Current Problems of Public Policy: A Collection of Materials

Current Problems of Public Policy: A Collection of Materials

Current Problems of Public Policy: A Collection of Materials

Current Problems of Public Policy: A Collection of Materials

Excerpt

Among the tendencies in American education none is more striking than the increasing attention given to current social problems in colleges and schools. Careful studies of development in curricula merely confirm the common observation of those who are familiar with the general history of education and contemporary practice. And given the present disturbed conditions in domestic and foreign affairs it is likely that the emphasis on current problems will grow rather than diminish.

Yet it cannot be said that the materials for instruction in this field are readily available. The collection, analysis, and presentation of them in the class room offer difficulties which are not encountered in the routine use of the systematic text book. Materials pour pell mell from the press, and may be supplemented, in many cases, by direct observation. On controversial issues it is often impossible to secure effective statements of all the views in conflict. Even the primary documents cannot always be obtained for immediate class room use. Nor are teachers always trained in source methods -- the finding and criticism of current materials for balanced and effective presentation.

Hence it may be said with safety that there is no more pressing task in contemporary education than that of making available to teachers authentic and appropriate materials on current social problems. The task, no doubt, is perplexing and no ready way of disposing of it has been discovered; but a beginning may be made. It was to make a beginning that the American Political Science Association, at its meeting in Chicagoin January, 1935, created a sub-committee of its Committee on Policy and charged that body with surveying the problem of materials and preparing a volume that might be considered as illustrative, if nothing more.

This volume is the outcome of the sub-committee's labors. It is governed by certain limitations adopted at the outset. The field chosen is that of government. The emphasis is on ideas and functions rather than the machinery of government. All papers chosen are official in character. The time covered is, roughly speaking, the federal fiscal year, 1934-1935. The first Part deals with opinion.

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