Back to Basics: The Movement and Its Meaning

Brodinsky, Ben
May 1977
Education Digest;May1977, Vol. 42 Issue 9, p2
This article focuses on the so-called back-to-basics movement, which is currently being undertaken by some politicians, parents and social activists of the U.S. to improve the country's educational system. Some of the basic changes which are demanded by these back-to-basics advocates are: to put emphasis on reading, writing, and arithmetic in the elementary grades; to devote most of the day to English, science, math, and history, taught from textbooks, in secondary grades; to allow teachers to take a dominant role at all levels; report cards are to carry traditional marks or numerical values, issued at frequent intervals; to ban innovation, or curriculum change; to eliminate electives and increase number of required courses; and to put patriotism back in schools. Several causes and factors are also discussed in the article, which advocate the need for the demanded changes. According to the author, since back to basics covers a range of convictions and dogmas, it is not uncommon to find schoolmen and women enthusiastic for the cause. But to the probable surprise of basics hard-liners, educators counter simplistic demands for a new educational trinity: minimal competency, proficiency testing, and a performance-based curriculum.


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