WHERE, WHEN AND WHY by Martin Mayer


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Written in the sassy, succinct style of the smart set magazines (Time, Esquire, New Yorker- indeed author Mayer is an Esquire regular), Where, When and Why is a step-on-everybody's-toes' journey through our secondary schools and the social studies that are taught or non-taught therein. Commissioned by the ACLS and the arnegie Corporation, the irreverent, highly informed inquirer spent a year crisscrossing the country, sitting in on classes, cataloguing conversations (some are frighteningly funny), and doling out the black marks. 8 courses are canvassed: Geography (the rote system is useless), History (it needs to be opened at the eams), Government (even the Bill of Rights is misunderstood), Anthropology (the new scholarly pretension), Psychology (outmodedly oriented towards ""Life-adjustment"" palaver), Economics (mostly non-existent), and Sociology (as presented now it's about as defensible as a rehash of current events). Also, IQ-wise social studies teachers are runners-up to coaches- that means they're pretty low. There are a few bright straws in the currently changing winds, but not many. Essentially, according to Mayer, ""problem-solving"" progressive education is out; what's needed is the inductive rather than the deductive approach: not the peddling of ""truth"", but the stimulation of disciplined ideas; and the use of techniques like the recent revolution in scientific pedagogy. A colorful, controversial report, bound to be disconcerting to the academy and to interest the sizeable parent body which read the earlier The Schools (1961).

Pub Date: April 24th, 1963
Publisher: Harper & Row