March 15, 1935, Page 3
"Teachers Puppets of Ruling Class,"
Declares Principal at Conference
That leachers are the puppets
of "the ruling class from Morgan down" and teach precisely what they
are told to teach; and that the good boy is one who will obey, who will
not strike, who will not join a I labor onion," was the statement of D.
Alexander Fichlander, principal of the Dewey Junior High School at the
eleventh annual Junior High School conference at New York University,
according to the World Telegram of March 9. ''If we teach
differently we will lose our jobs," he continued..
The need for
teaching democratic principles and the extension of the democratic
ideal was upheld by the majority of speakers Dr. Fichandler urged the
application of democracy in the classroom. He said that students should
be encouraged to organize in groups, and should be discouraged from
"In school life
democracy must start in the school room," he said. "In kindergarten,
when the teacher asks what games do you wish to play or what story
shall I tell, she is starting a democratic method by giving the
children a choice. It is important to encourage the children to
organize themselves into groups to do what they will, within reason.
The modern school has a real chance to put into practice democratic
"Are there any
limits to democracy in schools? Of course there are. There are certain
problems which are beyond the comprehension children. We speak of our
experiences in ordering the children, but have we been so successful?
Look what we have done to this world. Do we really know more than the
kids? When we order them around we must explain the reason.
"I know of no more
damnable lie than Tennyson's ‘Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to
do and die.' Where we insist on silence we muar explain to the children
that we gave the order to save their lives. Otherwise we make them
blind slaves. Blind slavishness should not be tolerated in any school
.in the country.. It one is forced to obey, the reason for his
obedience should be explained.
"As long as we
subscribe to the ideal of democracy, the greatest thing we can do is to
inculcate that ideal in the students."
Horne, of New York University, asserted that the American principles of
democracy must be reconsidered and their meaning expanded. Greater
educational opportunity mast be given to all," he said.
"Education needs to
be inter-racial, inter-class and international." he said, "There are
over a million American boys and girls not in any school. We have over
5,000,000 illiterates. Our schools should face the -controversial
issues of the day frankly and train our youth to think in social and
Dr. Gabriel R.
Masan, principal of the Abraham Lincoln High School, said that "the
teachers [sic] faith in democracy is the greatest factor in spiritual
"The question we
ask ourselves is: "Are we dictatorial in our school. or are we
democratic enough to elicit the best in our teachers," he said. "We
want leachers to be more than mere automatons."
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May 20, 2004