JUNE 25, 1952
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I am interested to hear that the Girl Scouts are to have a foreign language camp this summer outside of Washington, D.C., which is to be run in cooperation with the Department of Linguistics of Indiana University.
New methods of teaching a foreign language will be tested at the camp. While only French will be taught this summer, the techniques of instruction can be applied to other languages as well. The results are expected to indicate "the degree of fluency that high school girls can achieve through the brief, intensive group instruction in a language for which they have no special background."
This is part of the international friendship program which the Girl Scouts have carried on over a long period. If it should work out well, it might mean that other camps will do something of the kind in the future.
The State Department and the Ford Foundation are both interested in this experiment which Indiana University professors will watch and evaluate. There will be French-speaking people available, so that the girls can constantly practice what they learn, and I think the whole idea will prove a very valuable new departure in Girl Scout training.
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To anyone who has lived in New York City for a long time it is not extraordinary to be told that the city's slums are the worst in the world.
I am glad that civic groups have been aroused by the fact that so many houses are found to be firetraps. It may be that out of the estimated 240,000 housing violations, Bernard J. Gillroy, Commissioner of Housing and Buildings, is right in stating that "there is certainly nothing serious in most of the violations."
This attitude, however, of making light of small violations and saying that you "cannot put the people out on the street because of these violations" is not the real answer to the situation. Living quarters are hard to find and people should not be evicted unnecessarily.
The landlord can be made to remedy these minor violations, however, and the sooner he does so, the less likelihood there is of more important violations developing. Certainly, there could be not only an intensive inspection with court orders and reinspection, but there could be information furnished to tenants that would make them aware of how they could help the city government to get more enforcement by reporting when violations are not corrected.
The story Mr. Charles Abrams tells of the unsuccessful efforts to control the rats is a shocking one and quite inexcusable, since there are ways of dealing with rodents. The fact that the Negro and Puerto Rican areas of the city are the ones reported to be seriously infested with rats makes one wonder whether the administration of the city does not recognize the dangers, particularly in these areas where overcrowding is so great.
It is possible for a city like New York to prevent such situations, and I hope that civic groups now alerted to conditions will keep right on working to get them corrected.