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An investigation of teachers' opinions concerning the Rugg textbooks in the social studies

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A Thesis
Presented to
the Faculty of the School of Education
The University of Southern California
In Partial Fultillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Science in Education
Frederick William Jeter
UMI Number: EP54233
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Dissertation FWWisMng
UMI EP54233
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T h is thesis, w r i t t e n u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f the
C h a ir m a n o f the c a n d id a te ’s G u id a n c e C o m m itte e
a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l m em bers o f the C o m m itte e j
has been p re se n te d to a n d a ccep ted by the F a c u lt y
o f the S c h o o l o f E d u c a t io n o f T h e U n iv e r s it y o f
S o u th e rn C a l i f o r n i a in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the
re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f M a s t e r o f Science
in E d u c a tio n .
D ate.. ^.anill_
Guidance Committee
F. J. Weersing
Irving B. Melbo
. . . ................
The p r o b l e m
Statement of the problem...................
Importance of the p r o b l e m .............
Danger to d e m o c r a c y ...................
Teachers are defenders of democracy
• * . .
Curriculum making is a responsibility of
the s c h o o l s ...........................
Teachers must c h o o s e ...................
Related investigations
Related literature
Value and relation to the p r o b l e m ............ 16
Scope of the investigation
Plan of action n e e d e d ........................ 18
Sources of data and method of procedure
Organization of the remainder of the thesis
. .
................... . . . . . . .
Textbook controversies since the World War . . .
S c i e n c e ..................................... 23
National, racial, and religious interests
. .
Social and economicproblems
Summary and c o n c l u s i o n s ........ . . . . . .
. . ....................
THE INVESTIGATION.......................
C o n c l u s i o n s .................................
Comparison of teachers* opinions with those of
frontier thinkers ineducation ...............
......................................... 109
Teachers* Answers to Interview Questions . . . .
Periods of stress in our American democracy have
always provided opportunities for reactionary groups to
force their opinions on the public schools in the guise of
Today, behind the shield of "defenders of
democracy," these groups are once again seeking to destroy
the progressive, realistic, intelligent approach of American
schools to the problems of American democracy.
The attack
on Professor Rugg’s long-accepted textbooks appears to be a
part of the program of these reactionary forces.
Few phases
of education are more worthy of the attention of educators
today than the attacks on the Rugg textbooks.
Statement of the problem. The purpose of this investi­
gation was to analyze critically the opinions of a representa­
tive group of San Diego County social studies teachers
concerning the Rugg series of textbooks in order to determine
whether they should defend the books against outside interests
or not, this point being illustrative of curriculum making
by teachers expert in the field against the opposition of
minority groups in the community.
In other words, the purpose of the investigation was
to ascertain the opinions of teachers on the following
Informational questions:
1. Do the Rugg texts engender attitudes and ideals
are contrary to those most generally accepted by
2. Do the Rugg texts contain subversive material?
3* Is there bias in Rugg*s treatment of controversial
4* Bo the Rugg texts anticipate a social order or
reflect the present one?
3* Do the Rugg books present material which is unsuit­
able to the students*
level of maturity?
6 . Is the vocabulary too difficult?
7 * Does Rugg neglect the teaching of patriotism?
8 . Does Rugg advocate changes which are contrary to
the economic and social order?
Svaluational and critical questions:
1. Do teachers follow their own social philosophy in
teaching Rugg*s texts, or do they follow Rugg*s philosophy?
2 .'How do teachers* opinions regarding the economic
and social order compare with those of frontier thinkers?
3* Should the social studies teachers attempt to lead
American toward a new social order?
U* Should teachers critically examine American society
5. Should teachers remain neutral on important contro­
versial issues?
6 . What type of social order do the social studies
teachers anticipate?
7 * To what extent do teachers’ opinions about the
social and economic order vary?
8 . What methods should be used by teachers to combat
groups which seek to dictate educational policies?
Importance of the problem. When a Rebel general in
the recent Spanish Civil War was asked how he planned to
take Madrid, he replied that he had four columns ready to
march into the city and a fifth column within the gates of
the city who would rise to aid them.
The fifth column as a
name for organized subversive elements was coined.
blame for the fall of Norway, Belgium, Holland, and Prance
was placed on the fifth columns in those countries.
in seeking to preserve its democracy from enemy nations has
started a huge armament program.
To make this plan of
protection complete, pseudopatriotic groups in America have
organized campaigns to protect America, from the enemies
within the country, the fifth column.
The search for sub­
versive elements quickly led to the public school systems.
Teachers were examined for their Americanism, but attention
was directed especially toward the materials being taught.
The Rugg series of social science textbooks were examined
and found to include much material which was called subversive
to American ideals according to their standards.
As a result
of these findings and criticisms, many school systems banned
the use of the Rugg books in their schools.
Many went so
far as to order such so-called subversive material burned.
The attack on the Rugg books has only begun.
The Rugg series of textbooks have been adopted for the
intermediate grades in more than four thousand^ public school
systems throughout America.
They have been in use in most of
these systems for several years without any question of their
Americanism being raised.
The banning of these books after long and widespread
use as a result of the criticisms of noneducative groups,
holds many implications for educators.
-*-• R&flger to democracy. American democracy may be
destroyed by those groups who are ostensibly seeking to
preserve it.
The Bill of Rights which legalizes the rights
of speech, press, and assembly is more than a mere list of
personal liberties.
It is a part of the social machinery
required for the successful functioning of democracy.
so-called patriotic groups and vested interest groups who
demand blind obedience on the part of educators rather than
1 "Publishers Protest Removal of Rugg Textbooks,"
Publishers* Weekly, 137:2345, June 22, 1940.
intelligent action constitute a real threat to democracy.
Any movement which defines "Americanism" as the suppression
of our historic and essential freedoms may constitute a
threat against the democratic way of life which the schools
are seeking to achieve.
2* Teachers are defenders of democracy. The idea that
the American democratic system of government rests on the
American educational system has so long been held that it
is an accepted part of the philosophy of all Americans.
American people have donated a sizeable portion of their
income to education believing that this institution insured
the maintenance of democratic society and its continued
The responsibility for maintaining and defending
democracy has been placed on the schools.
The meanings,
faiths, attitudes, and habits inherent in the democratic way
of life are not given at birth.
The young acquire them only
as they learn them through a process of participation and
deliberate education.
Democracy is not self-perpetuating.
It survives only as long as it is believed and practiced.
Since educators are responsible for maintaining democ­
racy in America they must have a vital part in defending
democracy from those seeking to undermine it.
3- Curriculum making is a responsibility of the schools.
Although the American public school rests upon the consensus
of public opinion, this fact does not preclude the use of
experts in making its curriculum.Curriculum making
responsibility of teachers expert
in the field.
of noneducational groups to make and
of the schools is a vital concern
Teachers must choose.
is a
The attempt
revise thecurricula
to educators.In the report of Commission
of the Social Studies the need for interestedness rather than
disinterestedness on the part of the teachers was stressed.
In the sphere of moral decision and choice the very
refusal to choose, since refusal has specific conse­
quences, is itself a moral act. The fact is now generally
realized that a declaration to do nothing is itself a
statement of policy. In so far as the commitments of
educators, scholars, and citizens have consequences for
the determination of social issues, moral responsibility
for things left undone, as well as for things done,
cannot be escaped.2
Education is a form of action on the part of some
particular social group; it is not a species of con­
templation removed from social life and r e l a t i o n s h i p s . 3
To the author*s knowledge no investigations had been
made which were relevant to the present study.
Perhaps this
fact was due to the recency of the controversy over the
American Historical Association, "Report of the
Commission on the Social Studies," Conclusions and Recommenda­
tions (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934), p* 2$.
3 Ibid.. p. 30.
Kugg textbooks.
Many studies of textbooks have been made.
Use, vocabu­
lary, methods of selection, material covered, number of
pictures, pages devoted to war, space given to civics, and
many others have been the subjects of these studies.
these investigations were concerned with the textbooks, they
have little or no bearing on the present investigation.
There were some investigations made in Boston, Chicago,
and New York of the pro-British influence in the history
textbooks used in their schools right after the World War.
The criticisms of these books were the results of the
isolationist swing in public opinion brought about by World
War disillusionment and the Irish Rebellion.
It is note­
worthy, too, that these investigations were made in cities
where the Irish are strong in politics.
The investigation
made in New York in 1 9 2 3 at the behest of Mayor lohn Hylan
and numerous patriotic bodies, was published.
The textbooks
of David S. Muzzey, Willis M. West, Albert B. Hart, Andrew
C. McLaughlin, William B. Guitteau, and Everett Barnes were
In this investigation, criticism was chiefly
leveled at the authors* treatments of the Revolution.
omission of many lesser Revolutionary patriots was pointed'
^ David Hirshfield, Report on Investigation of ProBritish History Text-Books in Use in the Public Schools of the
City of New York 71923) .
The authors* treatment of the causes of the Revolution
was called un-American, especially the idea that the Revolu­
tion was the result of separation, environment and conflicting
ideologies, and not a conflict between American righteousness
and British evil.
David Hirshfield, investigator, recommended
that the textbooks of the authors investigated be banned in
favor of textbooks which treated American history in a more
patriotically acceptable light*
Although there appeared to be a similarity between the
present study and the investigation of David Hirshfield, the
unscientific methods the latter employed destroyed most of
its value.
The recency of the Rugg schoolbook controversy, and
the type of the controversy made a review of the literature
quite relevant to the present study.
For the past two years, Harold Rugg’s social science
textbooks have been the center of controversy.
The question
of the books’ Americanism has generated many heated debates
and produced a huge amount of literature.
literature has been on the attacking side.
widespread circulation were employed.
Most of this
Periodicals of
Only recently has
there come a semblance of defense for the Rugg books.
professors and a few school superintendents have written
articles in defense of the books*
These articles have
appeared in periodicals with small circulation*
Many of the articles attacking the Rugg textbooks
purport to be scientific investigations^ however the propaganda
contained in them is so thinly disguised by a scientific
veneer that they must be classed as literature and not in­
Since the Rugg textbooks are such a controversial
topic, a few of the more important articles on both sides
will be reviewed.
In an article called "Treason in the Textbooks," the
September, 1940, issue of the American Legion magazine, 0. K*
Armstrong viciously attacked many of the textbooks used in
the schools.
The Rugg textbooks were singled out in particular*
The article went on to state that Professor Rugg was by far
the most prolific of writers of textbooks under scrutiny by
the Legion’s Americanism Commission*
The works of Professor
Rugg, and some dozen similar writers together, it said, form
a complete pattern of propaganda for a change in our political,
economic, and social order.
0* K. Armstrong recommended the banning of the Rugg
textbooks which were "poisoning the minds of the American
He also urged an awakening of the public to the
dangers of the American way of life from un-American social
science textbooks and teachers who, instead of inculcating
the American way of life, were seeking to undermine it.
Tiie accuracy of Armstrong’s investigation can best be
realized by an excerpt from an editorial in the Frontiers of
In the American Legion Magazine*s nationally famous
article "Treason in the Textbooks" it recommended for
banning in schools a series of publications which it had
not read or examined. Shortly after the article appeared
it wrote letters of apology to both the Scholastic Magazine
and the Oivio Education Service for including their publi­
cations in the list. It confessed that no adequate
research was made in making up the list— in fact the list
was found in the files and published as found. Surely
the article should not have been named "Treason in the
Textbooks" but rather, "We Haven’t Read the Books But."5
B. C • Forbes’ attacks have appeared in his financial
column, printed regularly in many newspapers of the HearstKing Syndicate.
Articles and editorials have appeared in
his business magazine, Forbes, as well as in the local news­
paper in Englewood, Hew Jersey, where he was elected in 1939
to membership on the Board of Education.
Forbes pointed out
no particular parts of the Rugg textbooks in his criticism,
but merely generalized about their socialistic tone.
I have been delving into textbooks and other books
furnished school pupils. Rather shocking discoveries
already have been made. I find, for example, that one
textbook (reputedly used in over 4,000 schools) is
viciously un-American, that its author is in love with
the way things are done in Russia, that he distorts
facts to convince the oncoming generation that America’s
private enterprise system is wholly inferior and
"But . .
Frontiers of Democracy, 7:15. October 15,
nefarious. This author, moreover, is a professor in a
college devoted to turning out school teachers.°
He again attached the Soviet label to Professor Rugg
in a later article in Forbes magazine.
Many communications have been received since this .
writer began to dig into the philosophy--the propaganda—
propounded by Professor Harold Rugg, of Teachers College,
Columbia University, in his widely-used school textbooks.
The impression I and many others have gathered from care­
fully analyzing them is that he has far more admiration
for Sovietism than Americanism, that he would feel far
more at home working and writing under the iron heel of
Stalin than working and writing in this, to him, punk
nation. However, if he lived in Russia and ventured to
find as much fault with conditions there as he finds with
conditions here, he would find himself either in prison
or in front of a firing squad.7
Forbes* many articles presented no facts for his
He merely resorted to innuendo and name-calling.
His articles seem to represent the typical methods employed
by reactionary vested interests against liberalism.
George Sokolsky, writer connected with the National
Association of Manufacturers, published articles in Liberty
magazine, March 16, April 6 , and May 4, 1940.
singled out in particular Rugg*s book, Introduction to
Problems of American Culture, for his attack.
He warned that
the chapter on advertising broke down the students* faith in
^ B. C. Forbes, "Editorial,** Forbes Magazine, August 15, 1939^ B. C. Forbes, "Does This Smell of Sovietism,"
Forbes Magazine, February 1, 1940.
the present economic system, by stating that the cost of
advertising was exhorbitant.
Sokolsky* s record as a paid propagandist is so well
known that any criticism of the unscientific attitude dis­
played in his writings is scarcely necessary.
His writings
represent the attitude of those who pay him.
Norman S. Rose, President of The Advertising Federation
of America, attacked the Rugg textbooks through circulars and
pamphlets sent to newspaper editors throughout the country.
The chapter on advertising in An Introduction to Problems of
American Culture was the center of his attention.
was presented as an evil instead of a good by Rugg according
to Rose.
