The 1970s Education: Headline Makers
The 1970s Education: Headline MakersAllan Bakke
Benjamin S. Bloom
Charles E. Silberman
Allan Bakke (1940–) In 1972, Allan Bakke applied for admission to eleven medical schools in the country, including the University of California, Davis, his first choice. All eleven schools rejected Bakke, despite his high entrance exam scores. Because his scores were better than some minority applicants who gained admission to the University of California, Bakke sued the university for discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that while the school could act to diversify its student body, it could not set aside a specific number of places for minorities. Admitted that fall, Bakke graduated in 1982.
Benjamin S. Bloom (1913–) Education professor Benjamin S. Bloom aimed to remake education into a more scientific activity. His organized approach to teaching was welcomed by those in education opposed to the open or free concept of learning popular during the 1970s. In Handbook on Formative and Summative Evaluation of Student Learning, published in 1971, Bloom outlined how educational objectives should be formulated and tested in all subject areas. When steadily falling student test scores became a hallmark of the decade, Bloom's orderly approach to teaching was quickly adopted by many as a possible cure.
Jonathan Kozol (1936–) Jonathan Kozol used his experiences as a teacher to become an outspoken education critic. His prominence in the world of educational criticism had begun in 1967, when he published Death at an Early Age. This day-to-day account of life for teachers and students in a ghetto school received a National Book Award. Throughout the 1970s, he published many other books about ghetto schools, illiteracy, and the effects of a segregated education on children. These highly influential books were studied by the general public as well as by professional educators.
Charles E. Silberman (1925–) In 1970, journalist Charles E. Silberman published Crisis in the Classroom, a critique of U.S. education that seized the attention of almost everyone in the country. Among his recommendations to overhaul education, Silberman thought American elementary schools should be modeled on English ones, where the activities of the students were determined, to a great extent, by their interests and needs, not those of the teacher. His work set the stage for many public debates about educational improvement. Reformers cited his criticisms and recommendations throughout the decade.