APRIL 20, 1949
NEW YORK, Tuesday—In reading the various tributes to the new Republic of Eire I could not help thinking back over the years of bitterness and bloodshed that are past. How useless it all seems, now that this transition has been made. And as far as one can see, it will make very little difference in Ireland's future situation in the world.
The Irish people have traits that have made them beloved in many places where they have settled. They integrate themselves well in any country to which they go. Nevertheless, they always keep a deep and abiding affection for the Irish countryside and you will find them returning and taking their children back to be introduced to the land their ancestors left at an early age.
The new republic should have a successful, independent government and it will have the good wishes from every corner of the world.
Have you seen a letter that allegedly has been sent to a large group of mayors throughout the country by the National Council for American Education?
I am interested in it because it touches on a problem which anyone interested in youth must examine carefully, namely, the question of school textbooks and the type of teaching given in our schools.
The letter is not concerned especially about good or poor teaching, but it suggests to the mayors that they appoint a little un-American affairs committee of their own to look into the books used in schools and the manner of teaching. Also, it claims that "most of the organizations of teachers are completely controlled by radical propagandists."
This quote is from a pamphlet which they apparently enclose with the letter called: "How Red Are the Schools?"
I should like to see the list of people backing the National Council for American Education. I have an idea we would find among them a considerable number of good and gullible people, and a considerable number tarred with the brush of some ism.
I cannot help believing that the vast majority of our teachers belongs among the group of our best citizens and are teaching today as they always have—the best American teachings. If we single out any one group of people and hold them up to scorn and suspicion, that attitude will take hold and, instead of respect, the teachers suddenly will find that if they advocate any slight deviation in thinking from the tried and accepted pattern of past teaching they will be under suspicion. A situation such as that could be most demoralizing. The distinguishing feature of democracy is its ability to adjust and to meet new circumstances with new and unfettered thinking.
Our teachers are training the minds of our young people. We want them to be taught to think for themselves, but not to be poured into a rigid mold that will prevent the penetration of any new ideas.