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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 2, 1969)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1969
Vol. 93, No. 10
by Mike Barrett
Nebraskan Staff Writer
Editor's note: This is the first in
a series of three stories about the
University's Trl-University Program.
America honors many great men.
Unfortunately, America tends to ig
nore their great ideas.
Presidents Thomas Jefferson,
George Washington, and most
presidents since them, have spoken
of "an informed and enlightened
citizenry," as vital to the life and
growth of a democracy.
The late Senator Robert F. Kennedy
and President Richard M. Nixon tried
to explain the "tragic disillusion
ment." of American youth. Dr. S. I.
Hayakawa, Dr. Merk Hobson and
anyone's school principal can talk of
''fostering a spirit of experiment and
discovery" through education.
Yet most American children are
schooled for years with misinforma
tion. They are kept unenlightened.
How can a whole generation become
"disillusioned" unless fed illusions
throughout their lives. And in many
cases, the educational system stifles,
kills or both much of the excitement
of discovery and exploration. "
That this situation will not continue
Is the business of the Tri-University
Project in Elementary Education.
More specifically, the project at
tempts to "come to a picture of op
timum real situations in which
children might learn and, on the basis
of these, to come to a picture of how
teachers might be schooled," wrote
Nebraska Director Paul A. Olson in
the Project's first National Conference
report, of September, 1967.
In that year the project was, ac
cording to Olson, "conceived in the
belief that the schooling of teachers
is the major job of a large portion
(if the colleges and universities of the
country. They have not always done
the job well. They cannot continue
to do it badly."
Under U.S. Office of Education
auspices, Washington University, New
York University and Nebraska
University are conducting programs
in the training of elementary teachers
in social science, behavioral science
and English. But Nebraska's pro
grams not only deal with English,
must file by Friday
The deadline for applications for
members of the Council on Student
Life is Friday, Oct. 3, with interviews
scheduled for October 4 and 5, ac
cording to Diane Theisen, ASUN first
"We wish more time was available,
but it's very important that we pro
ceed with selecting members of the
CSL as soon as possible," Miss
ASUN has been working for several
years to implement students' rights
in the area of student living, social
and extra-classroom activities, she
continued. The opportunity to
participate in the policy-making has
been achieved in the formation of the
The Council will consist of 15 voting
members. One member of the Under
graduate Deans' Council will serve
(is chairman; the Executive Dean of
Student Affairs will be secretary; two
professional staff members of the
Student Affairs Office: the president
of ASUN: seven students to be
selected by ASUN with no more than
two to be chosen from any college
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ASUN Senator Randy Prier discusses his motion to create a senate committee for the investigation
student legal rights. tSee story on Tage 4.)
but with the entire learning environ
ment, process and curriculum.
What are the conditions that have
led to such great demand for new
methods of instructing teachers, new
methods of teaching, and, in fact, a
demand for a "new" teacher
The first of these problems is the
result of a gap between theory and
practice. Olson says, "one of the more
curious inconsistencies of the last 30
years of teaching education in this
country has been between the persis
tent . . . effort to remind elementary
teachers that individual students are
very different from one another and
require curricula adjusted to their
'needs,' and the widespread failure
to apply the same principle to the
education of the teachers
Colleges and certification agencies
often act as though they must
determine an ideal teacher training
program, assuming that there are ef
fective college courses and teachers,
and ideal schools to which ideal
teachers might go, containing
perfectly intellectual children and a
coherent curricula, he added.
Students are individuals
As most educators will admit,
students come from a multiplicity of
backgrounds and communities, often
with totally individual assets, pro
blems and special needs. Yet both
curricula and teachers, on a na
tionwide basis, are designed for the
abstract "ideal," an ideal program,
usually unsuited to the less than ideal
"qualifications" and needs of minority
or deprived children.
Olson suggests that training pro
grams should "allow for the springing
up of schools as local and as different
as are the enclaves from which
"Should we not encourage the crea
tion of a series of different kinds of
elementary schools where teachers-to-be
may try their wings?" he suggests.
Adding, "I would suspect that one
way to operate would be to admit
teachers in training, at the beginnings
of their careers, to a variety of kinds
of classrooms where they could act
as observers, paraprofessionals or
or living unit; and three faculty to
be nominated by the University
Senate Committee on Committees and
appointed by the president.
"The CSL will have general policy
making power over all student social
and out-of-class activities, subject to
approval by the Board of Regents,"
Some of the other responsibilities
of the CSL are:
to assume the current
responsibilities of the Senate Com
mittee on Student Affairs and its sub
committees; to make judgments concerning the
equitable participation of students bx
the decision-making processes of the
to develop concepts, initiate action
and make appropriate recommenda
tions. Time is short
"We're sorry that time is so short,"
Miss Theisen said, "But we're urging
anyone interested to apply flllout an
application and interview time."
