Introduction to the
Secondary School Study
by Craig Kridel, Curator


Prior to 1940 the Negro high schools of the South had been largely out of contact with the insights and school procedures resulting from experimental efforts and studies in the high schools of the nation. Several of the states had embarked upon programs of curricular improvement but there was much feeling on the part of the schools that these programs were being imposed on them and much confusion existed regarding the goals to be achieved and techniques for achieving them.
—L. F. Palmer, principal of Huntington High School (1943, p. 1)


Origins of the Secondary School Study

The Secondary School Study, sponsored by the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes (ACSSN) and funded by the General Education Board (GEB), was officially established in 1940 to assist high school teachers in experimenting with their administrative, curricular, and instructional methodology. While most black educators sought to achieve accreditation for schools, some believed that teachers were not involved in progressive education’s “stream of educational ideas” and, thus, were placing too much emphasis on existing, traditional practices (Robinson, 1937b). With assistance from members of the Progressive Education Association (PEA), Secondary School Study participants came together to reconsider the basic purposes of secondary education and to address classroom problems—those curricular and cultural issues that so greatly affected the education of black youth. The Study staff viewed the method for educational change as guided discourse among school staff in what became a highly defined practice of “cooperation” as a way to construct common beliefs and values. By articulating an integrated and shared philosophy of education, Study teachers experimented with activities that embraced the meaning of schooling in a democracy and examined the nature of learning and the relationship among student, teacher, and society.

As is the case with most educational studies, the project’s foundation was established well before its official approval. One can easily view the origins of the Secondary School Study as having occurred at the 1937 ACSSN conference when the Committee on Resolutions reported that select black high schools should participate in the soon-to-be-launched Southern Study (1938-1945), an experimental project for white schools funded by the GEB and sponsored by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. A one-person movement to initiate a high school study to introduce progressive curricular practices into the field of black secondary education also began at this conference with William A. Robinson’s presentation, “Progressive Education and the Negro.” Robinson, who would become director of the Study, pronounced the importance and significance of progressivism and publicly called for black schools to engage in experimentation similar to the Progressive Education Association’s in-progress Eight-Year Study, staged between 1930 and 1942 (Robinson, 1937b). [1.]

W. A. Robinson would not have been addressing a particularly supportive audience of black educators at this December 1937 meeting. The Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes was established not for experimentation, curriculum development, or the formulation of an educational philosophy; rather, the relatively new organization sought to support black colleges and high schools in their efforts to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The secondary schools’ quest for this elusive sanction was intimately connected to the struggle for increased funding and better school facilities. Accreditation was seen as a modest but mandatory form of achieving equity. Previous ACSSN conference sessions typically bemoaned funding inequities, re-examined secondary school standards (for which there was a GEB-funded Southern Association Cooperative Study of Secondary School Standards project underway), and reconsidered the vocational role and mission of the black high school (Carrothers, 1939; Brown, A., 1944). Yet, Robinson’s presentation maintained that facilities and funding would not suffice—that black educators must redefine quality of life for teachers and students. He stated, “While I deplore the prevailing tendency of school officials to neglect Negro schools in the matter of spending the public’s money, I hope for the day when the application of the principles currently known as progressive education will point the way to . . . the improvement of the experiences which are offered Negro children in our schools” (Robinson, 1937b, p. 64). Robinson’s life-long activism and struggle for civil rights never faltered; however, his message to educators in 1937 was quite clear: more money was not enough to further black education. More carefully planned and thoughtful curriculum and instructional practices were necessary too.

Robinson’s turn to curricular experimentation is somewhat curious, especially since in his role during the mid-1920s as president of the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, he helped to lead a movement for the accreditation of black schools. While he would become a spokesperson for black progressive education through his involvement in this project, he had not publicly embraced its significance before 1937 (although it must be noted that he was serving as principal of a recognized progressive school, the Atlanta University Laboratory School). Merely a year before his presentation, he was lamenting the seemingly hopeless state of black education in the pages of The Journal of Negro Education as a participant in the 1936 symposium, “The Reorganization and Redirection of Negro Education.” Robinson could not accept the traditional, narrow vocational role of black high schools, nor did he hold faith in a system where black educators had such little political control. Rather than turning toward progressive education, he maintained that black educators “must be courageous enough to arouse social unrest and a lively dissatisfaction with things as they are” (Robinson, 1936, p. 400). Activism rather than experimentation represented his method for change, similar to his participation in civil rights protests during the 1920s in Harlem with his roommate, E. Franklin Frazier (Robinson Jr., 2011; Delany and Delany, 1993, p. 137). In this mid-1930s critique of black education, Robinson had yet to conceive fully a vision for educational change. And, similarly, no other educators in the 1936 symposium were turning to progressivism as a panacea for black high schools. In fact, The Journal of Negro Education symposium would implicitly portray the dismal state of black secondary education (later described by Secondary School Study staff as the “orphan of black education”) and focus primarily on the quest for school accreditation. At this 1937 ACSSN meeting, the importance of state certification would have guided the attention of most if not all black educational leaders, including Robinson whose career began as a school inspector for the state of North Carolina.
The year 1937 proved to be a turning point for Robinson. He published, as a prelude to his December 1937 ACSSN presentation, a brief essay in the spring 1937 Virginia Teachers Bulletin where he would define progressive education. With direct allusions to the PEA’s Eight-Year Study, he conceived progressive education not as a set of beliefs or endorsed educational practices but as faith in the need for experimentation. Recognizing the inadequate facilities of black schools, he encouraged educators to adopt an experimental attitude and to reconceive “the school assembly, the cafeteria, the playground, the study hall, the homeroom, the office, the faculty meeting—all of the many situations in our schools . . . waiting for thoughtful changes” (Robinson, 1937a, p. 26). Robinson’s faith in the process of educational experimentation was not unlike the perspective underway with the Eight-Year Study; yet, this was not mere hope for any type of change—experimentation was based upon discourse and cooperation among those actively engaged in program development, and through a loosely conceived notion of the experimental method, a common vision of progressive education would emerge. Such a perspective placed great emphasis upon the importance of a school philosophy—not a predefined list of aphorisms but, instead, a series of common principles, forged through discussion and constructed during hours of meetings where individuals described their beliefs and aspirations (Bullough and Kridel, 2011). Robinson’s view of progressive education became more tangible during the summer of 1937 after spending a semester at Ohio State University studying with Eight-Year Study staff and teachers from the Ohio State Laboratory School (considered one of the more innovative schools in the PEA’s project). That summer term displayed to Robinson what types of curricular activities could be initiated at the secondary level and introduced to him the many examples of on-site progressive experimentation around the country.

