Goals for Political Science

By American Political Science Association | Go to book overview

Chapter VIII. Better Teamwork
Between High Schools
and Colleges

POLITICAL scientists have long since discovered that relationship may be as important as process. Even though we might be doing a superb job of teaching political science within our respective institutions, our total performance would be greatly reduced in efficiency if we were to slight our relationship with the high schools, which send us our students. We need to know where to start to teach before we can make much of an impact on the student. We must not assume too much or too little in the way of previous knowledge or sophistication, or our seed will fall on sterile ground. But do we really believe this, and have we proceeded to act upon it? The inescapable conclusion is that we have not. Our relationship to the secondary schools is one of the weakest parts of our total performance to date; hence, an immediate goal for political science should be to improve this relationship as well as to improve our teaching process.

The 1915 committee, for example, devoted about one half of its report to the relationship of high school civics teachers and college professors of political science. Its findings were not encouraging. "With the exception of some incidental attention given in courses for training history teachers," the report said, "civics instruction in the public schools has received exceedingly little consideration by departments of political science."1 The

____________________
1
American Political Science Association, Committee on Instruction, The Teaching of Government ( New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916), p. 75.

-220-

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