education in the 60s (multiple responses)

Fri, 13 Jun 1997 03:21:52 -0400


From: Tom Condit <>
Subject: Re: education in the 60s

At 02:12 PM 6/11/97, Kim Heikkila wrote:
[Long Snip}
>Can anyone recommend such texts from the 60s? Are there any must-read
>treatises on the need for educational innovation?

Boy, you've picked a big one. There was enormous ferment around the question
of education at every level "from preschool to graduate school" as we say
these days. (The term "preschool" wasn't much in use until the 1970s.)

The two "must read" texts, in order, are _Growing Up Absurd_ and _Compulsory
Miseducation_, both by Paul Goodman -- not because they're necessarily right
or wrong on any given question, but because they were the most influential
work of the time among both students and teachers.

Outside the U.S. (and to a large extent inside) the most influential figure
is Paolo Freire.

If you have access to a library which has a file of the British magazine
_Anarchy_ you might track the discussions on adventure playgrounds,
Summerhill, etc., many of which were reflected in other places.

Eric Mann wrote a very influential article on why he was fired from teaching
English at Brooklyn College in (1965?) for telling his students that there
were only two possible grades in his class -- an "A" for doing all the work,
and an "F" for not doing it. He maintained that was the only way to break
students from writing what would have gotten them an "A" in high school
instead of thinking. (I think this was in _Liberation_, but I'm not sure.)

You might direct an inquiry to the editors of _Radical Teacher_. Although
that journal wasn't started until 1975, I'm willing to bet they can fill you
in on earlier material. Their business address is P O Box 383316, Cambridge,
MA 02238[


From: "Ron Jacobs" <>
Subject: Re: education in the 60s

> Can anyone recommend such texts from the 60s? Are there any
> must-read treatises on the need for educational innovation? I know
> that students were organizing around many volatile social issues
> during this era, but I am curious to know what they and others were
> saying specifically about our educational system (esp. high school

Check out THE STUDENT AS NIGGER by Jerry Farber and SUMMERHILL by
A.S. Neill

Ron Jacobs\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Lost my boots in transit, babe
Bailey/Howe Library,\\\\\\\\Pile of smoking leather
University of Vermont\\\\\\\\\\Nailed a retread to my feet
Reserve desk\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\And prayed for better weather...\\\\\\\\-Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia
Burlington,VT USA\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\


Subject: Re: education in the 60s

Re. Kim's note:

>I am teaching a composition class next year that <snip> and would like
>to include some 60s-era articles/discussions/approaches to/innovations in
>educational practice and theory to accompany the text. <snip>
>Can anyone recommend such texts from the 60s? Are there any must-read
>treatises on the need for educational innovation?

Whew, lots of stuff out of that era! On some educational & pedagogical
thinking explicitly tied to multiculturalism & civil rights, check out stuff
by and about Myles Horton and the Highlander School. There's a Temple Press
book called "We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and
Social Change" edited by Brenda Bell & 2 others, that I'd recommend. Then, of
course, Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" --a classic (early 70s? not sure).
But there was the whole literature about educational oppressions & inequality
(john Holt, How Children Fail; Kozol, Death at an early Age; Hentoff,Our
Children Are Dying; Edgar Friedenberg, Coming of Age in America (?); Paul
goodman's Growing up Absurd (50s); Herndon, The Way it Spozed to Be;
Silberman, The Crisis in Education (?) --good overview chapters on Educ for
Conformity; and Educ. for Inequality; George Dennison's First STreet SChool;
Jules' Henry's book (name?) on culture of advertising/schooling; and of course
Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society ('70 I think), and Bowles & Gintis' Schooling
in capitalist America ('73?). Many more (I can consult my bookshelf in my
office soon, if you'd like). There was the free school/ store-front school/
open classroom movement(s).

It was an era of ideas about educational innovation that makes anything that's
happened on that front since pale by comparison.

Hope this helps!
Ted Morgan

Department of Political Science
Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015
phone: (610) 758-3345
fax: (610) 758-6554