Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Role of the School -- W.E.B. DuBois (1935)


Although schools have been required to take on many roles, the primary role must always be teaching and learning and the resulting, measurable student achievement. Here is how W.E.B. DuBois described the role of the school in 1935:

"The school has again but one way, and that is, first and last, to teach them to read, write and count. And if the school fails to do that, and tries beyond that to do something for which a school is not adapted, it not only fails in its own function, but it fails in all other attempted functions. Because no school as such can organize industry, or settle the matter of wages and income, can found homes or furnish parents, can establish justice or make a civilized world."

- W.E.B. DuBois, address to Georgia State Teachers Convention, 1935

DuBois, W.E.B. "Curriculum Revision" (April 12, 1935) in DuBois Papers, Park Johnson Archives, Fisk University ; quoted in King, Kenneth James, Pan-Africanism and Education in the Southern States and East Africa. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 257.


Anonymous said...

This quote is is a gem. Wish we could reach the point again where teaching kids to read, write, and do 'rithmetic was the main role of the school and this teaching actually took place. Unfortunately, I think the misguided have taken control and have found other things than real learning to be of greater value in the schools of today.

Anonymous said...

That's it. Schools need children, more than children need schools. If SPS can justify its curriculum by first insulting parents, teachers, and students. Then deliberately low ball standards for their political friends. Then its about time they were openly criticized and derided. If there is no justice, then there is always sarcasm.