It was said that in 1929, when progressive educators arrived in St. Louis for their national PEA meeting, they seemed ready to launch a recognizable progressive secondary education movement. This conference would inaugurate efforts to stage the Eight-Year Study. Similarly, after Robinson’s 1937 summer study, he was ready to launch a progressive education crusade for black high schools and introduce a movement to reconceive the purposes of black secondary school education and, perhaps more importantly, redefine how black educators could initiate change in their schools and communities. Robinson’s 1937 presentation, “Progressive Education and the Negro,” followed months later with his urging the ACSSN membership to engage in secondary school curricular experimentation. He would continue his studies the next year, as a GEB fellow, and attend the Progressive Education Association’s 1938 Eastern Summer Workshop at Sarah Lawrence College (with its emphasis upon guidance, human relations, and the study of adolescence). This was not a mere weekend professional development seminar. For six weeks, Robinson participated in various sessions with educators from throughout the United States. Workshop participants discussed and examined the purposes and individual problems of secondary schools, developing curricular materials—resource units—for use in their classrooms. The experience proved transformational for Robinson as it did for so many of the teachers and administrators who participated in these legendary PEA workshops (Ryan and Tyler, 1939).

Robinson seemed to combine his new found faith in progressive education with his past belief in confrontation for social change and educational equity. While he requested GEB support for a curriculum development project similar to the Southern Study, he also challenged the staff. Archival documents implicate him in maneuvering a 1937 ACSSN resolution to state that the organization “participate in any experiment in progressive education set up in the southern region,” and in urging the GEB to include black high schools among those white schools selected for the Southern Study (Favrot, 1939; Davenport, 1937, p. 35). He was well aware that the Southern Association was to receive support from the GEB for a white high school experimental project, a study that had been under development, and Southern Association staff was in the process of selecting schools for participation (Wraga, 2014). No southern schools—black or white—had been included in the Eight-Year Study (although a number of the participating sites were desegregated), and no black schools were to be included in the Southern Study. With allusions to democracy and citizenship, Robinson was challenging the GEB’s Southern Program staff, the Southern Association, and ACSSN, knowing that the Southern Study would never become a biracial project. Nonetheless, Robinson would persist in his call for a black school study, publicly stating, “I am exceedingly fearful that . . . Negro high schools will be gravely neglected unless they themselves became active in their own behalf” (Robinson, 1937b, p. 65; Robinson, 1938a). These efforts would cause Robinson’s relationship with the GEB project administrators to become and remain strained throughout the duration of the project. He would be endorsed by the GEB but never fully accepted.

While the 1937 Committee on Resolutions motion led to little action, understandably, ACSSN would feature progressive education at its next meeting. At the 1938 conference, a keynote session included Ralph Tyler (the country’s leading spokesperson for school experimentation) describing ongoing progressive education studies, Hilda Taba (a national figure in curriculum development and social studies) introducing the philosophy of the Eight-Year Study, and Frank Jenkins (director of the Southern Study) recounting plans for that school project. Robinson, as chair of the ACSSN Commission on Secondary Schools, would lead the session’s discussion and call for redefining educational philosophies and reconstructing educational practices of black high schools (Tyler, 1938; Taba, 1938; Jenkins, 1938).

Robinson continued relentlessly throughout 1939 to obtain funding for an independent study of black schools by writing directly to GEB staff. Describing himself as an enthusiastic missionary for “a new approach to the task of educating children,” he wrote in November stating that if blacks were going to be educated, then teachers “must learn new ways of approaching their tasks and new reasons for their educational activities” (Robinson, 1939, p. 1). In December of that year, the General Education Board finally approved an exploratory six-month grant for ACSSN to begin a study of selected black schools “to discover the needs of Negro youth at the secondary level, and to provide educational services in terms of their growth and development” (General Education Board, 1939). To begin on January 1, 1940, the Secondary School Study was born. The research project would continue to be supported by the GEB, albeit with quite modest funding in comparison to similar studies of this period, for the next six years.

Pearl High School


Black Public Secondary Education circa 1940
and the Secondary School Study

While the Secondary School Study had been approved and funded, ACSSN members were uncertain, as one would expect, how to establish a vision for black secondary education. Inequity in funding was overwhelming. In the Southern states, the average annual expenditure for a black student was $19 in comparison to $49 for a white student (Brown and Robinson, 1946, p. 17). Funding for buildings and equipment was even worse. In Alabama, white school grounds and equipment allocations were five times greater than the amount of support for black schools (Johnson, C., 1941). The 1940s black public high school was neither common nor its curricular and instructional practices particularly well-conceived. Robinson and Brown describe the curriculum “to consist generally of assignments and recitations based on whatever textbook” was available (Brown and Robinson, 1946, p. 17). Further, black secondary education’s role in society was unclear, at times viewed as either unnecessary for those youth planning to enter the work force or as a mere (and seemingly questionable) precursor for entry into higher education and the professions. Black private colleges, often providing “pre-postsecondary education” along with their higher education offerings, had helped dictate secondary education practices during this era, and black and white educators were devoting much more attention to the role and purposes of the primary school. Secondary School Study staff would soon realize that the development of the black public high school “has been and is now beset with many difficulties peculiar to the social patterns of the Southern States” (Brown and Robinson, 1946, p. 3). In fact, in rural areas the term “high school” was not always used to identify the school buildings. Many rural communities identified their secondary schools as “county training schools” where, as the name indicated, there was a much clearer purpose and reason for existing. During the 1930s, PEA members sought to reconceive secondary education’s role as more than college preparatory and, thus, significant for all youth. Robinson envisioned the Secondary School Study as a way to redefine and expand the high school curriculum to serve those black youth who were not necessarily intent upon continuing their education at the post-secondary level (Robinson, 1944a, p. 145).

Similar to its predecessor, the Eight-Year Study, the Secondary School Study would begin with a simple question: “What is needed in order to produce steady gains in the development of high school curricula in Negro schools?” From the first gathering of participants in the spring of 1940 at Fisk University, the purpose of the Study would evolve into a method to ascertain the educational process “of the additional needs of Negro children in the social setting of American Life” (Heningburg, 1940, p. 2). Those black educators (and interested white educators) involved in the project did not assume that the curriculum of white schools would offer guidance. At a 1942 Study conference, participants criticized the tendency of black educators to seek curricula implemented in white schools, maintaining that there was a feeling that “identical curriculum led to equal opportunity” (Committee on Redefinition, 1942, p. 14). Further, Robinson would invoke a 1940 Journal of Negro Education essay by a nationally recognized white curriculum scholar who criticized all (white and black) high school methods and the tendency for black educators “to take what the white-folks take” resulting in a “cheap type of superficial erudition, such as may be obtained from the limited verbal mastery of poorly understood husks of learning, robbed of all richness and crammed within the covers of cheap text books” (Douglass, 1940, p. 543). While Robinson asserted that no project had done so much for education during the past years than the Eight-Year Study, neither did he turn to the Progressive Education Association’s curriculum resource materials. Rather, he saw the Secondary School Study as a way for black educators to address “their problems together and to evaluate together the results of their experimentation” (Robinson, 1937b, p. 65). Cooperation and experimentation rather than mere adoption of materials—i.e., a best practices approach—proved, for Robinson and Study participants, to be a defining conception of progressive education and a fundamental perspective of the Study.
Fifty-six schools were nominated for the Study by state field representatives, and forty-five sites were visited. Ultimately, sixteen schools were selected as “member schools”—those institutions that were directly involved with on-site efforts to reconceive their curricular programs. A seventeenth site (Moultrie High School for Negro Youth) was added with the closing of Atlanta University Laboratory School (Robinson’s school) in 1942, causing on occasion the total number of the participating programs to be listed officially as seventeen when only sixteen schools were engaged at any one time. A school’s selection to participate was based upon its faculty’s academic background and educational training and their willingness to engage in experimentation. Another factor was taken into account: the condition of the physical plant and whether the facilities were adequate for the school population. The Study’s staff also sought to include a representative cross-section of rural and urban and large as well as small settings from the eleven states that represented the Southern Association.

Witnessing the struggles of the Eight-Year Study, Robinson specifically chose not to conduct a follow-up research component of experimentally controlled groups of students, similar to that ill-conceived dimension of the PEA’s project. He recognized that many schools would be interested in participating in any project sponsored by the General Education Board, but membership did not necessarily mean involvement. Some schools wished to be included but would engage in modest experimentation; other schools would involve a small number of dedicated faculty with some non-supportive colleagues. Such conditions were fully documented among these types of experimental projects. Varying degrees of participation among the experimental sites prevented any reasonable framework for a controlled experiment based on student achievement, and the fundamental conception of “implementative studies,” which this series of GEB-funded projects would help to define, precluded any sensible impact study.

Secondary School Study documents abound with specific intents, goals, and objectives; yet, these purposes were intentionally flexible and quite fluid. In fact, a working committee of staff, teachers, and principals met two years after the project was underway to redefine the study: “It was felt by many of those present that the purposes formulated by the principals of the member schools and others attending the first conference of the Study at Nashville were not sufficiently directive either to the member schools or to the central staff and the visiting consultants” (Committee on Redefinition, 1942, p. 1). Much attention focused on problems—those of the classroom teacher working with students, teachers working together, school educators working with the community, and school administrators working with the Secondary School Study staff—rather than pre-determined goals and far-removed objectives.
For this type of project, “problems” became part of the vernacular and served to focus conversations and activities and, from these discussions, broad goals were identified that would guide curricular and instructional planning. Further, while the Study provided resource persons to assist the educators at the participating sites, it was understood that solutions would arise from group discussion among the participants and not from so-called external experts. As noted at the 1942 Fisk Conference, “Goals or purposes formulated by persons other than those responsible for the achievement of these purposes tend to remain sterile verbalizations and may result in practices based neither upon understanding nor conviction” (Committee on Redefinition, 1942, p. 4). Perhaps no other belief was more important to the Study’s staff and member school principals and teachers.

From this perspective, schools initiated and further conceived many common programs: assemblies as a way to build community (Rocky Mount’s Booker T. Washington High School, Magnolia High School), correlated core curriculum (Lincoln High School, Drewry Practice High School, Staley High School), civic engagement (Dudley High School, Moultrie High School, Staley High School), guidance-human relations (Grant High School), and philosophy as a community-building process (Columbia’s Booker T. Washington High School, Huntington High School, Webster Davis Laboratory High School). These activities were imbedded in the specific problems of teachers as they sought to educate and prepare their students to enter an unjust world. This is to say that the Secondary School Study could not seek to overturn decades of social injustice, school inequity, and racial prejudice, or the questionable effects of standardized testing and Carnegie units. Robinson was well aware of the difficulties of initiating societal change and recognized that school faculty at participating sites could lose their positions for nothing more than merely maintaining membership in the NAACP. The form of struggle for civil rights and social justice could not be defined by Robinson and external staff but, rather, by the schools’ teachers and community members and, as was the case at all sites, the methods of struggle were extant yet subtle. As the Study’s central staff sought not to dictate curricular practices to the member schools, similarly, they knew that faculty would determine means for educational and cultural progress as defined on their terms and those of their community. As one consultant noted, “No teachers should be more experimental than they are ready to be, and those who have gone farthest in that direction should be ready to give help but not to force it, and at least as ready to accept criticism as to give it” (Willis, 1942, p. 6).

Through the building of professional communities among the principals and teachers and thoughtful discussions among participants, educators at experimental sites would conceive and implement programs that would reconsider and redefine the high school curricula in black schools. While no school programs were officially sanctioned by the ACSSN, the orientation of the Secondary School Study was in accord with basic principles of 1930s progressive education. Rather than developing black high school curriculum and instruction packages, the project served as an invitation for educators to experiment with conceptions of education. The second phase of the Secondary School Study, from 1944 to 1946, represented the efforts of the central staff to expand dialogue to other affiliated schools (known as contact schools) and to invite them to initiate similar changes in their curricular and instructional methods.

Dudley High School

The Secondary School Study Purposes and Problems

“Purposes of the Study
1.           To discover the needs of the secondary-school child.
2.           To discover, and to take account of in the educative process, the additional needs of Negro children in the social setting of American life.
3.           To give each school an opportunity to study its own situation in the light of the basic purposes of education.
4.           To discover what is involved in democratic living.
5.           To find ways in which experiences may be shared.
6.           To devise ways of providing worthwhile experiences.
Problems to be Attacked by the Study
1.           How can we know when pupils have learned?
2.           How can classroom procedures be made more democratic?
3.           How can the administration of the school be made more democratic?
4.           How can we break down the organization of the traditional school, in which each teacher acts as a separate entity?
5.           How can we formulate a philosophy for a school and make it function?
6.           To what extent should the general community participate in the formation of a school program, and how can the necessary participation be gained?
7.           How can the academic subjects in school be taught in terms of the community?
8.           How can the traditional high school be organized to relate its program to the life of the community?
9.           What criteria should be used in the selection of teachers?
10.         How can the needs and interests of the pupils be met in particular subject-matter areas: (a) organization, (b) scope, (c) individual differences, (d) analyses of needs, (e) evaluation, and (f) remedial instruction?
11.         How can a functional health program be developed?
12.         How can better ways of using community resources in the school program be found?
13.         How can techniques of evaluation be improved?
14.         How can teachers be brought to agree on desirable pupil behavior?
15.         How can the acquisition of desirable study habits be encouraged?
16.         How can provision be made for the mastery of the technical processes?
17.         What criteria should be used in determining the nature and the scope of the necessary subject matter to be included in an improved program of instruction?
18.         What constitutes a good learning situation?
19.         How can adequate teaching materials be secured?
20.         How can adequate provision be made for individual differences throughout the school program?
21.         What are the sources of teaching material?
22.         How can the school aid in resolving conflicts between youth and the community?”
 (Robinson, 1944b, pp. 534-535).

Understanding the Secondary School Study

The intent of this research project has been to discover extant progressive education practices in black schools of the 1940s, and the Secondary School Study provides a conceptual focus—a set of cases—for examination. These seventeen schools did not define black progressive education in this decade; they do, however, offer us an initial grouping of schools—designated during the period as being experimental—as a venue to begin researching this unexplored realm. Secondary school educators of this period who defined themselves as progressives are much different from today’s caricatures of child-centered educators, scientific methodists, social meliorists, and administrative progressives (Rugg, 1936; Kliebard, 2004; Tyack, 1974). “Teaching the whole child” was a common saying among teachers in this era but did not necessarily denote progressive ideology. Belief in basic principles of progressivism would guide many Study participants as they developed sophisticated and complex views of core curriculum and teacher-pupil planning.
It should be noted that the term “progressive education” was practical rather than precise and, thus, not as ideologically confining as today. To be a progressive allowed for a variety of beliefs as many educational leaders of the 1940s proclaimed their allegiance to self-defined ideals. For example, Ben Wood, who helped to establish the Educational Testing Service, identified himself as a progressive, acknowledging John Dewey as the most important person in his career (Downey, 1965). Few educators today, however, would agree with this self-assessment. The journal Educational Method published articles by leading progressives during the 1930s and 1940s, in keeping with its subtitle, “A Journal of Progressive Public Schools.” Yet, this publication was sponsored by the Department of Supervisors and Directors of Instruction of the National Education Association, a group that would not be viewed as progressive by most contemporary educators. Teachers at Secondary School Study member schools did indeed draw upon specific progressive education beliefs: the well-known “project method” permeated the curriculum, the homeroom period was being introduced, and “attending to the interests of students” was being recognized at the secondary level. In essence, many of the participating teachers viewed themselves as progressives without the need to carry about a copy of The Social Frontier. The dominant motif of the Secondary School Study was not to promote progressivism but, rather, to engage in experimentation in a spirit of progressive, cooperative, and democratic discourse.

While the term “progressive” was being used in a variety of ways, one common and predictable occurrence was its ability to create mistrust, especially among white Southern educators. Fannie Phelps Adams, a teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia, South Carolina, during the Study, stated, “We talked about John Dewey but did not use the term ‘progressive education.’ We were progressives and put the theories into practice without having to say the ideas that would have caused suspicion. We just did it” (Phelps Adams, 2014). Alpha Hines Westbrook, a teacher at Staley High School during this same time, reconfirms this practice by stating, “Americus [Georgia] was highly segregated and any term that implied the idea of ‘progress’ was dangerous” (Westbrook, 2011). Visitors to the web exhibitions may be hard pressed to find specific references to progressive education literature among the comments of teachers and students; nonetheless, Robinson and Study resource persons saw, as readily apparent in the exhibitions, the high schools embodying and embracing various progressive education methods.

D. Webster Davis High School

Understanding Progressive Education-inspired
Research and Curricular Practices

A more multifaceted understanding of the Secondary School Study arises not from aligning practices to a codified set of progressive beliefs but, rather, from recognizing the forms of school experimentation during this period—methods that have been overlooked or misinterpreted in the contemporary professional literature. These include implementative studies, laboratory schools, summer workshops, cooperative study, core curriculum, and teacher-pupil planning.

Implementative Studies: The Secondary School Study represents a much different conception of school experimentation from today’s value-added projects. Beginning with the Eight-Year Study, a series of implementative studieswere staged with funding from the General Education Board. Unlike other research projects of the period—the “status study” (documenting current activities), the “deliberative study” (justifying specified educational change), and the pilot-demonstration (disseminating field-tested projects)— implementative studies tested no formal hypotheses and established no set of predefined outcomes (Havighurst and Rhind, 1940, p. 19). Such projects could be considered a form of heresy today, yet the GEB took pride in introducing this type of research—projects that were exploratory and sought to examine, interpret, and discuss data for the sole purpose of improving rather than validating educational practices. Implementative studies embraced a faith in experimentation similar to Robinson’s definition of progressive education. These programs did not address grandiose issues for societal reform or systemic change; rather, the outcomes would be solutions to practical concerns that teachers and administrators would confront in their idiosyncratic settings. Attention was given to whether specific solutions were valid for solving specific problems rather than whether “proven” predefined methods could be generalized to other locations. Without the burden of research reliability, these types of studies focused primarily on determining the validity of certain activities to resolve common classroom complications. Eight-Year Study staff did not dismiss scientific inquiry; rather they recognized school experimentation as a method not to prove outcomes but to explore possibilities for educating youth (Kridel and Bullough, 2007). Perhaps the most important aspect of implementative studies was their ability to convey to their participants that research and experimentation should become a common activity within the act of teaching; in essence, classroom inquiry became a normal aspect of the school day.

Laboratory Schools: Secondary School Study member schools were conceived as sites where faculty were invited to experiment with curriculum and teaching, and all schools engaged in varying levels of innovation. In addition, a few were official campus laboratory schools while others were unofficial off-campus lab schools. Yet these designations have little correlation to levels of classroom investigation and, in their own way, such terms obscure the involvement at the participating sites. Historically, laboratory schools were not necessarily experimental, nor did they envision curricular innovation as their primary role (Williams, E., 1942). The purpose of most, if not all, laboratory schools (certainly from the perspective of college faculty) was not to engage in innovative ventures but, instead, to offer a convenient venue for the supervision of student teachers. “A school stressing student teaching, or even a school stressing observation and participation, may not provide a suitable atmosphere for theory development or research. Conversely, a school environment conducive to extensive theory development and research undertakings may not readily accommodate substantial numbers of student teachers, participants, or observers” (Van Til, 1969, p. 5). Educational practices were expected to be more conventional as a way to prepare pre-service teachers for traditional instructional roles.
Many campus elementary-secondary schools were established as an integral dimension of a normal school’s or department of education’s training program and, in keeping with the mission of teacher education, prepared teachers for standard classroom settings. This perspective is confirmed in period research of black public laboratory schools (Clem, 1949), and the Secondary School Study lab schools did not lead the project in experimentation and innovations. Similarly, the laboratory schools in the Eight-Year Study spanned the extremes with one identified by staff as a leading innovator and another viewed as a site that should have been dropped from the participating schools. This is all to say that designated laboratory programs were not necessarily experimental, and many of the most experimental sites in the Secondary School Study were not lab schools officially affiliated with a postsecondary institution.

The Summer Workshop: Today’s educators will be hard-pressed to ever fully appreciate the uniqueness and significance of the implementative study’s summer workshops. These programs were not similar to any type of professional development activity of recent decades. During the 1930s, Ralph Tyler, research director of the Eight-Year Study, devised a workshop format where teachers came together in the spirit of cooperation and discussed and examined their problems. “Such gatherings would not be an occasion to merely listen, nor would they be limited to a single weekend; solutions to large problems called for extended time, and the gatherings were planned for weeks of morning, afternoon, and evening activities. For Tyler, a workshop would be a place for teachers to work—to be totally immersed with the problems and issues of schooling that concerned them” (Kridel and Bullough, 2007, p. 194).

This type of work could not occur during a university summer school class or weekend conference. Tyler’s conception of a workshop involved extended time—six weeks of total immersion—when participants would address professional issues as well as experience the feelings of a learner. “Workshops arose at a time when there was a growing recognition among educators of the fact that the formal classroom approach to teacher education was not adequate to the needs of many teachers and at a time when many institutions were experimenting with new approaches to teacher education” (Heaton, Camp, and Diederich, 1940, p. 15). The workshop served as an antidote to traditional pre-service and in-service teacher education programs where coursework was far removed from the real-life problems and issues of actual classroom experience.

The result was a series of summer programs offering teachers the time and flexibility to attend to their educational problems while also engaging in their own learning. The opportunity to come together and participate in professional development as well as general education activities proved quite powerful. The Secondary School Study organized three central workshops: the 1940 Atlanta Workshop, the 1941 Hampton Workshop, and the 1942 Durham Workshop. Each was six weeks in length, with a total participation of 200 principals and teachers representing the member schools along with a few college instructors. Participants “worked” on resolving their problems with the assistance of consultants. In addition, with GEB support, 124 member school faculty were awarded scholarships during the summers of 1943, 1944, and 1945 in the areas of social science, science education, evaluation (of teaching), guidance, mathematics education, audio-visual education, English education, and reading. Workshops were held at the University of Chicago, Ohio State University, Vassar College, and New York University, where teachers and administrators studied with resource persons who had been active with the Eight-Year Study. Secondary School Study staff conducted a formal evaluation of the workshop program and found many positive outcomes, including increased professional reading, the development of leadership skills, and a renewed belief in educational democracy: “The workshops illustrated democratic living and thereby deepened the conviction among teachers that their own schools and classrooms can be operated to advantage on democratic principles” (Brown, W., 1945a, p. 52).

These extended sessions represented another atypical experimental setting where the teachers became students and, thus, became more sensitive to the delights and difficulties of learning. As described during the 1944 evaluation workshop at Ohio State University, “We needed frequent opportunity to review what we were doing; to see these activities in relation to our aims; to identify problems that confronted us; to see when and where we agreed and disagreed. . . . We had to have freedom ‘to gripe,’ to disagree, to suggest alternative goals, procedures, materials, and speakers. Moreover, we knew that unless there was some atmosphere of good fellowship, of fun, of a feeling of belonging and accomplishment, the Workshop would be to that extent less successful” (Raths, 1944, p. 1). The workshops established settings where trust was developed and true discourse—open exchange, arguments, agreements, disagreements, and insights for educational and societal change—could take place. Unfortunately, the demands for teacher certification during the 1940s and beyond (based upon the importance of obtaining advanced degrees), the difficulties for teachers to free up six weeks of their time, the loss of summer income, and the need for foundation support to stage such lengthy workshops all served as deterrents for staging these types of implementative study workshops.

 Cooperative Study: Gilbert Porter, principal at a Secondary School Study participating site, described a national, 1930s cooperative study movement where dialogue served to define the method for program development (Porter, 1952). As is the case with many of these educational terms, various practices would fall under the rubric of cooperative study. For some educators, cooperative study represented merely joint sponsorship of programs (Havighurst, 1941). For others, including Robinson, Porter, and various Study educators, “cooperation” became a professional way of life—a rudimentary form of “social dialogue”—that was seen as a method to transform educational policy, administration, and teaching.

Developed through 1930s and 1940s GEB-sponsored projects—the Eight-Year Study, the Southern Study, the Cooperative Study in General Education (a twenty-five-college project, directed by Ralph Tyler between 1939 and 1945), and the California and Michigan high school studies—cooperative studies maintained that expertise arose from extended open discussion and faith in experimentation. Similar to mid-20th century beliefs of community organizing, cooperative study staff believed “there was wisdom in the room”—that those who worked with problems were those who were best able to determine solutions. [2.] GEB staff member Flora M. Rhind underscored this point when noting “that shared experiences deepen understanding of individual problems and bring a clearer vision of group as well as individual goals.” Solutions came not from conference lectures but from workshop dialogue among cooperative study participants who shared experiences that subsequently could lead to insights for others—namely, “cooperative association with the values of individual experimentation” (Rhind, ca. 1945, p. 1). The process repudiated the “expert consultant” or “distant professor” telling educators what to do. Responsibility for school improvement was site-specific and rested with administrators, teachers, and students who would be assisted by resource persons and by one another. Cooperative study coordinators planned activities and provided assistance and guidance . . . but not solutions.

While forgotten today as a form of professional development and systemic reform, GEB staff described the cooperative study as “an increasingly popular device for educational change” (Rhind, ca. 1945, p. 1). The process, however, was not just a matter of teachers coming together to listen to one another report their activities. The unit of work was, once again, conceived as “the problem” situated in real educational settings; thus, Robinson and member schools adopted cooperative study as an exploratory process not to develop “the” black high school curriculum or a model black secondary school that could be implemented throughout the South. Rather, discussions brought new perspectives and solutions to common classroom problems and introduced a sense of resourcefulness (and imagination) to what could be introduced into educational settings. The techniques of cooperation were well-defined, drawing upon carefully-crafted stages of mutual helpfulness, understanding, compromise, bargaining, leadership, and comradery (Courtis, 1938).

These programs were developed slowly and could not be implemented by decree or proclamation. Trust was a prerequisite for success and could not be assigned. A Secondary School Study consultant, after visiting Huntington High School, described the importance of trust among the teachers, gained only by visiting one another’s classes and working together on common problems. The teachers’ ability to give and take criticism and to be self-critical also proved most important. “The great danger and difficulty of the whole process comes from the insecurities, jealousies and personality conflicts that can come from such relationships unless people have enough poise, confidence and desire for improvement to take the bumps that come and enough personal security to give others the credit due them” (Willis, 1942b, p. 6). School improvement, as implemented through cooperative study, represented a different approach from today—one with trust, respect, and discourse—a human touch rather than an administrative checklist.

Those involved in cooperative studies adopted a strong belief in community and working for the common good: “Democratic cooperation demands unity in terms of common purposes, respect for individual differences, a belief that group planning and group action can result in achievements better than any single individual, no matter how able, can reach by himself. . . . All must participate in deliberations, all must work for the good of each, and each person must desire his own good only as it is achieved in the good of all” (Courtis, 1938, p. 350). This forgotten method for educational change served to define all aspects of the Secondary School Study and further integrated the project into the larger progressive legacy of “democracy as a way of life.”

 Core Curriculum and Teacher-Pupil Planning: Any project that would combine experimentation, implementative research, and cooperative study would necessitate a different conception of curriculum and instruction in the classroom. The Secondary School Study was no exception. Participating schools in the various cooperative studies balanced the expectations for a standardized curriculum with teacher-pupil planning and core curriculum. In the spirit of cooperative planning, they adopted the rudiments of curriculum development that drew upon the interests and needs of students, encouraging them to be actively engaged in the selection and configuration of their educational experiences. Study participants attended summer workshops conducted by Eight-Year Study Curriculum Associates Harold Alberty and H. Harry Giles, who was also involved in designing teacher-pupil planning methodology. Giles’ primer, Teacher-Pupil Planning, and L. Thomas Hopkins’ study, Pupil-Teacher Learning, were cited regularly within the Secondary School Study materials (Giles, 1941; Hopkins, 1939). Harold Alberty, who would have been instrumental in Robinson’s 1937 and 1938 summer study and who served as doctoral advisor for both William H. Brown (1948), the assistant director and subsequent director of the Study, and Cortlandt Colson (1951) and Gilbert Porter (1952), two of the more active Study principals, had developed a structure of core curriculum for the Eight-Year Study schools. This framework helped define curricula for Secondary School Study schools.

Discussing core curriculum today is somewhat more difficult with the oddities and outrage caused by “the common core standards” initiative; however, during the 1940s this curricular configuration was more oriented toward the inner-relationship among content rather than today’s emphasis upon testing, standards, and the designation of endorsed facts. While many Secondary School Study programs formally practiced the conventional, separate subject design (traditional Carnegie units), other of the schools successfully developed correlation and fusion core programs, as described in Alberty’s work (Alberty, 1947). A correlated curriculum, the more common type of program experimentation among the schools, continued to use the structure of standard subjects as faculty sequenced course topics to emphasize the interrelationships among the content. For example, at Lincoln High School, the English teacher would assign literature of a certain country while the home economics teacher would explore the preparation of foods from the same area. As students were designing clothing from a specific region, its culture would be studied in the history classes. At Grant High School, the teachers developed a correlated core focused on guidance: social studies teachers integrated vocational information into their classes; English teachers stressed personality growth; science teachers developed records for determining student needs.

A fused core curriculum was configured around broad themes rather than separate subjects as a way to structure the content. At Magnolia High School, the literature class moved toward a fused core as they examined the topics of transportation and crime. The sociology class maintained an active project method program where they conducted research on housing and health with their results used by the city of Vicksburg to file for a federal housing project. At Staley High School, one teacher described the use of a “problems of living” fusion core: “We taught more than what was in the books. Students had many questions about life at that time—there was much more information needed than mere facts about life, food, and shelter” (Westbrook, 2011). At the Atlanta Laboratory School, William H. Brown, a science teacher before his role as project staff, developed a fused core in the area of photography, bringing together elements of chemistry, mathematics, general science, and aspects of vocational training.

Teacher-pupil planning displayed the project’s commitment to democratic engagement with students, and this instructional methodology represented a common practice among the PEA cooperative studies. Methods were subtle without teachers abdicating their role and responsibility as instructional leaders. In fact, many demands were placed upon teachers in the preplanning phase of this methodology, including developing purposes, materials, presentation, and evaluation. Students would be engaged in the classroom phase as they and the teacher planned activities that sought to represent aspects of cooperation, creativity, individualization, and problem solving. Selection of content, by teachers and students, emerged from the constant reconciliation between students’ interests and needs. Teachers were well aware of needs—what would be expected of these students either in the world of work or in further educational settings, and they involved students in determining topics and methods; however, they did not adopt simple progressive clichés of laissez-faire curricula. Rather, the use of teacher-pupil planning represented more of a form of motivation for learning. Students were engaged as active learners as they were adapting and changing the curriculum. Interestingly, teacher-pupil planning received “retroactive explanations” during the oral history interviews; interviewees recognized the process after the concept was initially described.

