WHAT WE WANT OF OUR SCHOOLS by Irving Adler

WHAT WE WANT OF OUR SCHOOLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Education, the national whipping boy, takes it on the chin again. Critic Adler takes exception to many facets of the contemporary educational scene; in particular the emphasis on intelligence testing, (he maintains that educators use low I.Q. scores to justify limited learning), current methods in the teaching of reading, and the implied rejection of organized and sequential methods of teaching subject matter in favor of John Dewey's project method. Our serious shortage of scientists is alarming in view of the fact that 53% of the nation's high schools teach no physics and 50% teach no chemistry. Colonial America knew two types of schools, the liberal education of private school for the privileged and inferior education through charity schools for the unprivileged. Today with reliance on I.Q. tests dividing the high school curriculum into a pathway toward higher education for those who achieve high scores on the tests, and the second track leading to a dead end upon high school graduation, for boys and girls with low scores, he asserts we have returned to our initial status. Author Adler recaps the teacher shortage but he takes issue with current educational philosophy- a great rug under which the schools may sweep all the dirt they don't want inquiring parents to see. To replace intelligence tests he suggests the establishment of definite grade standards of achievement in each area of knowledge and skill; the only acceptable goal should be a steady all round raising of levels of achievement that will result in a corresponding raising of educational norms. Remedial programs, to lessen the gap between high scoring students and those with low scores, should be undertaken to broaden the top of our educational pyramid and thereby prepare a ""richer milk from which more cream will rise."" Readiness and motivation, two threadbare cliches, are also reevaluated in a book which will doubtless be the topic of conversation at many a PTA meeting.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1957
Publisher: John Day