The Graduate School of Education has received a $2.4 million federal grant to study the effects of different ethnic, cultural, psychological and social backgrounds on learning at the elementary and secondary school level. The five-year project will be conducted jointly by the School of Education and a dozen New England educational agencies and public school systems.
The Center will attempt to correct alleged insensitivity in schools to environmental differences and "develop means by which schools can be more responsive to social and cultural differences and actually use them for the increased benefits they serve," said Theodore Sizer '39, Dean of the School of Education.
Interns in Boston
In another recent move, the Graduate School of Education assigned four of its "interns" to public schools in Boston. Formerly, the interns, second year education students who teach a high school or elementary class for a semester had been assigned only to the heavily-endowed and innovative schools in suburban communities. Paul Perry said that Boston was included this year because "we felt that our students should have more urban exposure."
In the new Center local school systems will work as partners with the Graduate School of Education. They will provide the students and buildings and contributo funds to the Center. Local school boards may also suggest experiments and studies as well as veto proposals by the School of Education.
So far the Concord, Lexington, Newton and Boston public school systems have voted to participate in the program. The Cambridge school board is still debating the matter.
A policy board consisting of educational TV station WGBH-TV, the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Harvard-M.I.T. Joint Center for Urban Studies, the New England Education Data Systems, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the New England School Development Council and Educational Services, Incorporated, a curriculum development group, will also help plan activities for the Center.
No definite program has been prepared by the Center. Graduate School of Education officials guess that the type of experimentation and testing will vary with the differences in social and cultural composition of the students involved in the experiments.
Tentative plans include extensive psychological testing, and experimentation with new curricula and teaching methods. A "Team teaching," where a single class is instructed and supervised by a group of teachers, will probably be tried.