SLUMS AND SUBURBS: A Commentary on Paper Schools in the Metropolitan Area by James Bryant Conant

SLUMS AND SUBURBS: A Commentary on Paper Schools in the Metropolitan Area

Email this review


Dr. Conant's controversial The American High School Today dealt with the High School in small independent cities not part of a metropolitan area. This new study deals with schools in well-to-do suburbs and in sharp contrast schools in large-city slums. His basic conclusion seems to this reader sound, even though in conflict with the hopeful thinking of some other educators, i.e. that schools must differ in order to serve special communities, and that variation in achievement on the part of pupils is largely conditioned by home environment and parental inadequacies, which should become a part of the school knowledge and responsibility. To this end attention should be directed perhaps more to students of less than average abilities in both city slums and suburban areas, through work-study programs, educational and vocational guidance up to age 21, cooperation of management and labor, more teachers and more pay for teachers in slum areas, and again -- for the slum areas- improvement in the lives of the families. Contrary to many educators, Dr. Conant pleads for ability grouping and individualized programs, as meeting the needs of both superior and inferior students. He feels that artificial desegregation where homogeneous groups are result of natural causes is inadvisable. But that neighborhood and school needs should be coordinated. High School programs should be maintained at a broad enough level to allow professional choice at college level- or occupational choice at non-college level. Keep the doors open. Even professional schools should require mastery of academic subjects (and vice versa). He urges the lifting of pressures for the prestige colleges in suburban areas- the better understanding of the needs of the individual child, the recognition of the problem of slow learners wherever found. He notes the revolution in schools- and stresses the importance of an honest and frank approach to today's problems. We need to know the facts, and for many this book will open the eyes of those who have resisted knowledge.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill