The Three R's

October 19, 1960

Report Outline
New Emphasis on Learning's Basic Skills
Reading Deficiencies of American Youth
Deficiencies in Ability to Write
Coming Revolution in Mathematics Instruction

New Emphasis on Learning's Basic Skills

Concern over the failure of many American students to acquire proficiency in the basic skills of learning has inspired a country-wide effort to strengthen instruction in the three R's at all levels of the educational process. The national need for more highly trained men and women; complaints that Johnny never learned to read, or write, or do sums properly; biting criticism of prevailing school practices by crusaders for “basic education” have all contributed to a revival of emphasis on “reading, ‘riting and’ rithmetic.”

Revision of curricula has been the main theme of most educational conferences in recent years. At the local level school authorities have been re-assessing their programs and teaching techniques. Many school systems are introducing new teaching materials and sending teachers to special workshops to acquaint them with new methods of teaching the basic subjects. Thousands of special studies have sought to define more clearly the processes by which children learn to read, to comprehend written material, to express themselves clearly, and to deal with fundamental principles of mathematics.

Subject-Centered Vs. Child-Centered Schooling

Reforms in teaching the three R's are being introduced while debate continues over the values of “child-centered” vs. “subject-centered” education. This larger controversy is far from being resolved but it is clear that demands for tougher, more disciplined instruction in basic subjects are having profound effects on school programs.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Standards and Testing
Elementary and Secondary Education
Research in Education