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Educational Values and Community Power
Milton A. Galamison
In a society as twisted and perverse as ours it would be a phenomenon indeed if we were logical and rational in our approach to education. It is not a futile exercise in semantics to contend that the concept of education in its deepest traditional sense has been lost among us. We have concerned ourselves with the shallows of pedagogy. We have thought of education as rote memorization for sterile examinations, a necessary procedure for making money, a kind of compulsory period of academic exposure through which all citizens must pass until the economy is prepared to absorb them. The inevitable result has been the mentality existing among us whereby the qualifications to demand a huge salary are more important than the development of the mind and spirit; whereby pushing and shoving and competing are so justified that the processes of education defeat the very ends for which education is designed. No sane society comprised of different racial, cultural and ethnic groups could conceive of education patterned on apartheid. No society with a fundamental grasp of the essence of education could permit the human waste, the strife and the academic squalor which exist in our school systems across the land.
During the school shutdown in December of 1966 as many as five and six hundred school pupils gathered in my church daily. Some weeks after the boycott had ended I visited a remote storage room adjacent to the gymnasium of my parish house. It has been entered, looted and ransacked. The room was in a shambles. Debris was piled waist high on the floor. Amid the remnants of the pillaged room I found two boxes which had been opened but whose contents
Dr. Milton A. Galamison is a Brooklyn, N.Y. minister, community leader, and recently elected Vice President of the Board of Education of New York City.