AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION INVESTIGATION OF THE SOCIAL STUDIES IN THE SCHOOLS
A. C. KREY Chairman, Director of the Investigation
G. S. COUNTS Research Director
W. G. KIMMEL Executive Secretary
T. L. KFLLEY Psychologist, Advisor on Tests
COMMISSION ON DIRECTION Edit
FRANK W . BALLOU, Superintendent of Schools, Washington, D. C.
CHARLES A. BEARD, formerly Professor of Politics, Columbia Uni- versity; author of many books in the fields of history and politics.
ISAIAH BOWMAN, Director, American Geographical Society of New York; President of the International Geographical Union.
ADA COMSTOCK, President of Radcliffe College.
GEORGE S. COUNTS, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.
AVERY O . CRAVEN, Professor of History, University of Chicago.
EDMUND E. DAY, formerly Dean of School of Business Adminis- tration, University of Michigan ; now Director of Social Sci- ences, Rockefeller Foundation.
GUY STANTON FORD, Professor of History, Dean of the Graduate School, University of Minnesota
CARLTON J. H. HAYES, Professor of History, Columbia University.
ERNEST HORN, Professor of Education, University of Iowa.
HENRY JOHNSON, Professor of History, Teachers College, Columbia University.
A.C.KREY, Professor of History, University of Minnesota
LEON C. MARSHALL, Institute for the Study of Law, Johns Hopkins University.
CHARLES E MERRIAM, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago.
JESSE H NEWLON, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Director of Lincoln Experimental School.
JESSE F. STEINER, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMISSION Edit
COPYRIGHT, 1934, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS Printed in the United States of America
CONYERS READ, Executive Secretary American Historical Association.
THE OBLIGATIONS AND PROCEDURE OF THE COMMISSION
2. In view of this fact, the Commission could not limit itself to a survey of textbooks, curricula, methods of instruction, and schemes of examination, but was impelled to consider the condition and prospects of the American people as a part of Western civilization now merging into a world order.
3. The Commission was also driven to this broader conception of its task by the obvious fact that American civilization, in common with Western civilization, is passing through one of the great critical ages of history, is modifying its traditional faith in economic individualism, and is embarking upon vast experiments in social planning and control which call for large-scale co-operation on the part of the people It is like- wise obvious that in corresponding measure the responsibilities and opportunities of organized education, particularly in the social sciences, are being increased.
Moreover, the swift development of technology, industry, transportation, and communication in modern times is obviously merging Western civilization into a new world civilization and imposing on American citizens the obligation of knowing more, rather than less, of the complex social and economic relationships which bind them to the rest of mankind.
5. The most striking trend in American life today, and one which has become gradually more discernible over a fairly long period, is a twofold tendency toward the closer physical unification of the nation and the ever closer integration and interdependence of all branches of economy, social activity, and culture. Although this trend has not been uniform in the various branches or divisions of social life, it has effected a rather general dependence of the individual on corporate organization, machinery, and other capital for the right to labor and to share in the profits of production. Coming simultaneously with the ending of free lands and the passing of the more important natural resources into private hands, it has greatly reduced the opportunities for individual freedom and equality in the economic and social order and thereby created new problems in the preservation, development, and fulfillment of the ideals of American democracy.
8. Under the moulding influence of socialized processes of living, drives of technology and science, pressures of changing thought and policy, and disrupting impacts of economic disaster, there is a notable waning of the once widespread popular faith in economic individualism; and leaders in public affairs, supported by a growing mass of the population, are demanding the introduction into economy of ever wider measures of planning and control.
9. Cumulative evidence supports the conclusion that, in the United States as in other countries, the age of individualism and laissez faire in economy and government is closing and that a new age of collectivism is emerging.
10. As to the specific form which this "collectivism," this integration and interdependence, is taking and will take in the future, the evidence at hand is by no means clear or unequivocal. It may involve the limiting or supplanting of private property by public property or it may entail the preservation of private property, extended and distributed among the masses. Most likely, it will issue from a process of experimentation and will represent a composite of historic doctrines and social conceptions yet to appear. Almost certainly it will involve a larger measure of compulsory; as well as voluntary co-operation of citizens in the conduct of the complex national economy, a corresponding enlargement of the functions of government, and an increasing state intervention in fundamental branches of economy previously left to individual discretion and initiative a state intervention that in some instances may be direct and mandatory and in others indirect and facilitative. In any event the Commission is convinced by its interpretation of available empirical data that the actually integrating economy of the present day is the forerunner of a consciously integrated society, in which individual economic actions and individual property, rights will be altered and abridged.
11. The emerging age is particularly an age of transition. It is marked by numerous and severe tensions arising out of the conflict between the actual trend toward integrated economy and society, on the one side, and the traditional practices, dispositions, ideas, and institutional arrangements inherited from the passing age of individualism, on the other. In all the recommendations that follow the transitional character of the present epoch is recognized.
