The Troubled Crusade: American Education, 1945-1980

By Diane Ravitch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Postwar Initiatives

IN EARLY 1945, with the war in Europe coming to an end, the Senate Committee on Education and Labor opened hearings on a proposal for federal aid to education. The most insistent claimants for federal help were poor districts, which had a difficult time adequately financing their public schools from local property taxes. In addition to the usual statements of support and opposition from interest groups, several teachers told the senators about conditions in their schools. Miss Wilma Upchurch, a teacher from rural Nebraska, stated that her school had 487 pupils and twelve teachers, only seven of whom had college degrees. Because of low salaries, teacher turnover had been 50 percent the year before, and one out of every five teachers in the state had a temporary emergency teaching certificate, usually because of lack of qualifications. Her district, a poor one, taxed itself to the limit and yet was able to spend only forty to forty-seven dollars per pupil annually. "I am sure I could get a job in another state, or maybe I could work at the bomber plant," Miss Upchurch testified, "but I would rather stay in the teaching profession. Somebody has got to teach those children, and I would like to do it."1

Mrs. Florence Christmas, a black teacher from Copiah County, Mississippi, described her school of 190 children and three teachers. As principal, she taught all subjects in four grades (fifth through eighth) and received $60 per month for six months. The other two teachers were paid, respectively, $292 and $288 for the six-month term. Mrs. Christmas said:

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The Troubled Crusade: American Education, 1945-1980
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - Postwar Initiatives 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Rise and Fall of Progressive Education 43
  • Chapter 3 - Loyalty Investigations 81
  • Chapter 4 - Race and Education: The Brown Decision 114
  • Chapter 5 - Race and Education: Social Science and Law 145
  • Chapter 6 - From Berkeley to Kent State 182
  • Chapter 7 - Reformers, Radicals, and Romantics 228
  • Chapter 8 - The New Politics of Education 267
  • Epilogue: - From 1945 to 1980 321
  • Notes 331
  • A NOTE ON SOURCES 357
  • Index 372
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