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It was shortly after the explosions of violence in several of New York City's public schools during the 1957-58 term that the World Telegram decided to send a reporter into the school system as a teacher. George Allen qualified for a license as a regular substitute in English and got a job in John Marshall Junior High School in Brooklyn. John Marshall -- located in an ethnically changing neighborhood -- had had a series of outbursts --vandalism, stabbings, rapes -- which, it was assumed, culminated in the suicide of its principal. In November of 1958, after Allen had spent nine months in John Marshall, the World Telegram began publishing a series of sixteen front page articles about the events described in this book. His story needs no hyperbole: the bare facts are sufficiently appalling. This is a revelation of educational theory unrelated to the facts of teaching; inadequate equipment; underpaid teachers who are forced to serve as policemen and babysitters for pupils who are uninterested in learning; oversize classes and too little teaching time; the ninth grade students who could neither read nor write; and the emotionally disturbed youngsters for whom compulsory schooling is only torture. Even the most casual of newspaper readers could scarcely be unaware of the state of the city's schools. It is the cumulative effect of this book which is depressing.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday