OCTOBER 19, 1945
NEW YORK, Thursday—I have read Frank E. Karelsen's letter of resignation as chairman of the advisory committee on human relations in the New York City schools. He resigns to draw attention to conditions which he considers need to be changed immediately. I think his letter should be carefully considered, especially in this period when so many tensions are prevalent among young people and their families. He gives very good reasons for the growth of gangs among young boys. He points out, for instance, that in one gang two of the leaders when apprehended were found to be known as truants for eight months. In one school, 80 boys have been truants since the beginning of the school year and not a single case has been investigated.
I am glad that this is being brought to the Mayor's attention, but I cannot help feeling that the Board of Education has a greater responsibility, since the Mayor must trust the people who are actually doing the work to give him his information.
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The junior high schools seem to be one of the very bad spots in the whole school system, although we all recognize that students there are at a critical age and need good teachers and good guidance. It is appalling to think that there are from five to fifteen uncovered classes in one school. Mr. Karelsen's recommendations seem fundamental to a good school system in this great city of ours.
Someone has pointed out that our schools seem to us less important than our airfields. If this is so, it is an attitude that can't continue if we really desire good citizens in the future.
We can say little about places other than New York which may have bad conditions also, but certainly few places have more resources than are available here.
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Mr. Karelsen is a man who understands that patience is needed in bringing about reforms, and so, if after his long experience in connection with education generally, he has decided that it is necessary to resign in order to focus the attention of people on the situation in our New York City schools, we may rest assured that the situation is truthfully reported. Mr. Karelsen is a lawyer and knows that an assertion must be backed by evidence, and since he was chosen to be chairman of this advisory committee, it is evident that John E. Wade himself, the superintendent of schools, considered him qualified.