Interested students should go to the
ASUN office, Km. 335. Nebraska Uni
on, as soon as possible or telephone
in human relations,
A more specific problef in the area
of limited teachers and teaching
methods is dealing with various
minority, group studies, Olson added.
The United States is violently
shaken with riots. Cities have been
burnt and will burn, to the ground.
Every politician has called for un
derstanding, cooperation and con
ciliation. And yet S. I. Hayakawa can receive
standing ovations for pointing out in
his speeches that he opposes increased
black student admission because he
"wants those students who worked
very hard and got good grades."
Dr. Arthur Pearl of the University
of Oregon said in a speech before
the Fifth National Tri-University con
ference, "That is an out-and-out racist
statement . . . The second you set
up admission standards that are based
on crude race, class and ethnic bases,
all you're doing is perpetuating the
worst aspects of. our society?
"And you make it impossible for
free intellectual discussion to occur.
When will it be possible for you to
confront an Eldridge Cleaver and help
him with his critical thinking, if you
him with his critical thinking, if you
deny him access to your institution?
And that happens in every single
elementary school as well as ever'
Fear to confront
He summarized this problem of
education by charging that, "The
reason we're in trouble in elementary
school and everywhere else is tha'
we are afraid to confront each other.'
Another dimension of this problen
is the limited variety of ethnic ex
perience of the teacher. Gene Hardy,
University project coordinator,
blasted the type of teacher who wil'
"run into the 'lower class' school
'teach' and run out before dark." Hi
added, "We don't want the teache
who will make a kid feel like a 'nir
ger' from day one."
Olson said, "The new trainers an
elementary teachers given t h i
troubles of our big cities, the area'
of rural 'backwardness' and so forth,
have to keep an eye on the stree
and the school if they are to trair
teachers who do not alienate thei
"They will have to learn to tall
to kids who know the street and thf
ghetto at its most difficult. They will
have to know how and what the "home
teaches, and how it can mesh with
or fail to mesh with, what school"
Text book Inadequacy
Not only are teachers often inadc
quate to deal with minority culture?
curricula and textbooks are frighter
Las spring Dr. Jules Henry, c
Washington University contended thr.
most schools teach "legitimate socia
stupidity." He points out several ex
amples. Basic Social Studies has six
pages dealing with cotton in the U.S.,
three are cartoons and pictures of
a white boy who lives on a "cotton
Chancellor-less9 University . . .
By John Dvorak
Nebruskan Staff Writer
The University should not have a
chancellor, according to Dr. Bert M.
Evans, assistant professor of
"The university is ruled by an
autocratic system, with the position
farm" giving a report on cotton to
a class of white students who also
live on "cotton farms." No blacks
are pictured or mentioned.
Johnson and Craven in their
"American History," 1961 edition,
discuss the rapid solution to Negro
problems in this country, and to prove
it, on page 641 there is a picture
of Jackie Robinson playing baseball.
In the 1965 high school text, a more
honest account of the Negro is given,
yet the old 1961 'information' is
reprinted, unchanged (even with the
picture of Jackie Robinson)
"Your Life as a Citizen" contains
no black pictures, and only mentions
that Negroes have equal protection
under the law.
"Our United States, A Bulwark of
Freedom," contains nothing on the
contemporary Negro. "Basic Social
Studies 5," 1964, carries the student
through the presidency of John F.
Kennedy, but the latest reference to
the Negro is the Civil War.
As Olson points out, "Our 'history
is the history of the several million
CJ pi 4.
of chancellor at the top, followed by
the positions of deans, directors and
department chairmen," Evans
Too often, decisions by ad
ministrators are made not with the
welfare of the University In mind,
but with an eye to pleasing the next
highest administrator on tlw
autocratic ladder, Blvaus suid.
There Ls no democratic rcpttsetita
ion in university government, he
-ontinued. In fact, the university
lidn't profit at all from the American
-evolution: it still resembles a
medieval feudal system.
One of the main defects of universi
y government is the lack of rules
and by-laws, according to Evans, who
received a Ph.D. from Harvard in
"A rural Nebraska county of 10.000
'.o 13,1X10 people often has enough
statutes to fill a room," Evans said.
"The University's rules are in a book
)iie half inch thick."
