From our archives, 100 years ago
The Inland Empire Teachers Association gathered at the Lewis and Clark High School auditorium and received a dose of common sense about educating boys from J.H. Francis, keynote speaker and Los Angeles school superintendent.
“We bring the boys into the schoolroom and just smother them with supervision and then expect them to be normal,” Francis told the teachers. “School uniformity is a mistaken idea. Nature didn’t mean children to be uniform. There is altogether too much neutralization and smothering of personality in schoolrooms today. Children don’t begin to talk or walk at the same age, yet we lockstep them in reading and writing at the same age or else we fail them.” He said his school system tries to do things differently.
“In Los Angeles, we put the bad boys under a teacher who was once a bad boy,” he said. “If they want to go and play ball or go swimming or to the mountains, he goes with them. If they want to work at the benches (at mechanical work), they can work. If they want to read and study, they can study. One day, two of them wanted to stop and have a fight. Nobody stopped them, and when they got it out of their systems they went back to work. The fact is, there aren’t any bad boys. They just need to be given a chance to do what they can do best.” He said 75 percent of the boys would rather work in the shops than play on a playground.