Staley High School

Funding Inequities among the General Education Board Studies

Funding between white and black schools was certainly not equitable during this period, and neither were the General Education Board’s Grant in Aid allocations between the white and black school cooperative studies. During the life of the project, the Secondary School Study received approximately $75,000 in GEB support, the equivalent of approximately $1,125,000 in 2015 dollars [3.] (General Education Board, 1946). The Southern Study received three times this amount with approximately $230,000 allocated during the life of the project (Havighurst, 1941, p. 332; Wraga, 2013). Another factor, however, must be taken into account when attempting to understand the funding discrepancies: the source of General Education Board funds. The Southern Study and the Secondary School Study were supported by the “Southern Education program” within the GEB. In contrast, the Eight-Year Study, Robinson’s inspiration, was funded through GEB’s General Education program (begun in 1933 to improve high school and junior college levels). GEB program officers for these two divisions brought different conceptions of educational change. Staff of the GEB Southern Education program held the Southern Study leaders in high regard while internal correspondence confirms that Robinson was not well received by these same staff members (Favrot, 1939; McCuistion, 1939; Rhind, 1943). Further, he was not fully embraced by GEB Southern field representatives as well as certain ACSSN leaders. Funding was allocated by merit but certainly guided by personal relationships, and Robinson’s relationship with Southern Education program staff would have been a deterrent for the Secondary School Study’s funding.

The project was also the victim of bad timing. While the General Education Board did not officially close until the mid-1960s, “the beginning of the end” for these types of curriculum development projects occurred with the Board’s December 1943 resolution to dissolve. When the Secondary School Study was just beginning its second stage (the dissemination phase with “contact schools”), foundation support for cooperative studies was being eliminated. The Eight-Year Study was completed by this time (although the anticipated closing of the GEB’s General Education program proved catastrophic for the funding of the Progressive Education Association), and the other cooperative studies were completing their final stages. The Secondary School Study was supported officially through the 1946-1947 school year. To complicate matters even further, unfortunately, the Secondary School Study had another rival for GEB funds within its own organization. Robinson was receiving support for work at the secondary school level while, simultaneously, a college-level project, the ACSSN’s Cooperative Negro College Study, was also receiving GEB support. The projects did not have a good working relationship. In 1944, the GEB would cease its funding of the Cooperative Negro College Study, maintaining that the project had become “too opportunistic” and that “no well-planned study was under way” (Mann, 1944).

Brown and Robinson’s “summary” report, Serving Negro Schools: A Report on the Secondary School Study—Its Purposes, Working Techniques and Findings, was in fact a plea for more funding rather than the formal presentation of the findings. In the final chapter, “A Proposed Next Step” the authors stated that “never before have Negro schools been in better position, professionally, to take effective steps toward the establishment of more useful school experiences for Negro youth. Indeed, the extent and quality of human resources now present in Negro schools can be a powerful influence for progress, once these resource individuals are fully activated and their services co-ordinated” (Brown and Robinson, 1946, p. 73). Rather than presenting a series of conclusions or an approved high school course of study from the research project (especially since the authors clearly state in the report that what needs to be done “was not difficult to answer”), Secondary School Study staff called for the funding of a regional coordinating agency for black schools, furthering their recognized need of cooperative study. While Brown and Robinson specifically stated “the fact that the General Education Board was interested in financing an effort to explore ways and means for servicing [black secondary] schools,” no further funds were allocated (Brown and Robinson, 1946, p. 79).


In 1945, Robinson had left the project to accept the principalship at Carver High School in Phoenix. Far from abandoning the cause for curricular reform at the secondary school level, Robinson viewed the Phoenix school district as a fruitful and supportive setting to experiment with the many practices that he had observed in the Secondary School Study (Grigsby, 2010). He served as superintendent until 1954 with the desegregation of the city’s educational system. The former assistant director, William H. Brown, completed the project as director and then accepted a position as director of the Bureau of Educational Research at North Carolina Central College, where he would later serve as a professor of education and, for a brief period, as interim president. The Secondary School Study officially ended in 1946, the Progressive Education Association closed in 1955, the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes dissolved in 1964, and the General Education Board would officially close in 1965 (Cozart, 1967; Fosdick, 1962). Yet, Melanie Carter, a leading scholar of ACSSN, maintains that the effect of the Secondary School Study was profound in the manner in which it introduced teachers “to a new level of professional development support from which they and their students benefited greatly” (Carter, 1996, p. 140). The project was over; however, a generation of black high school “progressives” continued their experimental work in various classroom settings throughout the Southeast and the nation.

1. The Eight-Year Study (also known as the Thirty School Study) was an experimental project conducted between 1930 and 1942 by the Progressive Education Association, where thirty high schools redesigned their curriculum while initiating innovative practices in student testing, program assessment, student guidance, curriculum design, and staff development. Seeking to address the needs of non-college-bound students while also providing better coordination between high schools and colleges for those students who continued their postsecondary education, the PEA initiated in 1930 the first of three Eight-Year Study commissions, the Commission on the Relation of School and College (the Aikin Commission). The purpose of the commission was to foster relationships between schools and colleges that would permit experimentation with the secondary school curriculum and address how the high school could serve youth more effectively. As the Aikin Commission worked with school and college staff, the Commission on Secondary School Curriculum (the Thayer Commission) was formed in 1932 to develop curriculum materials for the participating schools. The Thayer Commission recognized that further study of youth needed to be undertaken and, within the auspices of this PEA commission, the Study of Adolescents was conducted. A third PEA commission, the Commission on Human Relations (the Keliher Commission) formed in 1935 and prepared social science-related curriculum materials. Important outcomes of the Eight-Year Study included developing more sophisticated student tests and forms of assessment, innovative adolescent study techniques, and novel programs of curriculum design, instruction, teacher education, and staff development. The Eight-Year Study proved that many different forms of secondary curricular design could ensure college success and that the high school need not be chained to a traditional college-preparatory curriculum. In fact, students from the most experimental, non-nonstandard schools earned markedly higher academic achievement rates than their traditional school counterparts.
2. I thank Bill Ayers, as well as Alan Wieder who is completing a biography of Studs Terkel, for reminding me of this very important point and connection to the Secondary School Study.
3. Specific allocations are difficult to determine since some project support took the form of scholarships for participating teachers to attend summer workshops. Certain Secondary School Study documentation suggests that allocations may have totaled $127,000 (General Education Board, 1943). Also, other foundations as well as the U.S. government (the Field Foundation, Rosenwald Fund, and Office of Education, for example) provided support to the Study with GEB’s blessing, influencing and thereby diminishing their own contributions. 1964 correspondence from the GEB states that $83,006 was allocated to the Secondary School Study (General Education Board, 1964).

ACSSN: Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes
GEB: General Education Board Collection, Record Group 632.1; Rockefeller Archive Center, Pocantico Hills, NY.

