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Spotlight masathead


March 8, 1935, Pages 1, 4


Says NEA Meeting
Has Not Hindered
Academic Freedom

Professor Counts Of Columbia
Refers To Liberality Of
Radical Educators


Points Out Significance In Defeat
Of Resolution Favoring
Hearst Press

         "The recent conference of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association at Atlantic City has certainly not hindered the fight for academic freedom or the anti-Hearst campaign;' said Dr. George S. Counts of Teachers College, Columbia University, in an interview with a Spotlight reporter Wednesday. Professor Counts was styled by the Hearst press as the "foremost communistic propagandist in the country."

          "In fact," he continued, "this group, which is the most reactionary group of educators in the country has never been so liberal. It reaffirmed its belief in the principle of academic freedom for all workers in education," and favored "study of the problems of academic freedom."

          J. Chester Cochran of San Antonio, Texas introduced a resolution in favor of the Hearst press which was defeated in the resolutions committee. "Mr. Hearst undoubtedly expected that resolution to be passed," said Dr. Counts, "and although anti-Hearst censure was abandoned by the militant group, the fact that no pro-Hearst motion was passed is significant."

         Mr. Cochran. who said there was a Hearst newspaper in his town, declared that there had been academic freedom as long as they were not radical.

          Senator Gerald P. Nye, chairman of the Senate munitions Investigating Committee, announced last Friday that his committee would make no inquiry into the activities of the Hearst press, as requested by the educators in session at Atlantic City.

          There is no reason to question the motives of Mr. Hearst just because he advocates preparedness," Senator Nye declared, according to the World Telegram of February 28. Dr. Counts said, however, that it is probable that some evidence will be placed before Senator Nye which will compel him to investigate Hearst.

          The Social Frontier group, headed by Professor Counts and Dr. Charles A. Beard, attempted to commit the convention to a resolution to give financial and legal support to teaches "inquiring into the causes of national distress." The defeat of the resolution caused Heywood Broun to say, "I was shocked to the end of my toes as I sat here this morning and heard the superintendents refuse to go on record in favor of fighting for academic freedom."

          Dr. A.J. Stoddard, new president of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association, spoke against indoctrination of pupils. He said, "We want the boys of America to be able to tell the boys and girls the facts in connection with the problems of society as far as it is humanly possible to determine these problems. We want the teachers protected in the presentation of those facts. But I don't believe any educator directly connected with learning on the part of children should be allowed deliberately to indoctrinate those children in accordance with his own peculiar opinions of some subject."

          The convention adopted resolutions requesting an appropriation for the PWA to provide work and education for unemployed youth, continuance of Federal emergency help to distressed school districts, and a national survey to establish the need of permanent Federal aid to schools.

          Abolition of child labor, an end to profits in war, and better motion pictures were also urged at the convention.


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May 20, 2004