Reform of Public Schools

April 15, 1970

Report Outline
Search for New Modes of Mass Education
Major Trends in Educational Innovation
Outlook for Effective School Reforms
Special Focus

Search for New Modes of Mass Education

Rising Pressure on Public Schools to Change

Pressure on the nation's public schools to reform is mounting as their troubles increase. The traditionally slow-to-change school systems are being asked not merely to graft on innovative programs here and there but to adopt totally new approaches to the task of educating the nation's young people. The demand for fundamental change comes at a lime when many schools are almost overwhelmed by shortages of funds, student rebellions, militant teacher unionism and desegregation problems. The troubles of the schools are, in fact, spurring on reform.

The pressure for change comes from all sides—from education theorists, blue-ribbon study commissions, the makers of instructional materials, author-critics, disillusioned schoolteachers, parents and students. The last, especially, demand “relevancy” and “humanity” in the daily school life as campus unrest penetrates the high school. A marked weakening of confidence in the efficacy of traditional school practices has obviously taken hold of educator and layman alike.

Though some schools are moving toward a new order of what some would call a revolution in education, the massive public school system as a whole can hardly be said to have made an appreciable shift from the instructional modes of the past, “The average American school,” Emmanuel G. Mestheme wrote, “is disquietingly like the schools we went to 30 years ago. Peace, quiet, and order are prominent among its objectives, he said, and the typical teacher still sticks to a pre-established lesson plan regardless of pupil interest. But quietude is no guarantee that all is well. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Robert H. Finch, has warned: “The passive acquiescence of boredom is just as much an index of trouble in schools as vandalism and disruption, even though one receives the headlines and the other does not.” Both disruption and boredom, he said, show “how little we do know about success or failures of our American educational system.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Issues
Jan. 27, 2023  Deaths of Despair
Sep. 23, 2022  Public Schools' Challenges
Aug. 12, 2022  Parents' Rights
Apr. 01, 2022  Online Learning
Jan. 21, 2022  Teaching About Racism
Oct. 01, 2021  COVID-19 and Children
Jun. 11, 2021  Special Education
Jun. 21, 2019  Title IX and Campus Sexual Assault
May 17, 2019  School Safety
Feb. 02, 2018  Bullying and Cyberbullying
Feb. 03, 2017  Civic Education
Sep. 05, 2014  Race and Education
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
May 09, 2014  School Discipline
Mar. 07, 2014  Home Schooling
Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
Nov. 15, 2011  Expanding Higher Education
Dec. 10, 2010  Preventing Bullying Updated
Apr. 16, 2010  Revising No Child Left Behind
Mar. 26, 2010  Teen Pregnancy
Sep. 04, 2009  Financial Literacy
Jun. 05, 2009  Student Rights
Feb. 22, 2008  Reading Crisis?
Jul. 13, 2007  Students Under Stress
Apr. 27, 2007  Fixing Urban Schools Updated
Nov. 10, 2006  Video Games Updated
Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
Oct. 07, 2005  Academic Freedom
Aug. 26, 2005  Evaluating Head Start
May 27, 2005  No Child Left Behind
Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
Sep. 06, 2002  Teaching Math and Science
Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
May 17, 1996  Year-Round Schools
Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
Mar. 11, 1994  Education Standards
Apr. 09, 1993  Head Start
Nov. 30, 1990  Conflict Over Multicultural Education
Feb. 05, 1988  Preschool: Too Much Too Soon?
Oct. 23, 1987  Education Reform
Aug. 24, 1984  Status of the Schools
Sep. 10, 1982  Schoolbook Controversies
Sep. 03, 1982  Post-Sputnik Education
Aug. 18, 1978  Competency Tests
Jan. 26, 1972  Public School Financing
Nov. 03, 1971  Education for Jobs
Apr. 15, 1970  Reform of Public Schools
Aug. 27, 1969  Discipline in Public Schools
Dec. 27, 1968  Community Control of Public Schools
Jun. 14, 1965  Summer School Innovations
Oct. 28, 1964  Education of Slum Children
Jun. 05, 1963  Year-Round School
Mar. 28, 1962  Mentally Retarded Children
Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
Sep. 25, 1957  Liberal Education
Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
Feb. 02, 1955  Federal Aid for School Construction
Mar. 07, 1951  Education in an Extended Emergency
Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
Elementary and Secondary Education