12. Underlying and illustrative of these tensions are privation in the midst of plenty, violations of fiduciary trust, gross inequalities in income and wealth, widespread racketeering and banditry, wasteful use of natural resources, unbalanced distribution and organization of labor and leisure, the harnessing of science to individualism in busi- ness enterprise, the artificiality of political boundaries and divisions, the subjection of public welfare to the egoism of private interests, the maladjustment of production and consumption, persistent tendencies toward economic instability, disproportionate growth of debt and property claims in relation to production, deliberate destruction of goods and withdrawal of efficiency from production, accelerating tempo of panics, crises, and depressions attended by ever wider destruction of capital and demoralization of labor, struggles among nations for markets and raw materials leading to international conflicts and wars.
13. If historical knowledge is any guide, these tensions, accompanied by oscillations in popular opinion, public policy, and the fortunes of the struggle for power, will continue until some approximate adjustment is made between social thought, social practice, and economic realities, or until society, exhausted by the conflict and at the end of its spiritual and inventive resources, sinks back into a more primitive order of economy and life. Such is the long run view of social development in general, and of American life in particular, which must form the background for any educational program designed to prepare either children or adults for their coming trials, opportunities, and responsibilities.
D. CHOICES DEEMED POSSIBLE AND DESIRABLE
9. The Commission deems desirable the reser- vation to the individual of the largest possible measure of freedom in the realms of personal and cultural growth, and the preservation and devel- opment of individuality in its non,-acquisitive ex- pressions as the finest flower of civilized society . It believes that the American people, as they fash- ion whatever institutions they will for the in- tegrated society of the future, should respect and safeguard the right of the individual to be free from excessive social pressures on his personal behavior, mode of living, cultural satisfactions and avocations, and religious, economic, and political beliefs.
12. The Commission deems possible and desir- able an enlightened attitude on the part of the masses of the American people toward inter- national relations, involving informed apprecia- tion of the cultural bonds long subsisting among the nations of Western civilization and now de- veloping rapidly among all the nations of the _world, and special knowledge of the increasing economic interdependence of politically separate areas and peoples, and of the emerging economic integration of the globe.
13. Being convinced from the study of history that national policies, arising from narrow in- tolerant nationalism and aggressive predatory im- perialism, were largely responsible for the World War, as well as for the intense rivalries among nations before 1914 and after 1918, and that the pursuit of such policies can only lead in the long run to national ruin, the Commission believes that-in keeping with the true interests of civilizaton in general and of American society in partic- ular-nationalism should be infused with enlight- enment, reason, and tolerance, and, by making the wisest and most effective use of domestic re- sources and by conceiving of foreign trade as the exchange of commodities of mutual benefit rather than as an expression of national power, economic imperialism should be checked.
PHILOSOPHY AND PURPOSE IN EDUCATION
Conceived in a large and clarified frame of reference, education is one of the highest forms of statesmanship : a positive and creative attack upon the problems generated by the movement of ideas and interests in society.
Such a study, as stated in the preceding chapter, shows that American society during the past hundred years has been moving from an individualistic and frontier economy to a collec- tive and social economy ; this trend has steadily gained in momentum, and is strikingly revealed in the contemporary decline of doctrines of laissez faire and in the launching of programs of plan- ning and control in local, state, and national economy.
In two respects education will be chal- lenged : (a) the emerging economy will involve the placing of restraints on individual enterprise, propensities, and acquisitive egoism in agricul- ture, industry, and labor and generally on the con- ception, ownership, management, and use of prop- erty, as the changing policies of governmental- ready indicate.
The implications for education are 'clear and imperative: (a) the efficient functioning of the emerging economy and the full utilization of its potentialities require profound changes in the at- titudes and outlook of the American people, especially the rising generation-a complete and frank recognition that the old order is passing, that the new order is emerging, and that knowledge of realities and capacity to co-operate are indis- pensable to the development and even the per- durance of American society ; and (b) the rational use of the new leisure requires a cultural equip- ment which will give strength and harmony to society instead of weakness and discord. Conversely, continued emphasis in education on the traditional ideas and values of economic individualism and acquisitiveness will intensify the conflicts, contradictions, maladjustments, and perils of the transition.
If education continues to emphasize the philosophy of individualism in economy, it will in- crease the accompanying social tensions. If it organizes a program in terms of a philosophy which harmonizes with the facts of a closely integrated society, it will ease the strains of the transition taking place in actuality . The making of choices cannot be evaded, for inaction in edu- cation is a form of action .
The road which the Commission has chosen and mapped in the preceding chapter is one which, it believes, will make possible the most complete realization, under the changed condi- tions of life, of the ideals of American democracy and cultural liberty : the recognition of the moral equality and dignity of all men; the abolition of class distinctions and special privileges;
Such an affirmation of human values in edu- cation, the Commission holds, is peculiarly im- perative in a society moving toward economic planning and control.
From this point of view, a supreme purpose of education in the United States, in addition to the development of rich and many-sided person- alities, is the preparation of the rising generation to enter the society now coming into being.