Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Erin Griffith
PORTALES—Dr. Alan W. Garrett, professor of education foundations at Eastern New Mexico University, published an article titled "'One of the Most Sensible Utterances That Has Come from Anybody in a Long Time': Jesse H. Newlon's 'The Teaching Profession and the World Crisis'" in the most recent issue of the American Educational History Journal.
The project began a few summers ago when Garrett was given an ENMU grant to conduct research on Newlon at the Penrose Library at the University of Denver.
"I was looking at the broader issue of Newlon's advocacy of addressing contemporary social issues in the classroom, which will be coming out as a chapter in a book this fall, but in his papers I found a file labeled "Controversial Speech" which contained an outline of a speech as well as all the letters he received from others following the speech and his responses to them," Garrett said.
Newlon was part of the progressive education reform movement in the 1920's and 30's. He was a self-professed liberal educator, and was involved with the Social Reconstructionists' movement. Prior to joining the faculty of Teachers College, he was a public school teacher and administrator, making him well-versed in the practice as well as the theory of schooling.
"The speech that Jesse Newlon delivered in 1940 at Teachers College pointed out a number of fallacies that he contended then existed in American society and were perpetuated through schools. He suggested that schools, especially, must defend democracy against fascism and prepare students for the coming war that he had concluded was inevitable," Garrett said.
The speech garnered nationwide attention because many people believed that Newlon was contradicting his previous stance on the role of public schools in a democratic society, although Newlon did not believe that.
The preservation and improvement of America's democratic society were recurring themes throughout Newlon's career. "My sense, and his as well, is that the speech was consistent with his previous thoughts and writings," Garrett said.
Garrett also will have a chapter titled "Jesse H. Newlon and Education for Democratic Citizenship" in the forthcoming book, "Addressing Social Issues in the Classroom and Beyond: The Pedagogical Efforts of Pioneers in the Field" by Samuel Totten and Jon Pedersen of the Universities of Arkansas and Oklahoma, respectively.