Alberty, Harold (1947). Reorganizing the High School Curriculum. New York: Macmillan.
Brown, Aaron (1944). “An Evaluation of the Accredited Secondary Schools for Negroes in the South,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.
Brown, William H. (1948). “A Critical Study of Secondary Education for Negroes in Georgia,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University.
Brown, William H. and William A. Robinson (1946). Serving Negro Schools: A Report on the Secondary School Study. Atlanta: ACSSN.
Bullough Jr., Robert V. and Craig Kridel (2011). “School Philosophy, Relevance, and the Eight Year Study,” in Regenerating the Philosophy of Education: What Happened to Soul?, edited by J. L. Kincheloe and R. Hewitt. New York: Lang, pp. 25-34.
Carrothers, George E. (Ed.) (1939). Evaluation of Secondary Schools. Washington, DC: Cooperative Study of Secondary School Standards.
Clem Jr., William W. (1949). “Administrative Practices in Laboratory Schools Connected with Land-Grant and State Teachers Colleges for Negroes,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin.
Colson, Cortlandt M. (1951). “Appraisal of Cadet Teaching at Virginia State College,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University.
Committee on Redefinition of the Purposes of the Study (1942). “The Purposes of the Secondary School Study,” Fisk University Meetings, January 26-29; GEB Series 1.3, B391:F4096.
Courtis, Stuart A. (1938). “Techniques of Cooperation,” Educational Method 17:7, April, 1938, pp. 349-350.
Cozart, Leland S. (1967). A History of the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes. Charlotte, NC: ACSSN.
Davenport, W. J. (1937). “Report of Committee on Resolutions,” Proceedings from the ACSSN, pp. 35-36.
Delany, A. Elizabeth and Sarah L. Delany (1993). Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years. New York: Kodansha America.
Douglass, Harl R. (1940). “The Education of Negro Youth for Modern America,” The Journal of Negro Education 9:3, pp. 534-546.
Downey, Matthew T. (1965). Ben D. Wood: Educational Reformer. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
Favrot, Leo M. (1939). “Interviews: President Rufus E. Clement,” July 19; GEB Series 1.3, B390:F4087.
Fosdick, Raymond B. (1962). Adventure in Giving: The Story of the General Education Board. New York: Harper & Row.
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Gibson Hardy, Cynthia (1977). “A Historical Review of the Secondary School Study of the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University.
Giles, H. Harry (1941). Teacher-pupil Planning. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Grigsby, J. Eugene (2010). Personal interview with author; Phoenix, AZ; May 25 and 26.
Havighurst, Robert J. (1941). “Assistance Given to Cooperative Educational Experiments by Foundations,” Educational Method 20:6, pp. 331-334.
Havighurst, Robert J. and Flora M. Rhind (1940). Annual Report. New York: General Education Board.
Heaton, Kenneth L., William G. Camp, and Paul B. Diederich (1940). Professional Education for Experienced Teachers: The Program of the Summer Workshop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Heningburg, Alphonse (1940). “Digest of Meeting,” May 3; GEB Series 1.3, B391:F4089.
Jenkins, Frank C. (1938). “The Southern Association Study in Secondary Schools and Colleges,” Proceedings from the ACSSN, pp. 93-99.
Johnson, Charles S. (1941). Growing Up in the Black Belt: Negro Youth in the Rural South. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
Kliebard, Herbert M. (2004). The Struggle for the American Curriculum, 1893-1958, 3rd edition. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Kridel, Craig and Robert V. Bullough Jr. (2007). Stories of the Eight-Year Study. Albany: SUNY Press.
Mann, Albert R. (1944). “The Cooperative Negro College Study,” Nov. 3; GEB Series 1.3, B391:F4092.
McCuistion, Fred (1939). Correspondence to L. M. Favrot, Nov. 13; GEB Series 1.3, B390:F4087.
Palmer, Lutrelle F. (1943). “Report of the Grant: 1943 Summer Conference,” Nov. 30; GEB Series 1.3, B392:F4105.
Phelps Adams, Fannie (2014). Personal interview with author; Columbia, SC; December 7.
Porter, Gilbert L. (1952). “A Critical Study of the Reorganization Program of the Lincoln High School, Tallahassee, Florida, with Special Reference to Curriculum Development, 1946-1951,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University.
Raths, Louis E. (Ed.) (1944). “Student Experiences in the Workshop on Evaluation”; GEB Series 1.3, B392:F4104.
Rhind, Flora M. (1943). “Meeting of Control Committee,” July 29; GEB Series 1.3, B391:F4091.
Rhind, Flora M. (ca. 1945). “Cooperative Studies and Educational Change.” GEB Series 1.3, B391:F4092.
Robinson, William A. (1936). “The Reorganization and Redirection of Negro Education,” The Journal of Negro Education 5:3; pp. 393-400.
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Robinson, William A. (1937b). “Progressive Education and the Negro,” Proceedings from the ACSSN, pp. 57-65.
Robinson, William A. (1944a). “A Secondary School Study,” Phylon 5:2, pp. 145-158.
Robinson, William A. (1944b). “A Co-operative Effort among Southern Negro High Schools,” The School Review 52:9, pp. 532-542.
Robinson Jr., William A. (2011). Personal interview with author; Lyons, NJ; December 7.
Rugg, Harold (1936). American Life and the School Curriculum. New York: Ginn and Co.
Taba, Hilda (1938). “The Philosophy of the Eight-Year Study,” Proceedings from the ACSSN, pp. 87-92.
Tyack, David B. (1974). The One Best System. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Tyler, Ralph W. (1938). “Studies in Progressive Education and the Direction They Are Taking,” Proceedings from the ACSSN, pp. 83-86.
Van Til, William (1969). The Laboratory School: Its Rise And Fall? Terre Haute, IN: Indiana State University.
Westbrook, Alpha H. (2011). “The Beloved and the Controversial,” Moewe: Staley High School.
Williams, E. I. F. (1942). The Actual and Potential Use of Laboratory Schools in State Normal Schools and Teachers Colleges. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College.
Willis, Margaret (1942). “Visit to Huntington High School, Newport News, Virginia, September 15-17”; Willis Professional Papers, B5 f2a; formerly at the USC Museum of Education; transferred to the Ohio State University Archives.
Wraga, William G. (2014). “Clinical Technique, Tacit Resistance: Progressive Education Experimentation in the Jim Crow South,” Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

  This project is dedicated to the groundbreaking research of Dr. Cynthia Gibson Hardy, a doctoral student friend and colleague, who completed her Ph.D. dissertation, “A Historical Review of The Secondary School Study of the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes, 1940-1946,” at Ohio State University in 1977.        

an institutional member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience