To the Editor:
I know both Bayard Rustin and Kenneth Martyn, and I have the deepest respect and admiration for both. It seems to me that their differences regarding the McCone Commission Report are linguistic rather than basic [Letters from Readers,” August]. Each is sincerely concerned with the problems facing our slum areas, with our youth who are living in those areas, and with long-range efforts to find real . . . solutions to these problems.
However, Mr. Rustin seems to assume that the proponents of New York City’s More Effective Schools Program are unaware of the limitations of this program. We in the United Federation of Teachers, which first proposed such a program, and in the American Federation of Teachers, which is trying to have similar programs adopted by other urban centers, realize that such programs, even with constant improvements, are but the first necessary minimal steps that must be taken to advance the fundamental reconstruction of our schools.
As is stated in the conclusion to the AFT National Design:
The Effective Schools Program is a specific, school-by-school approach to the problem of providing schools which can really educate children in spite of any environmental handicaps they may bring to school with them.
We favor district-wide improvements in the quality of education, of course, but these improvements come so gradually that their impact is lost. In addition to these overall improvements, a specific number of schools should be singled out each year for drastic, total improvement.
The Effective Schools Program is compensatory education, but not all compensatory education should be included under this heading. The Effective Schools Program is not a pilot or an experiment. At present it is limited to elementary schools. The Effective Schools Program should be initiated in the areas of a district which need it most, but we look forward to the time when all schools will be truly effective.
AFT National Council for