JANUARY 16, 1940
NEW YORK, Monday—What an odd thing it is to find, according to the newspapers, that a group of people who say they belong to : "The Christian Front," whatever that organization may be, were planning to overthrow our government by force, the elimination of the Jews and the installing of a dictator! A "Christian Front" might reasonably be supposed to indicate that the members are followers of Christ, and he was a Jew. He never used force to overthrow evil. How strangely muddled in their thinking people of this kind must be, or else how easily they must be led by people who can make them think whatever they desire.
Yesterday was drizzly and damp in the country. We had a good walk in the morning, I managed to pay all of my bills, to read the Sunday papers and a number of magazines which I have wanted to read some time and which in Washington I have never been free to sit down and enjoy.
The Ladies' Home Journal is beginning what promises to be a very interesting series of articles. In different parts of the country it is picking out typical families and trying to introduce them to its readers, so that everyone will really know how these families live and what they do with their lives. This particular family of four is in the Middle West in a small town and in the income group below $2,000 a year. I hope that a variety of income levels will be covered, as well as different localities, different types of educational background and various occupations. If this is done, I think this series might prove of great value in introducing us to people throughout the nation, and making us really feel that we know our neighbors.
Another article in the Atlantic, written by Dean Holmes of Harvard University, on the problems of our public school education was extremely interesting to me. He evidently believes in equality of opportunity for all of our children brought about through state and federal aid to localities. He sees this equality of opportunity, however, not as resulting in a cut and dried curriculum through which every child must pass, but as a school system which will provide for every child at every level the best the child is able to assimilate.
This entails giving greater guidance at all times and recognizing the fact that each individual must develop himself or herself in accordance with their gifts. This, of course, emphasizes again the changed conception of what a teacher really should be able to do, and will require a recognition on our part of the value of the teacher. I have often thought that in our concentration on buildings we have almost lost the conception which we once held that a good teacher with poor tools was better than the best of tools without a good teacher.
It cleared today and we had a beautiful drive down the Hudson River. We left Hyde Park about 8:00 and I am glad to have a pleasant day in New York City, for I have a number of appointments which I shall tell you about tomorrow.