Advertising is presented in this textbook as an
instrument of exploitation by unscrupulous business
interests. Citing fantastic examples and displaying a
distressing ignorance of economic facts, Professor Rugg
drives home with emphatic repetition his opinion that
advertising is an economic waste, is mostly dishonest,
and raises prices continually higher and higher.&
Rose made his attack on the Rugg books stronger by
implying that the whole structure of the American system of
government and private enterprise was being undermined.
Attacking business from every angle, Rugg sneers *'
at the ideals and traditions of. American democracy,
making a subtle plea for abolition of our free enterprise
system and the introduction of a new social order based
^ A. P. Myers, "The Attacks on the Rugg Books,"
Frontiers of Democracy, 7:19, October 15, 1940.
on the principles of collectivism. This theme pervades
all six volumes .of the Rugg social science series written
for children in the 7th, 8th and 9th grades.9
Rose pointed out that since the Rugg books are a menace
to advertising and the whole scheme of American business, The
Advertising Federation of American was fighting them whole­
heartedly, nationally and in particular communities.
The A.dvertising Federation of America has made this
its Number One Problem. In all its 36 years of service
to advertising, the Federation has never faced a more
important task. The A.F.A. has already made progress
in a nation-wide campaign for the elimination of text­
books like the Rugg series, and is expanding its
campaign for a constructive understanding of the value
of advertising and its service to consumers.10
There have been many other articles in newspapers and
Merwin K. Hart, Alfred T. Falk, Major A. G.
Rudd, and S. H. West were the most prominent attackers of the
Rugg books in addition to the ones previously mentioned.
Their attacks all followed the theme of the articles previously
Many educators have started a counterattack to the
attack waged against the Rugg books, but thus far have shown
neither the organization nor aggressiveness of the attacking
Literature contributed by the defense has been
meager, timid, and misdirected.
9 Ibid., p. 20.
10 Ibid.. p. 21.
The attacking forces have
been working for over two years and still there is no organized
or well-publicised defense.
Alonzo IF. Myers at the request of the editors of
Frontiers of Democracy magazine made a study during the summer
of 1940 of the attacks on the Rugg books.
As a result of his
findings he classified the attacks into two categories: those
who disagree frankly with what Professor Rugg is trying to
accomplish and who state forthrightly their opposition to
the books; in the second category are the organized attacks
coming from sources utilizing the familiar tricks of propa­
ganda in an effort to discredit the books and to arouse
public opinion against them.
His article,
written as a
result of these, devoted most space to the latter group.
According to his article the attacks have been manufactured
by six persons: Merwin K. Hart, leader of antieducation forces
in Hew York; B. G. Forbes, newspaper columnist for the Hearst
papers and owner of the business magazine Forbes; Major A. G.
Rudd, retired army officer; B. H. West, a business executive;
Alfred T. Falk, director of the Bureau of Research and Educa­
tion of the Advertising Federation of America; George Sokolsky,
publicist for National Association of Manufacturers.
who have sponsored the attacks included the National Associa­
tion of Manufacturers, American Legion and Auxiliary,
Ibid., pp. 17-22.
Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of Colonial
Wars, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Myers’ article quoted
some of the attacks to show the type of propaganda employed.
Alonzo F. Meyers let the type of the attacks and the
groups sponsoring them speak for themselves.
He concluded
with this statement.
I do not believe it is necessary for this presentation
to be accompanied by extensive conclusions and interpreta­
tions. The record speaks for itself. The Rugg books have
been attacked by experts. They have withstood the attack
remarkably successfully, thanks largely to the good sense
of the American people and to the gumption of such educa­
tors as Superintendent Kelly of Binghamton and others.
The Rugg books do not represent all that is being and
will be attacked in public education.12
Another defense of the Rugg books came from a liberal
business magazine, The American Business Survey.
In an
editorial in the January, 1940, issue the attackers of the
Rugg books are brought to task for denouncing books which
teach the children to face realities*
It is a strange spectacle when the physician is
denounced for diagnosing the disease, when it is seriously
argued that ignorance is bliss and that the proper solu­
tion of our national problems is to ignore them.
For as
Dr. Rugg maintained, and as he showed despite efforts of
the "prosecutors" to distort quotations from them, his
books are designed with the single aim of bringing
realities into the classroom and not keeping them out.
as* educators of the McGuffey reader period had to do.i3
12 Ibid., p. 22.
^ "Let Us Face Realities," American Business Survey,
January, 1940, p. 3.
The article concluded with, a plea for tolerance and
Anyone has a right to disagree with Dr. Rugg, "but
surely not to attempt to silence him. And whether we
agree or disagree on specific points, no intelligent
persons can deny the realities of poverty, unemployment,
the sociological problems of our agricultural and
industrial society— the real and underlying menaces to
our American democracy. Communism, Nazism, Fascism, and
VHam-and-Sgg-ism" are results, not causes. An empty
stomach has no conscience and it cannot be fed on
patriotic slogans. True Americanism means the courage
to face realities, not the criminal negligence of
ignoring them. 1-4
The American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual
Freedom, a national organization of college professors, has
named a special group to defend the books, but thus far
nothing material has come from this group.
There have been
other articles by liberal educators all appealing to the
intelligence and tolerance of the American public.
Value and relation to the problem. The literature
written by the attacking forces has appealed to the prejudices
of the public. War intolerance was utilized by the attacking
forces to further their campaign.
The defense of the Rugg
books has come mainly from educators through education
Their defense has not reached the public and, in
fact, seemed to be meant only for educators.
was to intelligence and tolerance.
Ibid.. p. 3 .
Their appeal
This literature is all
valuable to this study regardless of the quality of it.
has shown the present state of the problem.
Thus far no investigation has been made to determine
what the social science teachers themselves think of the
books or whether they feel that the books are defensible.
Ho attempt has been made to determine whether any group of
teachers wishes to defend them.
This study will attempt to
partly satisfy this need.
This study is limited to an inventory of the opinions
of a group of San Diego County junior high school teachers
concerning the Rugg textbooks.
These opinions will be
critically evaluated to determine whether the books should
be defended or not.
No attempt will be made to ascertain the opinions of a
state-wide group of teachers.
huge for this investigation.
This task would have been too
Only teachers who have had
direct teaching experience with the Rugg series of textbooks
are included.
Hearsay opinions are of little value to this
This study will be limited to the Rugg series of text­
Although many other social science books are in use
and have received criticism, they have not been the subject
of such nation-wide controversy.
This investigation will not attempt to determine the
accuracy of the teachers* opinions.
The background of the
teachers is important, but will not be included in this
The majority of opinions concerning the Rugg books
thus far have been in regard to the political and economic
viewpoints contained in them.
However, these sources will
not be the only ones for judgment in this study.
The books
will be considered from an educational standpoint as well.
Plan of action needed. Teachers so far have done
little about the banning of the Rugg textbooks.
has not heard from educators.
books have not been voiced.
their banning has been made.
The public
Their opinions of the text­
No organized protest against
The attitude has been taken by
many school administrators that any criticism of a book
ruined its effectiveness and consequently should be banned.
But if the teachers of social studies are to protect them­
selves from the attempts of noneducational minority groups,
some plan of action must be formulated.
Teachers* opinions about the Rugg books thus far have
not-been asked for nor have they been voiced.
It is quite
necessary to determine what teachers* opinions of the Rugg
textbooks are; whether they are worth defending, and if they
are, how to defend them.
One of the most important tasks of this study was to
discover how teachers felt about the many accusations leveled
at the Rugg textbooks and the statements made in defense of
Many people had already expressed their opinion of the
books, but no group of teachers* opinions had been obtained.
The nature of the problem necessitated the using of the
interview method for obtaining the opinions of teachers in
this study.
Interviews were held with fifty teachers of
social studies in San Diego County junior high schools.
The questionnaires used in the interviews were based
upon the literature which had been written on the subject of
the Rugg textbooks.
Those parts of’the Rugg textbooks which
had not been the subject of controversy were not included.
The results of the questionnaire were compared with
the opinions of frontier thinkers in education for the purpose
of evaluatipn.
A library technique was used in obtaining
these opinions of frontier thinkers in education.
following sources were used:
1. Authentic books on the teaching of the social
studies in junior high school.
2. Publications by associations, (National Education
Association, Progressive Education Association, American
Historical Association, and others), by societies, such as
the National Society for the Study of Education, by citizens*
organizations, and by government*
3. Reputable books on secondary education.
4* Periodicals containing articles relating to the
problem and presenting various viewpoints.
Most of these
materials are available at the Doheny Library, The University
of Southern California, or at the Los Angeles City Library.
Some references were obtained from individuals.
Reliable and varied sources were scrutinized in an
attempt to arrive at an impartial and reasonable solution
to this problem.
The study of this problem is divided into six chapters.
Chapter I states the problem, its purpose and importance,
related investigations and literature, procedure and sources
of data, and scope of the investigation.
Chapter II traces the controversy concerning freedom
in education from the World War to the present.
Chapter III
lists the results of the interviews with social studies
teachers concerning the Rugg series of textbooks.
Chapter IV
offers the conclusions and generalizations emerging from the •
investigation.. A section of this chapter is devoted to
definitions as expressed in the social philosophies of fron­
tier thinkers.
These definitions are used as criteria for
the teachers1 opinions derived from the investigation.
Chapter V gives the summary of findings and general conclu­
sions drawn from the investigation.
It also includes recom­
mendations and suggestions for the solution of the problem
of curriculum making by noneducational groups.
The schools have been employed in the name of patriot­
ism by many nations to develop a pride in national and racial
attributes and achievements.
The school, however, is not
merely an instrument of nationalistic groups.
It may be
employed to show the horrors of war by the pacifist; by it
the militarists may demonstrate the advantages of prepared­
ness; the racially conscious may tell, through the textbooks,
achievements of their heroes to the exclusion of those of
other groups; religious groups may commend the contributions
of their sect to the neglect of others; and economic and
social organizations may seek to serve their particular pur­
Demands for revised textbooks, such as have emanated
since the World War, to teach the point of view then current,
are but a recent instance of a practice as old as teaching
All these influences have been brought to bear on in­
struction in American schools.
The social studies have been
the center of these influences.
This section will consider
briefly the policies and activities of organizations in
influencing textbooks under the following heads: science;
patriotism; national, racial, and religious interests; and
social and economic problems.
Science, For centuries science has been a trouble
maker in the ever present conflict between education and
public opinion.
Human beings resent being told that long
established ideas are wrong.
Men who proved that the earth
was not flat were denounced as destroyers of religion because
the Bible did not tell about such a world.
was fought as dangerous to society.
The law of gravity
Discoveries of germs and
other causes of disease did not fit with the ideas of super­
natural causes of disease.
Many ideas now generally accepted
were bitterly opposed when they were first introduced.
The most recent subject of controversy was evolution#
Darwin’s Origin of Species, although appearing first in 1859
did not seep down through to the school teachers and the
masses until shortly after the ’
World War.
When it was intro­
duced through science textbooks, an outraged section of the
people arose to combat this ’’atheistic doctrine.”
Several states took official action to ban or dis­
courage the teaching of evolution.
Between 1921 and 1929,
thirty-seven antievolution bills were introduced into twenty
state legislatures.
In Florida in 1923, the Legislature
passed a resolution declaring:
That it is the sense of the Legislature of the State
of Florida that it is improper and subversive to the best
interest of the people of this State for any professor,
teacher or instructor in the public schools and colleges
of this State, supported in whole or in part by public
taxation, to teach or permit to be taught atheism, or
agnosticism, or to teach as true Darwinism, or any other
hypothesis that links man in blood relationship to any
other form of life.l
In its law of 1923 providing free textbooks for the
schools, Oklahoma barred all texts which teach "the ’Material­
istic Conception of History’ (i.e.) the Darwin Theory of
Creation vs. the Bible Account of Creation."*'
law of 1925 was, however, the first general and explicit
prohibition against the teaching of evolution.
This act
that it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the
Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the
State which are supported in whole or in part by the
public school funds of the State, to teach any theory
that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as
taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has
descended from a lower order of animals.3
In Texas in 1925-1926, the Textbook Commission ordered
all passages on evolution deleted.
"I’m a Christian mother
who believes Jesus Christ died to save humanity," declared
Governor Miriam Ferguson, "and I am not going to let that
"Florida Session Laws," 1923, 506-507. Quoted by
Howard K. Beale, Are American Teachers Free? (Report of the
Commission on the Social Studies of the American Historical
Association, Part 12. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,
1936), p. 227.
"Oklahoma Session Laws," 1923, 296.
Beale, loc. cit.
Quoted by
"Tennessee Session Laws," 1925, 50-51*
Beale, loc. cit.
Quoted by
kind of rot go into Texas t e x t b o o k s . I n 1926, Superin­
tendent Jones of Cleveland excluded all evolution texts from
the schools of that city.
”No ’teen age pupils,” he declared,
"will be taught that they originated from monkeys while I am
in charge.
In 1928, Arkansas enacted by popular referendum a law
almost identical to that of Tennessee.
In North Carolina in
1924, Governor Morrison persuaded the State Board of Education
to drop two excellent texts from the approved list.
I simply stated to the newspapers [he wrote Bryan]
that I did not think the schools of our State ought to
teach that men were descended from monkeys or any other
animal, and that I would not submit to its being done,
if I could prevent it, while I was Governor.^
In California, the State Board of Education ruled that evolu­
tion could be taught "only as a theory.”
Restrictions by local regulation was more commonly used
than state law.
In 1925, the Ministerial Association of
Charlotte, North Carolina, passed resolutions urging "a more
rigid censorship . . .
in the selection of textbooks to be
used in our state-owned s c h o o l s . T h e Mecklenburg County
^ H. Allen, "The Anti-Evolution Campaign in America,”
Current History, 24:894, September, 1926.
^ W* C. Ruediger, "Evolution?” School and Society,
May 8 , 1926, p. 592.
Maynard Shipley, ”The Forward March of the AntiEvolutionists,” Current History, January, 1929, p. 579*
John H* Mecklin, The Survival Value of Christianity
(New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1926), p. 14*
Board of Education opposed "books on evolution" and "books
that question the truths of the Bible” and empowered the
Superintendent to censor school libraries.
In a school
district in Jewell County, Kansas, fundamentalist parents
organized and Voted to burn the "Book of Knowledge," which
the Board of Education had bought for classroom use.
private religious schools in the South, evolution has been
even more effectively banned than in the public schools.
Evolution has been the major subject of controversy in
the science textbooks.
In recent years, some criticism has
been leveled at science and social science textbooks which
contain chapters on the advertising claims of patent medicines.
Their debunking of advertising claims was criticized by
businessmen affected.
Demands for revision were made in some
Patriotism. Following the entrance of the United
States into the World War, fear of disunited public opinion
led to many restrictions on textbooks.
books bore the brunt of the attack.
European history text­
Charges were made that
pro-G-erman forces were seeking to control the textbooks.
California, a committee of historians passed upon the official
® Edgar W. Knight, "Monkey or Mud in North Carolina?”
Independent, May 14, 1927, p. 516.
9 Allen, o£. cit., p. 896.
list of high school textbooks at the behest of the State
Board of Education and recommended certain omissions.
insistence that histories in the schools should not be lauda­
tory of the enemy countries or unfavorable to our Allies led
to the revision of many textbooks after our entrance into
the World War.
Robinson and Beard’s history was banned from
the Seattle schools in 1918 as tfpro-G-erman •
For the same
reason Robinson’s Medieval and M o d e m Times was excluded
from the Des Moines schools in 1918.11
Immediately after the World War, the enthusiasm for our
Allies was replaced among many groups and individuals by
nationalism which sought to repress textbooks which might
undermine love of country.
The bases for attacks were two:
that American histories neglected heroic exploits in American
history, especially in the Revolutionary War, and that they
were distorted by a pro-British bias.
The charge of "Anglici-
zation” arose partly from the trend of historical scholarship
since 1900.
To suspicious onlookers the efforts of historians
to present impartial accounts of American relations with
Great Britain took on the appearance of deliberate propaganda
favorable to Britain.
T. E. Harre, ’’Shadow Huns and Others,” National
Civic Federation Review, February 15, 1919, pp. 15-16.
B. L. Pierce, Public Opinion and the Teaching of
History in the United States'(New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1926),p* 246•
In 1921, the Hearst newspapers .began the publication of
a series of articles by Charles Grant Miller designed to
arouse American parents to a realization that "the school
histories now being taught to their children have been revised
and in some instances wholly rewritten in a new and propi­
tiatory spirit toward E n g l a n d . M i l l e r * s criticisms related
mostly to statements regarding the Revolutionary War.
omission of famous slogans was deplored.
The historians
under fire included such men as Everett Barnes, Albert
Bushnell Hart, Andrew C. McLaughlin, C. H. Van Tyne, William .
B. Guitteau, John P. O ’Hara, David S. Muzzey, and Willis
Mason West.
Some were attacked because they included in
their history textbooks statements designed to show that
American constitutional practices had their source in English
Hayes and Moon’s Modern History was banned as "American
history" from the Chicago schools.
It was accused of being
pro-British because it gave credit to Locke for American
Revolutionary theories.^3
West’s history was taken out of
the schools of Boise, I d a h o I n
1922, it was excluded
Ibid., p. 209, quoting the Chicago Herald and
Examiner, July 3, 1921.
13 Beale, op. cit., p# 305v quoting Hew York Times,
August 25, 1928.
Pierce, 0£. cit., p. 266.
from New York City as "belligerently pro-British.1^
For "un-
Americanism" it was banned from Alta, Iowa, and Jackson,
Hart’s text was excluded from Chicago under
Mayor Thompson.1?
His Epochs of American History, his
Formation of the Union, his National Ideals Historically
Traced, and Van Tyne’s American Revolution were removed from
the Library of San Jose, California, as "un-American and
unfit for reading, especially by school children."1^
McLaughlin and Van Tyne’s book was excluded from the schools
of Battle Creek, Michigan, Dubuque, Iowa, Chicago, and New
Besides these local attempts at regulation there were
many attempts to control the content of textbooks through
state legislation.
A 1923 bill in the New York Legislature
No text-book shall be used or designated for use in
the schools • • . which (a) ignores, omits, discounts or
in any manner belittles, ridicules, falsifies, distorts,
questions, doubts or denies the events leading up to the
declaration of American independence or connected with
the American revolution, or the spirit and determination
with which the United States of America has established,
15 Ibid., P*
16 Ibid.,
17 Ibid.,
IB Ibid.,
19 Ibid., P-
defended and maintained its rights as a free nation
against foreign interference, encroachment and aggression,
or (b) ignores, omits, discounts or in any manner be­
littles, ridicules, falsifies, distorts, questions,
doubts or denies the deeds and accomplishments of the
noted American patriots, or questions the worthiness
of their motives, or casts aspersions on their lives.
In 1923, Governor Pinchot signed a. resolution of the
Pennsylvania Legislature ordering an investigation of all
history textbooks in use in his state.
"Any book found to
ignore, belittle or falsify events leading up to the signing
of the Declaration of Independence or connected with the
American Revolution" was to be d r o p p e d . 21
passed a law of a like nature.
In 1923, Wisconsin
It prescribed:
No history or other book shall be adopted for use or
be used in any district school, city school, vocational
school or high school, which falsifies the facts regard­
ing the war of independence, or the war of 1812, or
which defames our nation’s founders, or misrepresents
the ideals and causes for which they struggled and
sacrificed, or which contains propaganda favorable to
any foreign government.22
Oregon adopted in 1923 a similar law which charges
those responsible for the selection of textbooks:
to select and install textbooks on American history and
civil government which adequately stress the services
20 "The New York Bill on History Text-Books," School
and Society, March 31, 1923, p- 349*
21 New York Times, duly 3, 1923, as quoted by Beale,
op. cit., p. 271.
22 "Laws of Wisconsin Relating to Public Education,"
Madison, 1938, 541, as quoted in Control of Social Studies
Textbooks (National Council for the Social Studies.
Washington, D.C.: National Council for the Social Studies,
May, 1941), p. 10.
rendered by the men who achieved our national independence,
who established oar form of constitutional government, and
who preserved our federal union* No textbook shall be
used in our schools which speaks slightingly of the
founders of the republic, or of the men who preserved
the union, or which belittles or undervalues their
Many other states enacted laws similar to these be­
tween 1921 and 1927*
The attacks on social science textbooks which resulted
in their banning or revision, were led in the main by
patriotic organizations such as American Legion, Veterans of
Foreign Wars, Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of
the American Revolution, and United Daughters of the
Where they took no direct part, the action
taken against the textbooks was usually a result of their
In recent years, they have turned their atten­
tion more to insuring patriotism in the schools by demanding
flag observance rules and teacher oaths of allegiance.
National, racial, and religious interests. Textbook
writers have been so cognizant of the various national,
racial, and religious groups in American that they have seldom
offended any of these groups.
Only in rare instances where
"white, Protestant, Americans," are not in their usual over­
whelming majority has there been trouble.
School Laws, 1937, Salem, Oregon, p. Ill, as quoted
ln S M * > P* H •
The Steuben Society and Ancient Order of Hibernians
supported the attacks on "pro-British" textbooks in New York
and Chicago*
Largely the efforts of racial societies has
been to demand a more favorable treatment of the part their
nationals played in American history.
agitation has been most effective.
In large cities their
The only outstanding
state legislation in regard to treatment of races in text­
books was a California law of 1921 which banned texts which
"contain matter reflecting upon citizens of the United States
because of their race or color.
Protestantism versus Catholicism has not entered into
textbook controversies to any great extent.
Catholic parochial
schools select texts satisfactory from a religious standpoint
to them.
Anti-Catholic feeling among Protestant groups in
regard to textbooks has only cropped up in one or two important
cases recently.
City in 1930.
The most important case occurred in New York
Dr. Harghwout, an Episcopal clergyman, attacked
Hayes and Moon*s kodern History because it deliberately de­
fended Catholicism" and "criticized the Church of England.
As a result of this charge and others, it was banned in New
York City for a year.
The booki was also attacked by other
24 "Supplemental Acts, 1929,11 School Code of the State
of California, 1929, 331, as quoted by Beale, op. cit.,
p. 264*
Beale, op. pit., p* 305*
religious groups for its treatment of Luther and Calvin-
book was revised in the light of these criticisms and once
more put on the shelves.
Pressure has been exerted in many
sections against Hayes and Moon’s
M o d e m Europe because the
authors are Catholics.^
National, racial, and religious interests have exerted
pressure mainly on teachers and school boards.
More success
has been secured in local situations than through influencing
textbooks with a nation-wide circulation.
Social and economic problems. Social studies text­
books which lend support to present day "radicalism” through
their treatment of American history or present day problems
have been under strenuous attack during the last decade by
powerful economic and patriotic groups• As early as 1921
Ottumwa, Iowa, threw out Robinson and Beard’s text.
is a more or less radical professor," it was explained, "and
Beard had been the subject of considerable adverse comment
during the war."
The school board took the position that
"regardless of its text, a book by those men was not a fit
volume to have in the hands of boys and g i r l s . A s
result of this campaign a joint committee on Americanism
26 Beale, loc. cit.
27 Ibid.. p. 304-
asked Governor Kendall:
* « * to- appoint a commission *to investigate antiAmerican and radical teaching in state owned institution©
and the public schools* # * * {because} trthere were good
reasons to believe that some of %he textbooks4■on
American history used in our schools were wanning in
national and patriotic spirit and sentiment; that they
.failed to instil devotion to American ideals, and
pass (ed) over lightly events in "American history which
should *■ * ..«■ stimulate pride •of country* patriotism
and devotion to our institutions**^
Massey*s history was attacked in Oregon for his
adverse treatment of business' leaders*
that Massey praised la follette*
It was also claimed
He was charged with treat­
ing the various steps in the country*© history from the
standpoint of the socialist instead of the unbiased his­
It was frequently charged against history textbook
writers that they made the American Revolution appear to be
an uprising of radicals*
Sections of textbooks which tended
to disparage the role played by ^captains of industry* .in
building up America also were heartily criticized*
With the depression of 1929, in response to the demand
by many of the public that schools .give the students a more
realistic view of present day America, textbook writers
began to include studies' of present .day problems in their
Beale, loo* oit«
29 Ibid** p. 271.
Entrenched capitalistic groups such as the
American Association of Manufacturers, United States Chamber
of Commerce, and the Advertizing Federation of American
immediately began an attack on such social studied textbooks.
They charged the textbook writers with seeking to break down
the "American way of life.”
Such charges of un-Americanism
could not long go unnoticed by the patriotic groups such as
the American Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution, and
the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
One of the earliest victims of these textbook attacks
was Nearing and Field* s Community Civics. After Scott
Nearing*s dismissal from the University of Pennsylvania, his
books were dropped from so many schools that sales almost
in three large cities and in many smaller towns,
where teachers recommended Our Economic Society by Howard C .
Hill and Rexford G-. Tugwell, it was ultimately rejected be­
cause Tugwell’s New Deal views were too "radical.”
In Los
Angeles, the Superintendent of Schools rejected its formal
adoption, but allowed it to be used as a supplementary
The public utilities associations carried on extensive
propaganda against social science textbooks.
30 Ibid., P* 30931 Ibid.. p. 310.
A pamphlet
issued by the national Electric Light Association, warned that
. . . practically all important authoritative books
upon the operation of the capitalistic system have been
written, not by the impartially minded, or by advocates
of capitalism, but by Socialists, or the Socialistically
minded. Hot one authoritative book upon the capitalist
system has been written by an advocate of that system.
The capitalist system is in sore need of literature, of
textbooks of its own. 32
Successful efforts were made to have such textbooks removed
and also to have books written which would deal adequately
with public utilities.
The Hational Association of Manufacturers in December,
1940, employed Balph Robey, assistant professor of banking
at Columbia University to abstract the social science text­
books in use in the schools.
Although the Association issued
no conclusions and recommendations based on the results of
this study, Ralph Robey was quoted in many newspapers and
periodicals as believing that "the social science textbooks
were full of inaccuracies and showed a decided bias against
the capitalistic system."3-3
The Advertising Federation of America charged that
advertising was being treated as an economic waste in most
National Electric Light Association, Pamphlet
{Hew. York: Edison Electric Institute)’.
"School Textbooks and the NAM," Frontiers of
Democracy, 7 :101, January 15, 1941-
of tlie social science textbooks.^4
An organization was established in May, 1940, by a
group of citizens and parents who were "alarmed by propaganda
in schoolbooks designed to undermine patriotism and faith in
American institutions and bring about radical changes in
our form of society" and who incorporated themselves under
the name Guardians of American Education.
This group has
issued a pamphlet, Undermining Our Bepublic, which purports
to present facts about anti-American schoolbooks and the
nation-wide scheme of radical educators.35
The social science textbooks have been criticized for
their emphasis on social and economic change by conservative
business groups.
Free enterprise was being neglected in the
textbooks in favor of a planned economy.
The textbooks gave
a distorted picture of conditions in America, emphasizing
the evil rather than the good.
American history was made a
drab story of selfishnessgreed, exploitation, and class
These and many other charges have been leveled
at social science textbooks during the last two years.
Harold 0. Rugg*s series of textbooks were the chief
targets of textbook critics.
(These attacks were covered
34 a . T. Falk, Does Advertising Harm or Benefit Con­
sumers? (New York: Advertising Federation of America, 1939),
10 pp.
Augustin Rudd, H. Hicks and A. T. Falk, Undermining
Our Republic (New York: Guardians of American Education, 1941),
45 pp.
in Related Literature of this study.)
As a result of this
agitation the Rugg books have been banned in hundreds of
schools throughout America.
In many schools the books were
quietly taken out of circulation.
In other schools the books
were banned after public attacks by minority groups.
were taken out of the schools of Manhasset, New York; Boston,
Massachusetts; Englewood, New'Jersey; Binghampton, New York;
Garden City, New York; and Birmingham, Alabama, after heated
In Colorado Springs, Colorado, the books were
removed as a result of charges by the Americanism Council
that "the books are not suitable material for American
The council also suggested that in selecting a
successor to School Superintendent H. M. Corning, resigned,
the board name someone who is not "in sympathy with the very
un-American teaching of Rugg."36
A report of the grand jury
resulted in the books’ removal in the schools of San Diego
The grand jury report said:
It was found that the [Rugg] books had a tendency to
tear down the democratic form of government. The com­
mittee therefore recommends that the books be not used
in public schools.
Educators stated this series of books gives complete
coverage of social science, but admitted that parts of
the books were definitely subversive.37
SaE Diego Tribune-Sun, April 16, 1940
37 Ibid.. January 23, 1941.
The once most popular social science textbooks are
fast becoming the least popular.
Summary and conclusions. The controversies over text­
books during the last twenty years are a result of the con­
flict of opinions between educators and certain sections of
the public concerning the function of the schools.
believe that the function of the school is to train children
in critical judgments that will enable them to distinguish
the true from the false; to develop in children a capacity
for life in a changing, growing world that will steadily
work toward a better social order.
In opposition is the view
that the function of schools is to teach "patriotism” as
community opinion understands it, to teach belief in American
political institutions as they are, to teach devotion to the
present economic order, and to teach adherence to established
social practices.
These -opposing viewpoints resulted in
constant disagreement during the period since the ¥/orld War.
Schools, in attempting to carry out their functions, were
always trampling on some conventional belief.
During the
War there was a hatred of Germany, so the textbooks used were
criticized as being pro-German.
After the War came a dis­
illusionment with internationalism and a move toward national­
The textbooks then were pro-British and unpatriotic.
fundamentalistic interpretation of the Bible did not allow
for evolution*
The textbooks had to be revised.
With the
approach of World War II America: had to be glorified.
textbooks were guilty of un-Americanism.
In this conflict,; education has ever been the loser.
The textbooks, which most teachers rely on so completely, were
chosen and changed not by teachers, but by others who were
not teachers.
The textbooks had to be written in such a way
that they pleased the numerous powerful groups in the com­
The schools have not been able to adequately carry
out their aims.
Can a real contribution to the well-being of individual
students or the solution of societal problems be made by
an educational system forced to use books from which the
truth available at the time must be excluded until by a
slow process, made infinitely slower by this very ex­
clusion, popular prejudice is overcome and popular
knowledge catches up, years later, under these handicaps,
with what scholars have long known but have not been
allowed to say?38
^ Beale, op. cit., p. 319*
The previous chapter traced the history of textbook
controversy since the World War*
The present chapter is a
study of teachers1 opinions concerning a current textbook
controversy over the Rugg textbooks.
Teachers1 opinions
about current charges against the Rugg textbooks are gathered
and evaluated.
The investigation of teachers1 opinions concerning
the Rugg texts was conducted by an interview technique.
interviews were held with fifty teachers.
Most of these
teachers were interviewed in and around San Diego.
interviewed at a college summer session.
tive group of social science teachers.
Some were
It was a represents
Old and young, men
and women, teachers were included in the interviews.
The interviews were quite informal.
The questions
were asked in no definite pattern in the conversation.
spontaneous opinion was sought.
As reasons for the answers
given were important, whenever possible these were obtained.
The questions were sometimes asked in a different way, if the
person interviewed was undecided.
Examples were often given
to clarify the question when needed.
Questions one, two, three, four, seven, and eight
(see Table I) may at first glance seem rather inane to ask of
1 * Do the Rugg texts engender atti­
tudes and ideals which are
contrary to those most generally
accepted by society?
2 . Do the Rugg texts contain
subversive material?
3. Is there bias in Rugg* s treatment
of controversial problems?
4 • Do the Rugg texts anticipate a new
socip.1 order;
reflect the present one?
5- Do the Rugg books present material
which is unsuitable to the stu­
dents* level of maturity?
6 . Is the vocabulary too difficult?
7- Does Rugg neglect the teaching of
S • Does Rugg advocate changes which
are contrary to the present
economic and social order?
9. Should the Rugg texts be discarded
from the schools?
10. Do you feel that the present
attacks are made by people who are
sincere friends of education?
11. Should the social studies teachers
attempt to lead America toward a
new social order?
12. Should teachers critically examine
American society?
TABLE I (continued)
13* Do you consider free private
enterprise an essential part of
our democratic way of life?
14* Should teachers remain neutral on
important controversial issues?
15* Should teachers attempt to combat
groups which seek to dictate
educational policies?
17. Do you believe adverse criticism
of American social economic
institutions should be allowed?
18. Do you feel any lack of freedom
in discussing controversial
issues in the classroom?
16* What type of social order do the
social studies teachers
intelligent men and women teachers.
These questions, however,
were taken from the literature of the Rugg hook attackers.
As charges they were deliberately generalized and colored
with stereotyped words, by the attackers, to appeal to the
Opinions of the teachers, it was felt, would have
more value if they were reactions to the same type of charges
to which the general public has reacted.
Questions five and six are based on the reasons given
by many educators for discarding the Rugg texts from the
Most of the other questions are also based on charges
leveled against teachers.
They are important to the study
for evaluational and critical pruposes.
Do the Rugg texts engender attitudes and ideals which are
contrary to those most generally accepted by society?
Thirty-five answered no.
Five answered yes.
Ten felt
that they were not qualified to answer since attitudes and
ideals are a composition of so many factors almost impossible
to test.
Those saying yes felt that Rugg developed foreign
social and economic ideals.
Those answering no believed that, on the contrary,
Rugg emphasized American democratic ideals.
Do the Rugg texts contain subversive material?
Forty answered no.
Five answered yes.
material,” it was felt by five was too indefinite a term.
It had so many connotations.
considered subversive.
It all depended on what one
The five saying yes believed that
Rugg1s treatment of present day social and economic problems
tended to break down the student’s faith in the ".American way"
of life.
Is there bias in Rugg’s treatment of controversial
Thirty answered no, sixteen said yes, while four were
Sixteen believed that Rugg is a technocrat, a
socialist, a believer in government control and that this
tends to color his treatment of social and economic problems.
He makes a planned economy the logical goal in his book, An
Introduction to Problems of American Culture. Four felt that
they had not studied the books carefully enough to detect
bias had it been there.
Of the thirty answering no, most
felt that every author tended to let his personal feelings
creep into his writings, but that Rugg’s books had a minimum
of it.
Do the Rugg texts anticipate a new social order or
reflect the present one?
Thirty believed a different social order was anticipated
by Rugg’s An Introduction to Problems of American Culture.
What the social order was only four felt qualified to say.
They believed a planned social and economic life somewhat
similar to that envisaged by the Technocrats was anticipated.
Fifteen were undecided.
They believed that Rugg believed
that there would be a change, but how much and toward what
direction they were uncertain.
Five were of the opinion that
Rugg’s books mainly reflected the present social order.
Do the Rugg books present material which is unsuitable
to the students’ level of maturity?
Thirty-one were of the opinion that the Rugg books
were quite difficult to teach.
Many of the ideals, attitudes,
and conceptions were ’’over the students’ heads.”
Eight of
this group believed that the controversial problems presented
were above the students’ understanding.
Six answering were
They believed it was too difficult to decide
whether material was unsuited to a group of students’ level
of maturity, since there were so many levels in a hetero­
geneous group.
Thirteen answered no.
They felt that the
time to introduce present day problems was in the seventh,
eight, and ninth grades.
Is the vocabulary too difficult?
Thirty-five who answered this question believed the
vocabulary was too difficult.
Students were always complain­
ing about the difficulty of the book.
They believed that a
definite improvement could be made by using more simple
language in the books.
Ten replied that in their opinion the vocabulary was
not too difficult.
The most common reason given for their
answer was that the complaints made by the students of the
books1 difficulty would be avoided if the chapters were
properly introduced.
Jive were undecided.
They said that complaints about
a book’s difficulty were a common reaction of students to
most textbooks.
They also believed that the wide range of
reading abilities present in any class made it almost impos­
sible to write a book which would be within the range of
everyone’s vocabulary#
7 . Does Rugg neglect the teaching of patriotism?
Fifteen answered yes.
They felt that too little part
of Rugg’s books were devoted to developing a love of country.
He also tended to break down faith in historic American
heroes by his accounts of them#
They believed also that Rugg
emphasized the nation;’s weaknesses at the expense of its good
Twenty-six felt that the patriotic ideal of love, of
fellow Americans and the desire to make America a better place
for all were strongly emphasized in the Rugg texts.
Nine were undecided.
Some felt that Rugg’s books
could be considered patriotic or unpatriotic according to
one’s definition of the term.
8 . Does Rugg advocate changes which are contrary to the
economic and social order?
Thirty-one replied in the negative.
Nineteen believed
that Rugg advocated changes away from the present system of
profit and free enterprise.
Ten were undecided.
They believed that his books could
be interpreted both ways.
9 . Should the Rugg texts be discarded from the schools?
Twenty-three believed they should.
Most of these be­
lieved that the books had lost their effectiveness because
of the controversy which has risen around them.
They thought
that schools could not afford any criticism about their
teaching of Americanism in such a crucial period.
Eight believed that the schools should continue their
No charges have been proven against the texts, some
said, and, therefore, the schools should continue to use the
book of their own choice.
Nineteen were undecided about
what the schools should do.
A few said it was an adminstra-
tion problem.
Do you feel that the present attacks are made by people
who are sincere friends of education?
Twenty-seven doubted the public spirited interest in
education evinced by the textbook attackers.
They felt that
the groups attacking the textbooks, were seeking to control
the subject material taught in the schools.
Another common,
opinion was that the attacks were made by persons seeking to
stimulate a lack of faith in the schools which would result
in lower school taxes.
Seven answered yes.
One opinion voiced was that the
sincerity of the groups attacking should be accepted until
proven otherwise in view of their past friendship for the
Sixteen were undecided.
Should the social studies teachers attempt to lead America
toward a new social order.
Thirty-one answered negatively.
Some reasons given
Social studies teachers are not capable enough.
There is too wide a divergence of opinion as to
what is the right direction.
It would lead to too many conflicts between the
teachers and the public.
Teachers would be propagandizing rather than
Six answered yes. Two opinions given were:
Social studies teachers must show the way
to a
better world if chaos is not to overtake America.
It is a definite responsibility of educators to
help direct the changes now taking place in the right
Thirteen were undecided what teachers should do.
Should teachers critically examine American society?
Twenty-three believed they should.
Some common
opinions expressed were:
Students should be given a realistic approach to
conditions in America.
"Sugar coating" America’s social and economic
evils is not sound education.
Making education real has been one of education’s
greatest steps forward.
Sixteen answered no.
The most common reasons given were
Teachers are not competent enough.
Junior high school students are not mature enough.
Critically examining America only befuddles them.
When teachers do this, it leads to too many con­
flicts with parents.
Critically examining American society may destroy
the student’s faith in American institutions when that faith
is especially needed.
Teachers would be in danger of losing their jobs.
Eleven were undecided.
Do you consider free private enterprise an essential
part of our democratic way of life?
To this question twenty-one answered yes.
the opinions were:
It is an important democratic freedom.
Government control is communism.
It is one of our American institutions.
Some of
Only democracies have it today.
Twelve answered no.
The most common reasons were:
It is one of our undemocratic features.
Freedom in business has nothing to do with
We could still have a democratic society if free
private enterprise were abolished.
Seventeen could not decide the question.
Should teachers remain neutral on important contro­
versial issues?
Thirty-two answered yes.
Some reasons given were:
Teachers can only inspire neutrality and encourage
clear thinking by trying to be neutral themselves.
Teachers should not attempt to influence the
pupils thinking about controversial matters.
The public expects the teacher to be neutral.
The pupils should learn to think for themselves.
It is safest for the teacher neutral.
Nine answered no.
Reasons given were:
It is the duty of the teachers to direct the
pupils toward the right path.
Teachers should not remain neutral when other
forces influencing the pupils1 thinking are not.
Neutrality has not gotten us anywhere in the past.
Nine were undecided.
Two of these expressed the
thought that it all depended on what controversial issue was
being discussed•
Should teachers attempt to combat groups which seek to
dictate educational policies?
Nineteen believed they should.
The most common rea­
sons given were:
Educators must make a stand now lest they lose
more liberties.
Noneducative forces are seeking to destroy
America’s confidence in education.
It is better to fight than to teach under the con­
ditions many groups would impose.
When asked what methods should be used most of these
nineteen had no solution to offer. . Teacher associations
and publicity were suggested.
Thirteen answered no.
The most common reasons given
for their answers were:
Fighting would not help matters.
Teachers would lose their effectiveness if they
engaged in bitter fights with the public.
America needs to be united in the present crisis.
Teachers would be in danger of losing their jobs.
Teachers would lose favor with the administration.
Eighteen were undecided.
One opinion expressed was
that fighting would not do teachers any good unless group
action was used.
What type of social order do the social studies teachers
Twenty-nine either declined to commit themselves or
anticipate a type of social order without further thought.
about the matter.
Ten believed there would be little fundamental change
from the present social order for many years.
Eleven anticipated a change in the present social
Most were rather indefinite about the new social
Four believed that America was moving toward a fascistic
social order.
Three believed that the new social order would
be communistic.
Four saw a new social order based on a
planned economy with a democratic form of government.
would be socialistic.
17. Do you believe adverse criticism of American social and
economic institutions should be allowed in the schools?
Twenty-six answered no.
Some common opinions were:
America needs to be united if she is to survive.
Distrust of American institutions would lower the
nation’s morale.
c . Groups spreading propaganda which is subversive to
American institutions should be suppressed.
Look what happened to France.
Fifteen answered yes*
Some reasons given were:
Free criticism is essential to the maintenance of
Improvements and progress can only come through
free criticism*
We do not want to be like Germany and Italy*
Nine were undecided*
Do you feel any lack of freedom in discussing controversial
issues in the classroom?
Twenty-eight answered no*
were undecided*
Thirteen answered yes.
The previous chapter investigated the opinions of
social studies teachers about the Rugg social science text­
An attempt was also made to determine the teachers’
philosophies of the purposes of education.
The present
chapter will evaluate the teachers’ opinions.
Opinions ex­
pressed by frontier thinkers of education concerning the
Rugg textbooks.will be compared with those of the social
studies teachers expressed in the previous chapter.
philosophies of education found in the writings of leading
frontier thinkers of education will be compared with the
philosophies of education expressed by the teachers in the
inve st igat ion.
Teachers disagree with the charges made against the
Rugg series of textbooks.
The results of the interviews show that there is an
almost complete disagreement between social studies teachers
and the attackers of the Rugg texts.
Questions one, two,
three, four, seven, and eight were based on the most common
charges made by groups seeking the banning of the Rugg series
of textbooks.
Only five of the fifty teachers asked believed the
Rugg texts engendered attitudes and ideals contrary to those
most generally accepted by society.
teachers discounted such charges.
A large majority of the
The ten who answered
neither yes or no were not undecided because they felt Rugg
was both guilty and not guilty, but because they felt the
charge was so indefinite and so impossible to answer either
To the most frequently heard charge that Rugg* s books
are subversive, an even larger majority dissented.
general and somewhat meaningless charge by the Rugg critics
was quickly answered in the negative by most teachers.
most no reasons were given for their answers.
The five who
believed the Rugg books were subversive talked about the
**American way” of life in their opinions.
A slightly smaller majority of teachers believed that
the Rugg books were unbiased in their treatment of contro­
versial problems.
Of the sixteen believing there was bias,
only a few considered this an adverse criticism.
The majority
of these sixteen **noes1t could not be said to be in agreement
with the Rugg attackers* charge that Rugg set up certain
problems and then deliberately answered them from a social­
istic viewpoint.
Only five teachers believed that the Rugg books re­
flected the present social order. ■Again the thirty teachers
who believed Rugg anticipated a new social order in certain
of his books, cannot be said to have agreed with the Rugg
Their opinions were based on the idea that Rugg
did anticipate change and progress, not the idea held by the
attackers that Rugg was setting up a communistic order of
society as a goal for the students.
From the nature of the
reasons given, the fifteen who were undecided can be said to
be in disagreement with the charge.
The answers to the eighth question bear out the con­
clusion that the teachers* agreement with the third charge
was only a seeming one since the majority of the teachers
answered negatively to the charge that Rugg advocated changes
contrary to the present economic and social order.
The majority of the teachers also discounted the charge
of Rugg’s lack of patriotism.
A fairly large minority, how­
ever, did believe Rugg could have given greater emphasis to
patriotism in his books.
Teachers believe the vocabulary and material in­
cluded in the Rugg books is too difficult.
The majority of the teachers did have two criticisms
to be made of Rugg.
The vocabulary and material included in
the books were too difficult for the students.
These critic
cisms have often been heard from teachers using the texts.
The book was just too hard to teach.
pressed that Rugg was f,too wordy.”
An opinion was ex­
The book needed simplifying.
Several teachers expressed the opinion that Rugg was just too
difficult to teach, except to smarter students.
In the past
year these two faults of the Rugg social science textbooks
have been the most frequently cited reasons given by administra­
tors when discarding the books.
Results of these questions’definitely show that the .
majority of teachers using the Rugg textbooks disagree with
all of the charges made against the Rugg social science text­
^he ones who should know the books from reading,
studying, and teaching them refute the charges so frequently
made by the attacking groups.
In the social studies teachers*
opinion the Rugg books are neither "subversive, ** unpatriotic,
nor "communistic.”
The only faults found by the teachers
with the books were their difficulty.
3* Teachers believe the Rugg texts should be dis­
Despite the results so clearly in favor of the Rugg
social science textbooks, defenders of Rugg can take little
The results of the ninth and tenth questions show
that although the majority of teachers felt that the attackers
of the Rugg books were not sincere friends of education, they
were in favor of discarding the books.
To many teachers the
books had lost their value because of the criticism which had
arisen around them.
In other words the attacks on the books
are false, the attackers are false, but it would be so much
easier for everyone if the hooks were discarded and everyone
forgot ahout the whole thing.
As one teacher expressed it,
"Rugg has made a lot of money from his hoolcs.
to him.
We owe nothing
Why should we jeopardize our position standing up
for him?"
The class always runs better for one day if the
problem child gets his way.
The eight who were against discarding the Rugg hooks were
very staunch in their opinions.
The nineteen who were unde­
cided might he swung either way.
Teachers doubt the sincerity of the groups attacking
the Rugg textbooks.
Only seven of the teachers interviewed believed the
textbook attacks were made by sincere friends of education.
The majority of teachers frankly labeled them as enemies of
The records of businessmen’s organizations in
attempting to browbeat education to the acceptance of their
narrow line of thinking is all too well known to most school
Teachers do not appear to be convinced that the inter­
est in the schools shown by the groups attacking the Rugg
books is merely the interest of public spirited friends of
The majority of the teachers recognize these
groups for what they are.
5* Teachers believe that keeping their jobs is of
paramount importance when controversy arises.
Underlying most of the answers given in the interview
was an undercurrent of fear, the fear of loss of position or
loss of good standing.
The Rugg books should be discarded not
because they were at fault, but because the schools could not
afford criticism.
To translate the opinion further, "could
not afford criticism" means *our teaching positions would be
The large minority who believed teachers should not
critically examine American society expressed their reasons
largely in terms of this fear.
(If they did) "Teachers would
be in danger of losing their jobs.”
"When teachers do this
it leads to too many conflicts with parents.”
It might be
said that those teachers .expressing these opinions did not
consider the question, "Should teachers critically examine
American society” from the standpoint of: Is it right? but
from the standpoint of: Is it wise?
A considerable group of teachers believed teachers
should not attempt to combat groups which seek to dictate
educational policies.
lying fear.
The reasons given show the same under­
"Teachers would be in danger of losing their
"Teachers would lose favor with the administration.”
"Teachers would lose their effectiveness if they engaged in
bitter fights with the public."
The large number of teachers who were undecided about
the questions mentioned might be attributed to indecision
coming from wondering about the consequences*
An example of
this is the inconsistency in the teachers’ answers in saying
in one case that the schools should discard the Rugg books
and in another instance that the schools should defend them­
selves from groups seeking to dictate educational policies.
They are perfectly willing to defend the schools from outside
attacks until such action might result in controversy.
are willing to do until the time comes to do.
all depends on who the dictating groups are.
Of course, it
The schools
have been violently vociferous and pugnaciously aggressive
in their defense against "subversive forces” seeking to break
down the "American way of life."
Teachers translate their thoughts into actions only
when such actions will not jeopardize their position.
is only right when it is discreet.
The reason for this
timidity cannot be attributed entirely to fear of losing a
teaching position.
An important reason is the fear of losing
favor with the administrative officers.
Teachers seldom
think of themselves and the administration as a united front,
but of themselves versus the administration and the public.
"Staying in line" will take one farther in the teaching pro­
fession, it is often felt, than "stepping out of line."
Teachers do not see the full implications of the
attacks on the Rugg books.
From the opinions expressed, it is evident that many
teachers do not see the full implication of the Rugg attacks*
Most teachers seemed to view them as attacks on Rugg and
nothing more.
”It was a regrettable situation; something to
be avoided in the future by placating the attacking groupsnow.”
This idea, although not actually expressed, was
evident in the opinions.
In only a few instances was the
opinion expressed that the attacks were on teacher freedom.
The majority of the teachers did not see that the
Rugg attacks were attacks on education itself; that noneducative
control of textbooks would destroy the values of the American
system of education.
Most teachers seemed to feel that the
attacks were Rugg* s problem, not education* s problem.
majority of the teachers in this study were from schools
which had shelved the Rugg textbooks because of the contro­
versy and yet few expressed any concern about the matter.
banning of the books had become only a passing incident.
Teachers do little thinking about important social
and economic problems.
This accusation would be denied by almost every
Almost all believe that they do a lot of thinking
about social and economic problems. -Although the evidence
supporting this accusation is rather meagre, still there is
enough to make the accusation.
A common reason given for believing that social
studies teachers should not attempt to lead America toward a
new social order was that, "Social studies teachers are not
capable enough."
In other words social studies teachers
are no more capable than other groups of solving America’s
social and economic problems.
It is generally admitted that
America’s present problems are the result of the public’s
indifference and lack of thinking.
The teachers accuse them­
selves of lacking the capacity that the rest of America has
evidenced to solve her problems.
The teachers are themselves
guilty of indifference and lack of thinking toward America’s
A common reply given to the question, "Should teachers
critically examine American society?" was, "Teachers are not
competent enough."
Teachers have not thought enough about
American society to critically examine it.
The opinions given in response to the question, "Do
you consider free private enterprise an essential part of
our democratic way of life?" add further weight to the con­
clusion that teachers do little thinking about important
social and economic problems.
The teachers seemed to make
little connection between free private enterprise and
America’s social and economic problems, although free private
enterprise was the system in use when the problems arose.
Instead, free private enterprise was considered an essential
part of our democratic way of life because, "It is an im­
portant democratic freedom."
Although labor had no control
over its unemployment, still free private enterprise is
"Government control is communism,” was another reason.
A democratic government control of business would be com­
munistic even though greater democracy was brought to the
mass of the people through it.
"It is one of our American institutions,” was another
common reason given for free private enterprise’s importance
to democracy.
Perhaps teachers fail to question poverty be­
cause it, too, is an American institution.
"Only democracies have it today," was still another
In other words, anything good or bad, which is only
present in democracies, must be kept.
These answers are not the answers of people who have
done considerable thinking about important social and economic
problems, but rather the answers of unthinking people who
blindly accept their answers from above.
S. Teachers lack social vision.
This conclusion, much similar to the previous conclu­
sion, stems from many of the same opinions.
People who do
little thinking about America’s problems could hardly be said
to have social vision.
To the question, "What type of social order do the
social studies teachers anticipate?” twenty-nine had no
Ten believed the present social order would continue
fundamentally unchanged.
Eleven others anticipated change,
but only four of these were definite about the change.
other words, social studies teachers have little idea where
America is going or should go.
Social studies teachers have
little more social vision than other people.
Teachers believe social studies teachers should be
unbiased and yet indoctrination of accepted attitudes and
ideals is practiced.
To the question, "Should teachers remain neutral on
important controversial issues?” only nine replied negatively.
Of the majority answering in the affirmative, most talked
about the benefits of teacher neutrality to the pupil’s
Teachers should present controversial problems,
yet remain absolutely neutral.
Yet every teacher presents
material every day to students about which she is expected
to be biased.
Accepted ways of doing and thinking are taught
by teachers every day.
in favor of these.
They are expected to be quite biased
They are accepted by the public.
teach capitalism is all right; to teach communism is being
Teaching history as viewed by patriotic societies
is all right; teaching history from the viewpoint of realistic
historians is showing bias.
It all depends on what is being
taught as to whether a teacher should be biased or unbiased.
A common answer to the question, "Should the social
studies teachers attempt to lead America toward a new social
order?" farther proves this conclusion.
(If teachers did)
"they would he propagandizing rather than educating."
Teachers who attempt to direct the changes taking place in
society through their teaching are not teaching hut propagandizing.
Of course if the teacher directs and teaches
these changes along the lines accepted hy vested interest
groups, that is not showing hias.
Twenty-six teachers did not helieve in adverse criti­
cism of American social and economic institutions.
should he unbiased about controversial problems yet biased .
in favor of American social and economic institutions.
"America needs to be united if she is to survive."
the answer should have been adverse criticism should not be
allowed lest it destroy the things certain interests hold
precious and dear.
"Distrust of American institutions would
lower the nation1s morale."
Teachers should be biased in
favor of America* s social and economic institutions and un­
biased about controversial problems.
Teachers only have to
remember when to be biased*and always to be unbiased.
Teachers do not feel a lack of freedom because
they are believers in the status quo.
According to the answers given to the question, "Do
you feel any lack of freedom in discussing controversial
issues in the classroom?" only nine teachers felt a definite
lack of freedom.
The majority of the teachers felt none.
A few were undecided.
These answers would seem to show that
teachers are not bound down by the desires of various pressure
groups or the administration in their social studies teaching.
Teachers apparently have a wide degree of freedom.
pressures handicap them little in their classroom expression.
One must conclude from other opinions given by the teachers
that such is not the case.
The majority of the teachers interviewed appeared to
be believers in the status quo.
According to the answers
given, the social studies teachers had no desire to attempt
to lead America toward a new social order.
Only twelve did
not consider the present economic system an essential part of
our democratic way of life.
Thirty-two believed in strict
teacher neutrality in discussing controversial issues.
seven teachers anticipated -a leftist social order.
Over half
of the teachers did not believe adverse criticism of American
social and economic institutions should be allowed in the
In other words most social studies teachers feel no
particular lack of freedom because they have few beliefs
which conflict with prevailing accepted beliefs.
People who
accept the status quo have seldom lacked freedom of expression
regardless of whether they were living under a democracy or
a dictatorship.
Those teachers, those people who desire to
change the status quo, or even to accurately present it,
will not feel the same freedom.
11. Teachers lack confidence in their administrators.
From opinions expressed in the interview, it could be
concluded that teachers have little faith in their administra­
tors in issues which involve public controversy.
There is a
definite fear among teachers that when disputes and misunder­
standings arise between teachers and sections of the public
that either teachers will get little backing from their
administrators or that they will tend to side with the public.
Their response to the question, "Should teachers
critically examine American society?" two common opinions
were: "When teachers do this, it leads to too many conflicts
with parents"; "Teachers would be in danger of losing their
To put it another way, teachers who have conflicts
with parents or organizations will lose favor with the ad­
The question, "Should teachers attempt to
combat groups seeking to dictate educational policies?"
evinced the same type of response.
Two common opinions were:
"Teachers would lose favor with the administration."
might be said that if teachers don’t fight, and always give
in, they will get along much better with the principal and
The question, "Should teachers remain neutral on im­
portant controversial issues?” resulted in this frequently
given opinion, "It is safest for the teacher to be neutral."
Teachers are expected to be neutral by their principals.
teacher who expresses opinions in the classroom about impor­
tant controversial problems can seldom expect any backing
from the principal when any section of the public takes
exception to these opinions.
Teachers should avoid controversy at all costs is a
dictum common to most principals.
The opinion among teachers
that the Rugg books should be discarded because ffcontroversy
has destroyed their effectiveness" shows how well teachers
have learned this rule.
Teachers are not capable of defending the Rugg
textbooks, because they do not understand them.
The educational philosophy expressed by the social
studies teachers in the interviews does not coincide with the
educational philosophy embodied in the Rugg texts.
In the
Great Technology, Rugg speaks of the new educational program,
which education must have and which, he says, is contained in
the six volumes of the Social Science Series.
Following are the basic concepts which should consti­
tute the guiding skeleton of our new educational program.
