James B. Conant, President Emeritus of Harvard University said Tuesday night that an intensified language program, rather than increased scientific training, is the major need of American secondary schools. Conant saw no need for a stepped up program of science education at the high school level.
Speaking to the New Jersey School Superintendents Association, Conant suggested four years of one foreign language, with a possible three years of a second for talented high school students. The increased language requirement would replace 12th grade mathematics and science.
He also recommended a total of four years of math and three of science, plus a compulsory four years of English and three of social studies.
More Girls in Sciences
Under Conant's program, academically able students would not neglect math and science, however. Talented girls especially should be encouraged to enter science and mathematics courses, Conant urged. "I am convinced that we are losing many potential science teachers because of the reluctance of bright girls to study science and mathematics," he stated.
Conant, former high commissioner to West Germany, has been studying secondary education in American schools for the past two years, under a Carnegie grant. He is expected to publish a full report on his findings late in the year.
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