating for the illiterate and the homeless. Harvard-educated and an Oxford University Rhodes scholar, he taught fourth grade in a Boston public school in 1964–65. Kozol has been working with students in poor urban neighborhoods ever since. Kozol's many books document the problems associated with poverty and lack of education.
De facto segregation was one of the most difficult issues faced by the city of Boston in the 1960s. Although the Boston School Committee developed a policy that would allow a student to attend any school with an open
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By: Herbert Kohl
Source: Kohl, Herbert. 36 Children. New York: The New American Library, 1967, 3–8.
About the Author: Herbert Kohl (1937–) spent his career exploring alternatives to traditional education. He was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and Teacher's College, Columbia University. Kohl taught in a New York City school for two years in the 1960s. His 1969 book The Open Classroom: A Practical Guide to a New Way of Teaching discusses teaching methods that help students discover what is meaningful to them. Kohl's educational philosophy emphasizes respect and honesty with students.
In the mid-1960s, slightly over 50 percent of New York state's children attended urban schools. These were often schools, as one observer described them in 1969, "hampered by financial stringency, and, in recent years, by the growing resentment of minority groups isolated in a particular school or area." These numbers and problems did not only occur in New York, they were common in cities across the United States. City schools, and especially inner-city schools, were frequently understaffed and lacking in supplies and books. The school districts gave up on the children who attended these schools, labeling them...
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Identity: Youth and Crisis
By: Erik H. Erikson
Source: Erikson, Erik H. Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: W.W. Norton, 1968, 91–96.
About the Author: Erik H. Erikson (1902–1994) was born in Germany and trained at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. He moved to the United States in 1933 as the political climate worsened in Europe. Erikson had a private psychiatric practice, worked at the Austin Riggs Center in Massachusetts, and taught at Harvard. Erikson's work on child and human development is considered significant in the field of psychoanalysis.
In the preface of Erik H. Erikson's Identity: Youth and Crisis, he tells a story about one of his professors' lectures on ego boundaries, which concludes with the question "Now—have I understood myself?" He maintains that he continues to ask himself that question as he explores the concept and meaning of identity.
Identity: Youth and Crisis draws upon two decades of Erikson's work. The chapters were originally written as essays, lectures for a variety of audiences, or notes about his research. Works were combined to avoid repetition of ideas. The revisions of these essays allowed Erikson to rethink the ideas he had developed...
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Don't Mourn—Organize!: SDS Guide to Community Organizing
By: Students for a Democratic Society
Source: Students for a Democratic Society. Don't Mourn—Organize!: SDS Guide to Community Organizing. San Francisco and Chicago: Movement Press, 1968, 2–3. Reproduced in Digital & Multimedia Center, Michigan State University Libraries. Available online at ; website home page: http://lib0131.lib.msu.edu (accessed April 18, 2003).
About the Organization: Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was a national left-wing organization. It was originally organized in 1946 as the Student Department of the League for Industrial Democracy. It reorganized at a meeting held in Port Huron, Michigan, in June 1962. Tom Hayden, one of the early leaders, drafted the Port Huron Statement, the manifesto for the group. Students involved in SDS led protests against the Vietnam War and social injustices throughout the 1960s.
According to a 1970 report of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest, Students for a Democratic Society "called on students to work for a society where all men would more fully control their own lives and social institutions." In April 1965, the group organized a march in Washington; twenty thousand...
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As the Seed Is Sown
By: Office of Economic Opportunity
Source: Office of Economic Opportunity. As the Seed Is Sown. Washington, D.C.: Office of Economic Opportunity, 1968, 23–25.
About the Organization: The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was formed under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" initiative. Johnson (served 1963–1969) insisted on a new office to run the programs because he did not want them to become lost in established departments. Created in August 1964, the Office of Economic Opportunity oversaw Title VI, one of six sections of the Economic Opportunity Act. Programs under Title VI included VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) and Project Head Start, an educational program for disadvantaged preschool children and their families.
The Office of Economic Opportunity, headed by Sargent Shriver, dispersed its first grants in January 1965. Shriver had been the chief of the Peace Corps, a program instituted by President John F. Kennedy (served 1961–1963). Head Start was created in mid-February 1965 as a way to increase disadvantaged children's readiness for learning in school. In addition to educational programs for preschool...
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A Writer Teaches Writing: A Practical Method of Teaching Composition
By: Donald M. Murray
Source: Murray, Donald M. A Writer Teaches Writing: A Practical Method of Teaching Composition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1968, 1–3.
About the Author: Donald M. Murray (1924–) began his career as a journalist. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1954 for editorial writing in the Boston Herald. He was a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, where he inaugurated a journalism program and helped establish a graduate program in composition studies. Murray also has been a writing coach for several newspapers. He is the author of several books on writing and writing instruction as well as a novel and a collection of poems. As of 2003, he continued to write a column for the Boston Globe.
Composition as a field of study began to develop in the early 1960s. Many in the field mark the 1963 publication of Research in Written Composition, by Richard Braddock, Richard Lloyd-Jones, and L. Schoer, as the beginning point. Up until then, composition and rhetoric had been the responsibility of the English department. Freshman English as a standard college course began around the end of the nineteenth century. These courses focused on what Patricia Bizzell and...
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The Strawberry Statement—Notes of a College Revolutionary
By: James S. Kunen
Source: Kunen, James S. The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary. New York: Random House, 1969, 4–7.
About the Author: James S. Kunen (1948–) was born in Boston. He attended Andover prior to enrolling at Columbia University. Kunen is the author of four books. He works as freelance writer, contributing to magazines such as US, Atlantic, New York, and Sports Illustrated.
In the 1940s and 1950s, protests were uncommon on college campuses. This changed in the fall of 1964, when administrators at Berkeley enforced a rule prohibiting political groups from collecting money and recruiting members. When a nonstudent activist was arrested on October 1, a sit-in began that lasted for thirty-two hours. Attention from the media encouraged other students in their protests.
Reasons for student protests varied from campus to campus, but three common issues emerged: American involvement in Vietnam; racial inequality; and the "unresponsiveness" of the federal government and university administrations and their "repressive" reaction to student demands. Increasingly radical groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) became involved...
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