First and foremost, the fragile interdependence of
the world mechanism of trade.and culture that we have
created. Youths in every land must grow up with the
sense of responsibility for helping to carry on that
mechanism for preventing the cutting of any single
nerve of the new economic-political organism*
Second, the accelerating change with which the cul­
tures of the world are being transformed. The generation
shortly to be given the responsibility of self-government
must be practiced in the attitude of expectancy of changechange in industry-and farming, change in transportation,
communication and trade; and, therefore, change in
standards and norms of life, in standards of morality,
in family life. And, correspondingly, it should see the
need for change in political, economic and social govern­
ment .
Third, the powerful role of the great economic con­
cepts of private property, the desire for economic gain,
and the doctrine of individual success through competi­
tion. Youth will learn that all group problems are
colored by these prevailing concepts. They will be
brought to see how the concept of laissez-faire in the
marriage of politics and economics has produced enormous
inequalities in wealth and social income, the export
of large amounts of capital from Europe and America, the
disastrous imperialistic exploitation of agrarian and
nonmilitarized peoples, and thus to make international
rivalries and world war. They will understand that
underneath most of the activities of individuals, and
the political manoeuverings of nations and groups, is
the desire for economic gain; that throughout the history
of the race the desire for trade has been the central
thread of continuity; and that the political history of
the past few centuries has been largely the story of the
conflict between struggling economic classes.
Fourth, experiments in political democracy. Must we
not build systematically the attitude among the young
people of the world that the trend toward representative
democracy has produced nothing more than important
experiments in government? The need for understanding
is two-fold; first, that the trend for two hundred
years has been from autocracy toward democracy, from
government by One Man to government by Many Men. Second,
that every form of government on earth today must be
regarded frankly as an experiment, tentative, and to be
changed as new social and economic conditions develop.
The trend has revealed scores of experiments, a great
variety of forms and methods of collective living. The
danger is that the young nationals of each of the sixty
countries will grow up with the conviction that the form
peculiar to his country is of proved superiority, rather
than that it is one of many experiments and could very
likely be greatly improved by the substitution of many
foreign practices.!
^ Harold 0. Rugg, The Great Technology (New York:
John Day Company, Inc., 1933)j PP* 269-270.
These are four of the basic concepts which Rugg has
followed in his six volumes of the Social Science Series*
Teachers say the Rugg texts do not engender attitudes
and ideals which are contrary to those most generally
accepted by society.
The majority of teachers, according to
the opinions expressed in the interviews, believe that
teachers should not attempt to lead America toward a new
social order.
The majority of teachers do not believe ad­
verse criticism of American social and economic institutions
should be allowed in the classrooms.
Teachers believe free
private enterprise is an essential part of American democ­
Teachers believe that teachers should be unbiased in
the discussion of controversial issues in the classroom.
A comparison of these teacher opinions with the basic
concepts of Rugg1s educational program show a wide disagree­
The educational program which is contained in the
Rugg Social Science Series is evidently not understood by
the teachers.
The Rugg texts cannot be defended by teachers
holding a contrary philosophy of the purposes of education.
13* Teachers1 opinions were influenced by the present
It is doubtful that teachers would have answered the
questions asked in the interviews in the same way had the
present war and defense crisis not been confronting America.
The fever of war preparation usually.biases for the status
Radical opinions are looked upon less favorably.
Gomplete faith takes the place of liberal thought.
of social and economic conditions becomes out of place, even
Teachers, as part of American society, could
not have helped being influenced by the current thinking.
Society’s prevailing thoughts, attitudes, and opinions have
become their own.
The scarcity of liberal critical thought
in American society is also present among teachers.
So many of the opinions given were based on "present
crisis” reasons.
Adverse criticism of American institutions
was not favored by a majority of teachers.
to be united if she is to survive,"
"America needs
"Distrust of American
institutions would lower the nation’s morale," "Look what
happened to France," are all reasons based on the war
Most of these reasons could be said to have been,
"In ordinary times yes, but now, no."
The question concerning whether teachers should
attempt to combat groups seeking to dictate educational
policies resulted in opinions which were based on the present
troubled conditions.
"Fighting would not help matters."
"America needs to be united in the present crisis."
It is doubtful whether the majority of teachers
would consider the present economic system an essential part
of democracy were it not for the present stress on conformity
brought on by fear for America’s security.
Teachers today are accepting many features of American
society under the stress of nationalistic propaganda, which
they strongly criticized during normal times.
In order to more thoroughly evaluate the teachers’
opinions on the questions asked in the interviews, their
opinions were compared with those of frontier thinkers in
Educational leaders, both conservative and progressive,
are in complete accord with the teachers interviewed in this
study regarding the falsity of the charges made against the
Rugg textbooks.
They deny wholeheartedly the Rugg texts’
subversiveness, un-Americanism, communism, and like charges.
Two studies conducted by educators illustrate their complete
denial of the charges made against the books.
In Philadelphia, three educators were asked to make a
study of Rugg’s textbooks: Edwin C. Broome, retired superin­
tendent of schools of Philadelphia; Bruce M. Watson, former
superintendent of schools in Spokane, Washington, and former
director of the Public Education and Child Labor Association
of Pennsylvania; and William D. Lewis, former high school
principal and for twenty-five years editor-in-chief of the
John C. Winston Publishing Company.
The educators, in their
report made public April 6, 1941, exonerated Rugg’s books
of any suspicion of subversive or un-American propaganda.
Facts, both uncomplimentary and complimentary, are
frankly stated, and the uncomplimentary statements are
not unduly stressed.
We have not found any statements, which, taken in
their entirety, advocate an overthrow of our government,
or any revision of present principles and practices
except by constitutional and democratic methods.
We have not found any statements which could influence
pupils to prefer any foreign form of government to ours
or to wish to substitute for ours any foreign system.2
The Social Science Committee in its report to the
Georgia State Board of Education dated October 19, 1940,
The Social Science Committee has examined, with a
critical eye for "subversive** statements, the fourteen
books of the Rugg Social Science Series made available
for use in the public schools of Georgia and has found
nothing which, in the judgment of the Committee, tends
to undermine our form of government or our way of life
and in' the absence of any specific charges against
these books, made in writing by any individual or
organization, the Committee has reached the conclusion
that the books should not be prohibited on this basis
for use in the public schools of our state.3
William G. Carr, Associate Secretary of the National
Educational Association, stated that "the current attacks on
the civic devotion of the public schools have no adequate
basis in fact."^
Control of Social Studies Textbooks (National Council
for the Social Studies),' p. 39*
Ibid., p. 37^ W. G. Carr, "This is Not,Treason," The Journal of
the National Education Association, 29:237, November, 1940.
Erling M. Hunt in a speech made at the May 1, 1941,
"Town Meeting" broadcast declared:
After allowing for reasonable and honest differences
of opinion, and after weighing the charges and studying
the textbooks, I am convinced that the sensational
charges rest on garbled data and on misrepresentations.
Our textbooks are not d a n g e r o u s . 5
In a Presidential Address to The National Council for
the Social Studies at Syracuse, N©w York, November 22, 1940,
Howard B. Anderson denied categorically the charges made in
the article, "Treason in the Textbooks," appearing in the
American Legion Magazine.
He further charged that, "this
author has made sensational charges without great concern
for buttressing them with facts."6
No leading educator could be found who agreed with
the charges made against the Rugg textbooks.
Educational leaders also doubt the sincerity of the
groups attacking the Rugg textbooks.
in their doubt.
They were unanimous
Howard B. Anderson stated:
Let us recognize the selfish motivation behind some
of these attacks. There are in this country persons
and interests that oppose the present program of free
and public education. Sometimes their hostility springs
from a hearty dislike of a tax program based on the
capacity to pay. Sometimes it reflects a selfish in­
terest in perpetuating mass ignorance. Actually there
5 "Are Our Schoolbooks Dangerous?" Town Meeting
Bulletin, No. 25, 6:13, May 5, 1941z
H. B. Anderson, "The Social Studies, Patriotism,
and Teaching Democracy," Social Education, 5:13, January,
are persons and interests which do not want free and
public education to extend beyond the eighth grade.7
In an article appearing in The New York Teacher, the
motives behind the National Association of Manufacturers1
report on textbooks were questioned.
It is indeed ironical that this molder of public
opinion and this self-appointed guardian of our American
form of government should have had its president, Hemming
Y/ebb Prentis, Jr., listed as one of the six enemies of
democracy in a recent address by Attorney-General Robert
H. Jackson. The history of the N.A.M., since 1902, is
that of an organization devoted to anti-labor and anti­
democratic principles. Any measure designed to benefit
the American people which threatened its vested interests
was fought by fair means or foul.°
One of the leading Washington correspondents, Paul Y.
Anderson, summarized the work of the National Association of
Once it bribed Congressmen and page boys; now it seeks
to bribe whole communities. The old device of a thousand
dollar bill in the palm has been replaced with an elabo­
rate program whereby businessmen, taxpayers, professional
workers, and school children are told by radio, screen,
billboard, cartoon and canned editorials that their
existence depends on peace in the mills. To put it more
bluntly, they are told the only way they can get along is
by keeping the damn labor agitators out.9
Alexander J. Stoddard saw the textbook critics as
enemies of democracy.
7 ibid.. p. 9g
L. M. Jaffee, "Books and Big Business," The New York
Teacher, 6:16, March 2, 1941*
9 Quoted in George Seldes, Witch Hunt (Toronto: George
J. McLeod,.Ltd., 1940), pp. 229-230.
We know that any democracy without a free education
for all the people cannot long endure. This being so,
what should be said of those who ignorantly or knowingly
undemine the effectiveness of the schools and circulate
falsehoods about the loyalty of the people who serve
in them?10
Prominent educators were far more concerned with the
implications of the textbook attacks on education.
They saw
these attacks as not merely attacks on the Rugg texts, but
attacks which were dangerous to the whole American system
of education.
Doctor Merle Gurti feared the effects of the
attacks on the school system.
The implication, and at times the downright allegation,
that teachers, administrators, textbook authors, and
publishers are delinquent in their patriotic duty and
in the discharge of their professional responsibility
is unjust and misleading, and brings discredit upon the
whole school system.
The conduct of investigations of textbooks and
teaching without the cooperation and advice of school
administrators and classroom teachers frequently results,
at best, in avoidable misunderstanding and misinterpre­
tations, and, at worst, in dislocations of the educative
process and injustice to textbook writers, to teachers,
and to youth. In fact, this type of interference and
attempted dictation deprives youth of its right to learn
that various points of view exist and to prepare for
participation in the making of intelligent decisions
regarding these conflicting positions.11
James Marshall, president of the New York City Board
of Education, feared that as a result of these attacks
10 A. J. Stoddard, "We Intend to Continue . .
Journal of the National Education Association, 30:11, April,
"Statement of the National Council for the Social
Studies,” Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 194!•
teachers would have to watch their step*
They will be afraid to step on the toes of the local
chamber of commerce or to discuss matters which will
affect the local chambers of commerce. Therefore, these
pressure groups, which attack school textbooks and the
social studies, become, in fact, terror groups in their
relation to the schools.
This is the first step to gangsterism. And these
groups, which, in their textbook attacks, are stimulating
a lack of faith in our schools and trying to solve
education by mass hysteria, are doing more to destroy
the security of American democracy than the Communists.
They are a veritable fifth column to American education
and as such threaten the foundations and the future of
our country.12
The American Committee for Democratic and Intellectual
Freedom declared that the autonomy of education was endangered
by the textbook attacks.
Education must be organic in its relation to the
society it serves; but, unless education is also
autonomous, the society is hardly free nor is it likely
to remain progressive.13
In contrast to the teachers1 attitude of indifference
regarding the attacks on education through the Rugg texts, is
the attitude of frontier thinkers in education.
They urge a
vigorous fight against the forces attempting to control the
social studies teaching and textbooks.
Howard R. Anderson
11Are Our Schoolbooks Dangerous?” Town Meeting
Bulletin, No. 25, 6:19, May 5, 1941*
^ Committee on Textbooks of the American Committee
for Democratic and Intellectual Freedom, General Statement
on Social Science Textbooks, p. 2.
Before any effort looking toward drastic curtailment
of present educational opportunities can be successful,
and before any rival program of public education can be
introduced, the confidence of the general public in the
competence of teachers and the character of the present
educational program must be destroyed- Let us be alert
to recognize attacks directed against teachers and the
schools, and let us as a profession take pains to trace
them to their source. Indifference on our part amounts
to a betrayal of American traditions and of American
The National Council for the Social Studies, in refer­
ring to the textbook attacks, said:
The National Council for the Social Studies accepts
its full share of responsibility in the important task
of safeguarding professional standards and in opposing
the efforts of special interest groups to interfere
with the democratic education of American youth.
Alexander J. Stoddard said:
If our critics are dishonest or incompetent, we
have no choice but to stand up and fight these enemies
of education and of democracy.16
In its report to the Georgia State Board of Education
the Social Science Committee condemned those who failed to
School authorities who throw out a teacher or text
because of an attack without an investigatioh have
surrendered their freedom of action and have been false
to the trust imposed upon them. They are saying, in
effect, that the decision about personnel and materials
Anderson, 0£. cit., p. 10.
Committee on Textbooks of the American Committee
for Democratic and Intellectual Freedom, o£. cit., p. 2.
cit., p. 11.
should not be exercised by themselves, but bv selfappointed guardians of the welfare of youth.17
The criticism made by teachers of the Rugg texts*
difficulty can neither be substantiated or denied by opinions
of leading educators.
It has not merited their attention.
The only material which could be found on the subject denied
the Rugg books* difficulty.
Superintendent Cramer, investigating the vocabulary
of the Rugg books, found that in Volumes I and II there were
on the average twenty words per thousand which were not in
the Thorndike list of the "ten thousand commonest words."
Twenty such words in a thousand are not excessive.
tendent Cramer showed.this when he exhibited similar figures
for the books in United States history, geography, civics,
and state history which had been previously used in the same
grades of his schools.
The figures for these books were
respectively thirty-two, twenty-four, thirty, and thirty-one.
As to, the range of vocabulary employed by Rugg, Cramer found
that there were 435 different words per thousand in Volume I
of the Rugg series and 442 per thousand in Volume II.
the figures were favorable, as was shown when they were
compared with figures similarly ‘derived for other books in­
tended for use in the same grades.
Control of Social Studies Textbooks, p. 38.
