A TEACHER SPEAKS by Philip Marson


Email this review


Substantiating the line of argument which was launched by Rickover, Conant, etc. for ""trained minds"" rather than ""trained missiles""- a classroom teacher turns in his own report card on education today, as based on his personal experience in the oldest school in the country with the highest standards of integrity and scholarship- Boston Latin School. Marson secured his appointment there in 1926- and found the first ten years (over and above the difficulty of reconciling maintaining a family with a teacher's salary) really satisfying, enabling him- as they did- to combine a stimulating program with the school's fine, traditional standards of teaching and learning. 1935 was the turning point for Boston Latin as well as the country; for teachers, there was the perversion of the merit system (politics- and religious prejudice-with favoritism for Catholics- entered in); for students- the decline of standards of both grading and achievement, the permissiveness of attitudes and the debasement of learning at all levels made possible by the default of the colleges, where admissions were based on athletic and social qualifications rather than intellectual. Marson retired in 1957, to write this book (and other shorter pieces which have already had a good deal of attention). By now, much of what he has to say here has been voiced and viewed with alarm by other critics. There can be no question of the importance of his cause or his devotion to it; there may however be some question whether it will reach his intended readers. He's a sincere but rather prosaic writer.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1960
Publisher: David McKay