Perhaps the greatest problem,
'lowever. Is that the average professor
doesn't care about university govern
ment. Most professors are interested in
heir subject matter and research, not
in governing the school, he said. They
remain apathetic as long as the
autocratic government doesn't pinch
If the autocratic decisions o f
university administrators does bother
the professor, he generally moves ti
"Actually the student fesls more a
part of the university community than
the professor," Evans continued. "The
student has selected the university for
four years of study. The profassor
could be just as happy at Wisconsin
or Michigan, and if he is unh.ippy
here, he thinks nothing of moving."
Evans' o lifelong resident of
American Indians, the history of the
twenty million and more American
Negroes, the civilizations and pasts
of the Asian peoples among our
citizens, and the history of the
magnificent southern American-Spanish-Indian
"Our commitment to understand,
know and support non-English speak
ing peoples is going to require further
that our teachers know the histories
and the cultural achievements of the
regions which ought to "belong" to
all of us in imagination and sym
pathy." Dr. Alton Becker of Michigan adds
that the idea that "culture starta
in Greece and Rome, moves to
Europe, England and then to us is
one of the most harmful things we
perpetuate in our schools, perhaps
"the source of most of our present
troubles in Asia." Becker is engaged
in the teaching of Asian literature
and linguistic rhetoric.
Pearl says that not only have
schools, from elementary on up,
neglected the most important issue
facing our country, human relations,
but have actually done much harm.
Dr. Bert Evans believes that the University should not
Nebraska, has a solution. He has
discussed It with only a few people,
and he admits It is unprecedented.
"We should have a duly elected
commission, committee or whatever
you want to call it, of about 15 staff
members and 13 students," Evans
The number is arbitrary and could
be 12 and 12 or 20 and 20. Most im
portantly, they would be elected an
nually and by members of the
University community who would all
have equal voting rights.
"The first duty of this super-committee
would be to sit down and ham
mer out an explicit set of bylaws."
he said. "Then the bylaws could be
negotiated with the Board o f
Evans would not alter the Board
of Regents. They are tho
democratically elected body
representing people outside th e
University while the super-committee
would be the democratically elected
body representing people inside th'
The super-committee, after arriving
at the by-laws and rules, would hire
an administrator, much as
municipalities do now under the city
manager form, of government.
This administrator or manager, and
his subordinates, would rule th
University according to the rules and
by-laws, not according to their
personalities or whims.
The present system fosters a
number of undesirable things, Evans
said. There is a tendency to trampie
upon student and staff rights and
disregard the interests of the group
as a whole.
"The current system promotes lad
der climbing b y administrators
because it's important, to agree and
conform with what people just above
you want," he said.
'"Not only do we deny students an
opportunity to express themselves, but
we also saddle them with lies," he
says. "We spend a lot of time lying
to kids about their history, distorting
it to a point where they're absolutely
"We have taught all our kids to
be racists. We have lied to them right
along. We have minimized the fact
that this nation practiced slavery. We
minimized the fact that this was a
nation that practiced genocide and
wiped out whole Indian nations. We
have practiced wars of aggression.
All of this is kept from the American
All of these, the avoidance of any
serious confrontation, the teachers'
ignorance of the street and of non-middle-class
affairs and the biases
and the evasions of textbooks and
curricula have combined to rob
minority students of their history and
pride, according to Jules Henry.
And, as Dick Gregory has said, "A
man without a knowledge of himself
and his history is like a tree with
Next: More schooling, less learning.
23 24 25
26 27 -
have a chancellor.
As the governmental structure is
formed now, the ultimate power rests
with the chancellor, Evans said. The
faculty and students have no right .
no representation no power and no
The only thing that saves the
University at all is that the ad
ministration is by nature not
autocratic, Evans said. For the most
part, those in power are not dictators;
they are generally interested in the
welfare of the University.
"It's not necessarily the man who
is autocratic," he emphasized. "It's
the position of chancellor or dean or
department chairman that's
autocratic." He termed the autocracy
at NU as mild and benevolent.
Everything that Is wrong with
University government now wan
wrong 50 years ago, Evans said. But
now, the University has greatly in
creased its importance.
The information gap is rapidly
widening, he said. It's the
responsibility of the University to help
close that gap.
The importance of classroom in
struction is actually going down, he
continued. The greatest need is adult
understanding and this must be
generated out of the university.
"The university has really become
the center of American life," he said.
"No longer is it simply an assembly
of fraternity men and sorority girls.
There are a lot more people gouqr
to school now for a lot of different
Despite the increasing importance
of the university, the institution is
still not utilizing its vast resources
in making decisions.
"The super-committee idea would
really work," Evans insisted. "The
group would utilize the talents of a
wide range of staff members and
students, something that isn't done
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