Superintendent Cramer determined by means of the
Vo gel-'Washburne formula1** the difficulty of the first four
reading books of the Rugg course.
The difficulty figure
for Volume I of the Rugg course turned out to be 67, and
that for Volume II to be 64* These volumes (commonly used
in Grade Seven) are, therefore, according to Vogel and
Washburne, appropriate in difficulty of style for the
sixth grade.
The figures for Volumes III and IV (usually
eighth-grade books) were 74 and 71, respectively, indicating
that they are appropriate for the seventh grade.
The fifth
volume received a rating of 72 (corresponding to the low
seventh grade) and the sixth volume a rating of 78 (high
seventh gradeJ.1^
According to this study made by Superintendent
Washburne, the Rugg texts’ vocabulary is not too difficult
nor is the material beyond the studentsT level of maturity.
Teachers were in quite complete accord with educa­
tional leaders in their opinions about the Rugg texts.
their other opinions there was a wide divergence.
The majority of social studies teachers interviewed
M. Vogel and Carleton Washburne, "An Objective
Method of Determining Grade Placement of Children’s Reading
Material," Elementary School Journal, January, 1928, pp. 373-
Cramer, "The Relative Difficulty of Junior-hig
school Social Studies Tests,” Journal of Educational Research,
February, 1933*
did not believe social studies teachers should attempt to
lead America toward a new social order#
In William H.
Kilpatrick*s Education and the Social Crisis, and George S#
Counts’ Dare the School Build a Mew Social Order, decidedly
opposite opinions are given.
In the Conclusions and Recom­
mendations of the American Historical Association, this
answer was given to the question, "Should teachers attempt
to lead America toward a new social order?" by asserting
that such leadership is the paramount duty of teachers in
the present social upheaval#
Frank E. Baker, President of State Teachers College,
Milwaukee, recently stated:
Education must go much further than an "impassioned
validation throughout the educational process of
democratic convictions and meanings,” and to "quickened
applications of democratic methods to the operation of
all our institutions giving specially urgent attention
to our economic organizations so that the ends of pro­
ductivity and personality will be simultaneously served
as they are.not now."
If education is to save American democracy it must
clearly see its functions in social reconstruction.
It must accomplish this function by a critical selection
from the culture of the past and by a critical study
of contemporary society that will enable it to present
a blue print of those changes in our social and political
structure that must take place if democracy is to be
preserved in a state based on a planned e c o n o m y # 20
A committee of the Progressive Education Association
in 1933 published a booklet on social and economic problems.
F. E. Baker, "Comments," Frontiers of Democracy,
7:14, October 15, 1940.
It urged teachers to "speak out and take their stand.”
committee declared:
To teach the ideal (of democracy) in its historic
form, without the illumination that comes from an
effort to apply it to contemporary society, is an
extreme instance of intellectual dishonesty. It
constitutes an attempt to educate the youth for life
in a world that does not exist. Teachers therefore
cannot evade the responsibility of participating
actively in the task of reconstituting the democratic
tradition and of thus working positively toward a new
society. The simple discharge of their professional
duties leaves to them no alternative.21
G-. S. Counts saw the need for educators to think in
terms of social progress.
We in education will have to develop some notion as
to what the good life is and what a good society is,
and make the schools an instrument for bringing this
about . . . Until the leaders of educational thought
. . . grapple courageously with this task of analysis
and synthesis, the system of education and the theory
of education will but reflect the drift of the social
Rugg 'said:
I.propose that the schools of each nation in the
world should be regarded as agencies for social
Jesse H. Hewlon sees the need for leadership in the
present sharp cultural transformation.
Committee on Social and Economic Problems, "A Call
to the Teachers of the Nation,” Progressive Education
Association, 1933*
G-. S. Counts, The American Road to Culture (New
York: John Day Company, 1930),p. 19423
C. Washburne, Remakers of Mankind (New York: John
Day Company, 1932), p. 301.
We must reconstruct life, and for this task of
reconstruction social understanding is required. It
is here that we find the greatest and most difficult
task of secondary education.24
John A. Hockett stated:
How unthinkable that the school should lack a vital,
challenging purpose when the society it is charged to
safeguard lies mortally ill from the poisons of its own
metabolism. What greater privilege could any man or
woman ask then the opportunity of revealing to young
people the vision of "the great American dream"— the
possibility of a life of poise and balance and sanity,
of security and satisfaction, of work and play andgrowth for every man, woman, and child? What greater
purpose than t o kindle lifelong zeal for the accomplish­
ment of this magnificent ideal? This is the opportunity
of every teacher, preeminently of the teacher of social
Frontier thinkers of education are unanimous in be­
lieving that it is a duty of educators to help build a new
social order through education.
Conservative educators deny
this duty.
The place of the discussion of controversial issues in
the social studies is fully accepted by both the social
studies teachers interviewed and educational leaders alike.
Educational leaders are unanimous in their opinions regarding
the importance of the discussion of controversial issues to
good social studies teaching.
When J. W. Studebaker was
^ J . H. Newlon, "Heed for New Social Science Materials,"
Clearing House, 8 :74, October, 19332^ J . A. Hockett, "Social Studies in a Confused
World," Clearing House, 8 :75, October, 1933*
superintendent of Des Moines schools he said to his teachers:
If we leave training in the consideration of contro­
versial issues to the unplanned experience of the average
individual, there is little to guard him against blind
acceptance of his own prejudice and the fixing of an
inadequate technique for reaching enlightened judgments.
The school should not only be. permitted but encouraged
to include in its curricular activities the fair and
careful consideration of some of the unsolved problems
of the social o r d e r . 26
Carleton Washburne said that pupils should be given an
opportunity to exercise their own critical faculties about
social problems.
History and the social sciences in general should be
directed not so much toward justifying or attacking past
acts as toward approaching current problems in an open
minded, objective manner and in the light of past
experience . . . Such an approach to the social sciences
will evitably lead to discussion of current problems.
Not only should such discussion be permitted, but the
lack of it should be recognized as a failure on the
part of the course and of the teacher.27
In referring to the importance of the discussion of
controversial issues, the Committee on Textbooks of the
American Committee for Democratic and Intellectual Freedom
recently stated:
No youngster is properly prepared for life in a
democracy who does not learn to weigh candidly opposing
views on social problems. Seven million children now
in high school will be voting in the later 1940*3, and
p. 719.
Quoted in H. K. Beale, Are American Teachers Free?
C. ?/ashburne,
p p.
the Republic must bring them up to think realistically
about the issues on which will hang its future#28
Jesse H. Newlon wrote in an article discussing the
importance of the high school to American life that, "If
the high school is to become in any true sense a positive
social force, its curriculum must be focused more upon con­
temporary culture and contemporary social problems ."^9
William MeAndrew said there is a definite place for contro­
versy in high school social studies courses.
The problems to be settled by men and women who are
children now in your care are and will be the cause of
controversy. They are vivified by discussion. High
school is the place for it. The creation of*your
position and the source of your pay demand that you
make this your main b u s i n e s s . 30
There is a complete agreement between leaders of educa­
tion and the social studies teachers interviewed concerning
the importance of the discussion of controversial issues in
the social studies classes.
However, in the interpretation
of "discussion of controversial issues," there is a marked
difference between leading educators and the social studies
teachers interviewed.
Frontier thinkers of education were strongly in favor
Committee on Textbooks of the American Committee
for Democratic and Intellectual Freedom, 0£. cit., p. 3Newlon, op. cit., p. 73*
William McAndrew, "Is There a Place for Controversy?”
Clearing House, 8:89, October, 1933-
of critically examining American society in contrast to less
than half of the fifty teachers interviewed who were in
favor of it.
A majority of the teachers interviewed did not
believe that adverse criticism of American social and economic
institutions should be allowed in the schools•
Statements of
leading educators are decidedly opposite to this point of
The American Historical Association recommended:
The program of social science instruction should
provide for a realistic study of the life, institutions,
and culture of contemporary America. In doing this, it
cannot omit study of the inefficiencies, the corruptions,
the tensions, the conflicts, the contradictions and the
injustices of the age, or consideration of the material
and spiritual potentialities implicit in man’s mastery
of natural forces.
The Association even went further in suggesting an
inclusion of the study of various "isms” in the social studies
The program of social science instruction should make
generous provision for the thorough and judicial study
of all the great theories, philosophies, and programs,
however radical or conservative they may appear, which
have been designed to deal with the growing tensions
and problems of industrial society.32
William G. Carr, associate secretary, National Educa- '
tion Association, in defending teachers against the recent
charges of un-Americanism
^ American Historical Association, "Report of the
Commission on the Social Studies," Conclusions and Recommenda­
tions , p. 53.
Loc. cit.
It is not "treason*"to teach that American ideals
require a fair chance for everyone in terms of economic,
social, and educational opportunity.
It is not "treason" to teach that these ideals are
not yet fully achieved and to stir the enthusiasm of
youth to attain these ideals' more fully.
It is not "treason" to teach that the current develop­
ments in our economic life put great strain on the in­
stitutions of democracy and to summon up youthful
vigilance and courage to meet the challenge.33
At a conference in Cleveland in 1931 Jesse H. Newlon,
head of the Lincoln School in New York City, expressed these
Many features of our government as now organized are
clumsy and not very responsive to public opinion. It is
the.function of the schools to indoctrinate youth with
the idea that there are defects. We should not go on
slurring over that and leave the impression that we have
about the most perfect government in the world . . . I
think we shall not get very far until a discussion of
the difficulties (of government) goes on in our secondary
A group of educators which included Charles A. Beard,
William C. Bagley, Jesse H. Newlon, Frank E. Spaulding, James
T. Shotwell, and Frank P. G-raham issued an open letter
The duty of educators is clear. True patriotism is
not served by ignorance and refusal to face facts and
problems . . . Only enlightened public opinion, based
on accurate information and full and free discussion
of facts and issues, can give to our national real and
adequate security. Dissemination of vital facts with
33 Carr, op. cit.t p. 18.
3^ Washburne, op. cit., p. 308.
honest discussion of the issues they involve is a
major responsibility of the nation’s schools. To aid
in meeting that responsibility at this critical time
is the high obligation of every teacher and school
administrator in the nation. 35
Kilpatrick wanted history taught "with the intent of
developing such intelligent self-direction as will be able
and disposed to criticize what we now hold dearest, and if
possible, improve upon it."36
The need for critical analysis of American society
in the schools was seen by John Dewey.
He warned educators:
The sense of unsolved social problems is all about
us . . . Unless education prepares future citizens to
deal effectively with these great questions, our civiliza­
tion may collapse . . . H. G. Wells said, soon after the
close of the war, that we were engaged in a race between
education and catastrophe. Here in America, it might be
truer to say that we are engaged in a race between a miseducation which will bear no . vital relation to the needs
and conditions of the modern world and a possible education
which will face the future and which will defer to the
past and its traditions only as far as the past gives us
aid in effectively facing the future.37
George Mirick declared, in criticizing the teaching, of
the social order as a perfect finished product, that:;
The social order existing at any one time is but one
attempt to solve the problem of adjusting individual
35 "A Professional and Patriotic Obligation," School
and Society, 54:297, February 27, 1932*
36 Washburne, ££. cit., p. 30S.
37 John Dewey, "Some Aspects of Modern Education,"
School and Society, 53:581-582, October 31, 1931.
aggressiveness and group interests. No principles have
yet been discovered for solving this problem perfectly.38
John L. Tildsley, New York City Superintendent of
Schools, issued to his teachers a circular letter describing
the Qualities, attitudes, habits to be built up in highschool boys and girls."
Among these were: ^critical-
mindedness--that quality which does not allow one to accept
unreservedly a statement merely because it is in print or an
oral statement merely because made by a reputed authority or
person of distinction; and the power to see things as they
really are.”39
There was a disagreement between frontier thinkers of
education and the teachers interviewed concerning teacher
A majority of ,the teachers believed that teachers
should remain neutral in important controversial issues.
Frontier thinkers of education decried the stress on teacher
neutrality in education.
Jesse H. Newlon recently stated:
A myth of American education that almost hardened
into a compelling tradition has been the notion that
teachers should be political neutrals. Traditionally
teachers have voted for the candidates and measures of
their preference but have generally refrained from
giving voice, except in private circles, to political
faith or party allegiance. In like manner they have
attempted an' impossible neutrality in the classroom.
38 George A. Mirick, Progressive Education (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923)7 PP* 55-59*
39 Quoted in Beale, op. pit., p. 675*
In recent years this has been called "teaching to think,
but not what to think.”40
The Commission on the Social Studies of the American
Historical Association criticized the prevalent attitude in
education of teacher neutrality.
The Commission stated:
Education is a form of action on the part of some
particular group; it is not a species of contemplation
removed from social life and relationships. The making
of choices cannot be evaded, for inaction in education
is a form of action.
Education always expresses some social philosophy,
either large or small, involves some choices with
respect to social and individual action and well-being,
and rests upon -some moral conception.
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 genJ " ' the movement of ideas and interests in
John A. Hockett of the University of California spoke
out against teachers playing the role of innocent bystanders
whenever controversial issues arise.
The present troubled times present an unusual
opportunity to social-studies teachers. It is no time
for complacency. It is no time to live in a house by
the side of the road, playing the role of innocent
bystander. It is no time to leave "the responsibility
. . . to other well-tried (?) a g e n c i e s . ”42
40 Jesse H. Newlon, "Teachers and Politics— 1940,”
Erontiers of Democracy, 7 :22, October 15, 1940*
American Historical Association, op. cit., p. 30.
The oft asserted idea that free enterprise is an
essential part of American democracy was accepted by a
majority of the teachers interviewed, but is strongly denied
by frontier thinkers of education.
They feel, on the con­
trary, that free private enterprise is an obstacle to
democracy; that free enterprise prevents the attainment of
real democracy by a majority of the people in America.
statement made by the Progressive Education Association
could be considered quite representative of liberal educators.
In the highly integrated social order of the
twentieth century individual men cannot own and
operate the means of production as they did at the
time of the founding of the nation. As a consequence,
the fulfillment of the old ideal requires a reversal
of loyalties at certain points. Today the individual
can be guaranteed freedom for cultural and spiritual
growth only by the abandonment of economic individual­
ism. Liberty of person is no longer to be attained
through freeing business enterprise from restraints
but rather through deliberate organization in the
name of material security for all.43
The statement even suggested the abandonment of free
private enterprise.
Men starve today in the presence of plenty. If men
must suffer, they should do so with heroism; if they
need not, they should revolt. In the present age they
should accept no apologies for a social system that
fails to make full use, for the benefit of all, of the
productive resources of the nation. Such a spirit
should be bred in them from earliest infancy.44
Committee on Social and Economic Problems, A Call
to the Teachers of the Nation (Progressive Education AssociatTorTJT----------- ---------^
Loc. cit.
The Commission of the Social Studies of the American
Historical Association did not include free enterprise in
its ideal democratic society.
The emerging economy will involve the placing of
restraints on individual enterprise, propensities, and
acquisitive egoism in agriculture, industry, and labor
and generally on the conception, ownership, management,
and use of property, as the changing policies of govern­
ment already indicate.45
The Commission was against the present teaching of
free enterprise'in schools.
Continued emphasis in education on the traditional
ideas and values of economic individualism and acqui­
sitiveness will intensify the conflicts, contradictions,
maladjustments, and perils of the transition [to the
emerging society].46
According to the answers given in the interviews,
teachers have little definite idea about the direction in
which the social order is moving or should move.
frontier thinkers of education do not anticipate any specific
social order, they are much more definite in their anticipa­
tion than the teachers.
Educational leaders who are progressive, definitely do
not wish the social order to remain the same.
Their criti­
cisms of the present order have been so strong and so fre­
quently made that there can be little doubt of that.
unemployment, disease, crime, and other present day problems
^ American Historical Association, op. cit., p. 34*
Ibid.. p. 35.
they feel are not the necessary lot of man, but problems
arising from the existing social and economic order.
educational leaders do not say communism, socialism, Fascism, ■
or any other specific system is coming about or should come
about, but they do feel that some type of planned social
order is necessary*
They want the machine age controlled in
the interests of the people.
They want an extension of
The Commission on the Social Studies of the
American Historical Association composed of leading educa­
tional thinkers in the social studies field, in 1934,
Cumulative evidence supports the conclusion that, in
the United States as in other countries, the age of
individualism and laissez faire in economy and govern­
ment is closing and that a new age of collectivism is
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 enlarge­
ment 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.47
The majority of the social studies teachers inter­
viewed and leading thinkers in education agree that the
charges made against the Rugg books are false.
They did not
believe the Rugg series of textbooks contained subversive or
unpatriotic material.
They did not believe the textbooks
anticipated a social order which was contrary to American
They did not believe the books gave the children
un-American ideals and attitudes.
Teachers and educational
leaders both doubted the sincerity of the textbook critics.
However, they disagreed on the retention of the Rugg texts
in the schools.
Both teachers and educational leaders
believed educators should cambat groups which seek to dictate
educational policies.
There was a disagreement between the social studies
teachers interviewed and frontier thinkers in education in
educational philosophy.
The teachers were against leading
America to a new social order, and adverse criticism of
present social and economic institutions.
of education were for these.
Ifrid., p. 16.
Frontier thinkers
The teachers were for neutrality
in the discussion of controversial issues.
were against it.
Frontier thinkers
The majority of teachers believed free
private enterprise was an essential part of American democracy.
Frontier thinkers of education believed the opposite.
Progressive thinkers in education anticipated a planned
integrated society based on democracy.
The majority of
teachers anticipated no definite social change.
The results of* this study1s investigation of teachers*
opinions should prove very gratifying to the American Legion,
the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National
Association of Manufacturers, and other groups who have been
attacking teachers and textbooks.
Contrary to their charges,
the social studies teachers neither want to build a new
social order through the schools, nor adversely criticize
the present one.
They believe in strict neutrality in the
They believe capitalism is an essential part of
They do not anticipate a communistic or social­
istic or any other unacceptable social order.
They are not
dangerous radicals seeking to destroy the present social and
economic order.
no fear.
The textbook and teacher attackers need have
Although the teachers dispute their charges against
the Rugg textbooks, they believe in taking them out of the
Of course there was a "vicious minority" who dis­
agreed with these answers.
Such results, although gratifying to the textbook
attacking groups, should have the opposite effect on frontier
thinkers of education, those who conceive of education as
the force for social regeneration, and teacher freedom as
the basic essential for the accomplishment of such a purpose.
The attack on the Rugg texts is a serious attack on freedom
in education.
Teachers are unwilling to make a stand against
these attacks, but more important, teachers are not capable
of making a stand.
If education is conceived as mere training of citizens
desirous and capable of maintaining the status quo and taking
their predestined places in a static world, then freedom for
education is unimportant and the attacks on the Rugg texts
are of no concern to educators.
But if the purpose of educa­
tion is thought of as the preparation of the younger genera­
tion, capable of helping mold a new and better society,
wisely and intelligently, and capable of living successfully
in a rapidly changing world, then freedom in education is
important and the attacks on the Rugg texts are of vital
concern to educators.
What can teachers do to fight forces which are seeking
to destroy their 'freedom?
How can they gain greater free­
Teachers must become aware of the importance of
freedom to education.
First of all, teachers must become aware of the im­
portance of freedom to education.
for it.
They must feel the need
All attempts to gain greater freedom will be vain
attempts until teachers feel the importance of freedom.
new conception of education will have to be gained by many
Greater teacher freedom is certainly not needed
in the type of teaching that many teachers do.
Merely pass­
ing on to the younger generation a list of societies,
stereotyped beliefs, attitudes, and ways of doing, certainly
requires no freedom.
Teachers who teach thus will find no
lack of freedom or will feel the need for greater freedom.
Too many teachers have such a view of education.
2 . Professionalization of teaching.
Perhaps the need of teachers at the present time is
the professionalization of teaching.
Greater freedom can
not be gained or present freedom cannot be protected until
teachers are welded into a truly professional group.
public does not regard teaching as a profession.
often speak of the teaching profession, but their actions
often prove that they really do not think of it as such.
Teachers must develop a professional spirit.
must include a standard of teaching ethics, a sense of
responsibility not only for the conduct of the schools but
also for the general social good, and an ideal of freedom
for teachers from interference by groups outside the pro­
Standards of quality must be set up by the teachers.
A study of educational problems must be made so that a sound
philosophy of education can be acquired.
A social conscience
and concern for the public good, an awareness of responsi­
bilities as well as rights must be cultivated.
These rights
must be protected by the full force of the profession.
Teachers will have to demand of members that they fulfill
their obligations to the profession.
Teachers must have control of all matters that concern
them as teachers in the profession.
in the dismissal of teachers.
They must have a voice
Administrative officers and
school boards must cease to have complete control.
Organization of teachers is essential if profession­
alization is attained.
But most of the present organizations
are of little value in attaining this objective.
Most of
the present national, state, and local teacher organizations
are controlled by nonclassroom teachers.
Many of the present
teacher organizations are dominated by people little inter­
ested in freedom.
Conservative leaders formulate the think­
ing for most teacher organizations.
A real teachers organization must bar principals and
superintendents from membership if their control is to be
They must be barred even in local teacher organi­
Officers must be progressive, fearless, and
socially-minded leaders.
Most of the present organizations
must be reformed if they are to be used.
ineffective, they should be buried.
If such reform is
These organizations
have seldom given teachers vigorous leadership.
seldom stood up for freedom.
They have
Even the present attacks on
education through the Rugg books have failed to stir them
to a real aggressive defense.
They have talked, hut the Rugg
textbooks are being discarded by more and more schools every
The National Education Association still sponsors a
national education week with the American Legion which was one
of the most "sinful” groups in the textbook attacks.
Perhaps teachers1 unions such as the American Federa­
tion of Teachers are the best means of organization.
Records show that the union type of organizations have shown
greater liberal outlook, courage, and aggressiveness than
other educational organizations.
There is the danger that
such organizations would interest themselves solely in larger
teacher salaries and nothing else.
3* Education of the public.
Teachers will not have freedom until the public is
educated to approve of it.
difficult thing.
This education of the public is a
Thus far attempts to educate the public to
approval of teacher freedom have been of too little avail.
The indifference of the majority of the public to the present
attacks on teachers and textbooks is evidence of the ineffec­
tiveness of past efforts.
Some school systems have had good
results in educating the public.
One of the first steps is changing the public1s mind
from the conception of teaching as mere giving of definite
The old "hired-man” conception of teachers must
be broken down.
If the public could understand that the
teachers are trying to teach the pupils to think, much
greater freedom could be attained.
The public must be made
to realize that teachers are not monitors whose main purpose
is to make children memorize.
The public must ■be made to
realize the importance of freedom of expression to democracy
as well as to education.
A measure which has been used with great success in
educating the public to approval of teacher freedom is the
adult forum.
An adult forum where controversial subjects are
discussed on both sides by experts will greatly aid in chang­
ing the public attitudes toward controversial questions,
unpopular opinions, and toward free discussion.
The American
public despite the constitutional provisions of freedom of
speech and press has seldom shown any inclination toward
accepting free discussion of unpopular beliefs.
have suffered from this attitude.
realize that truth makes error
Their schools
If the public could
harmless if left free tocom­
bat it, freer discussion would result.
In cities where adult forums have been sponsored by
the schools, greater freedom for the teacher in the classroom
has resulted.
Educators must see too,
in disputes between the
schools and public groups, that their side
is heard bythe
The textbook controversy is an example of their
failure to do so.
The public was treated to a barrage of
denunciatory statements against the Rugg textbooks.
regarded the charges with skepticism.
But when no denials
of the charges were forthcoming from educators, the public
accepted the charges as truth and joined in the attack.
public cannot be educated to the approval of greater freedom
for the teachers by a policy of "keep quiet, let the whole
thing blow over."
Education’s side must come before the
4* Better teacher training.
T’reedom is unnecessary and impossible to attain until
teachers are aroused to think and formulate a social philosophy.
The present teacher training for teachers so often does not
stimulate an interest in social and economic problems.
emphasis is on methodology rather than subject matter.
teacher training institutions have tended to overload their
curricula with courses in the mechanics of instruction and
administration, have directed their attention too largely to
the refinement and superrefinement of techniques, and have
failed to coordinate training in teaching procedure with
scholarship in subject matter.
Being so concerned in the
mechanics of teaching, they have tended to go along with
accepted social conceptions and purposes inherited from the
The results of the interviews in this investigation
bear this view out.
The teachers are well trained in the
newest mechanics of instruction, but are full of old social
Better training in subject matter would aid teachers
in defense of their freedom.
A teacher who teaches her
pupils about the influence of wealthy landowners in the
making of the Constitution, as it is covered in Rugg texts,
and has had no thorough education in the period of the
Constitution, would be unable to defend himself before op­
position of patriotic groups.
A teacher without adequate
training in subject matter will usually decide to stick to
the straight and narrow path.
An untrained teacher, too, is a danger to the school
when the schools are under attack.
The untrained teacher
will more than likely have the same attitudes of the unin­
formed groups attacking the schools.
Teachers cannot help to build a new social order until
they have better training.
If the public is to grant teachers
freedom to help build a new social order, it will want the
assurance that the teachers have had a respectable standard
of training.
Parents of children would rather go on with the
present restrictions on teacher freedom than trust their
children to a poorly trained teacher.
teacher suffers.
The well-trained
The public is not going to grant teachers
the freedom which is necessary to carry out the objectives
of education until teachers convince the public they are
well trained.
Part of the responsibility for teachers who are
poorly trained in the subject they are.teaching should be
laid to the principals who misplace their teachers.
teachers are teaching social studies, physical education
majors are teaching social studies.
In many schools the
social studies teacher is just one chapter ahead of the class
in knowledge.
Until principals and superintendents in
selecting their teachers cease to select teachers because
they look like teachers and then look around for something
easy to teach (social studies classes are excellent for this
purpose), the quality of teachers cannot be improved.
The teaching profession cannot, however, wait until a
new generation of better trained teachers comes into the
schools to gain its freedom.
Teachers must be persuaded to
prepare themselves by in-service training.
Teachers who do
not care to gain competence should be weeded out.
To summarize: a sound social and educational philosophy,
training in subject matter, acquaintance with social and
economic problems, and a thorough knowledge of history will
tend to give the teacher the courage necessary to become
really free.
5* Teachers must gain a progressive philosophy of
So much poor teaching has been done in the name of
progressive education that the very words bring shudders to
competent teachers.
Despite its many defects, the principles
of progressive education are sound principles for education.
The very essence of progressive education is freedom and self­
development for the child.
who do not have freedom.
These cannot be created by teachers
The very adoption of the principles
of progressive education will help to create a desire on
the part of the teacher for greater freedom.
Progressive education views education as a constructive
force for the betterment of society.
necessitates freedom.
Such a philosophy
Teachers merely seeking to perpetuate
the present social and economic order without change, do not
need freedom, but teachers with a progressive philosophy of
education will not be able to live without freedom.
The progressive education movement believes that
teachers must play a positive and creative role in building
a better social order.
Progressive education believes in
formulating a fundamental program of thought and action that
will deal honestly and intelligently with the problems facing
Under such a program teachers will have to throw
off the domination of economic and political reactionary
Freedom is vital for the accomplishment of the ideals
of the progressive education movement.
Teachers1 freedom will increase with their adoption
of the principles of progressive education.
6 . Other methods.
There are other methods which could be used for accom­
plishing the objective of teacher freedom.
salaries are undoubtedly important.
for freedom.
Tenure and larger
Security is necessary
The other means suggested, however, are far
more important.
Tenure and a larger salary does not make a
teacher any more conscious of the importance of freedom in
education itself.
The attack on the Rugg texts is an attack on
For without freedom in education the great
purposes of education are impossible to achieve.
This study
has shown that, while the Rugg texts should be defended,
teachers are not capable now of defending them.
If teachers are to be able to protect their freedom
of teaching and gain greater freedom, certain changes in
teaching must come about.
into a real profession.
philosophy of education.
Teachers must organize themselves
Teachers should acquire a progressive
Better teacher training and in-
service training, with special stress on courses in social
subjects, must be provided.
Teachers must become aware of
the importance of freedom to education.
The public must be
educated to approve freedom in teaching.
These objectives cannot wait.
danger today.
Education is in great
The first skirmishes with forces seeking to
destroy education in America have been lost.
changes must come about in the teaching profession if success
is to be gained in the future.
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