Description: TV SHOW, BLACK JOURNAL, WITH HOST LOU HOUSE, COVERAGE OF ISSUES CONCERNING BLACK AUDIENCE, Initial Broadcast Date: March 6, 1972 30 minutes -- Color “Performance contracting” – a method of solving the educational ills of youngsters who achieve poor school grades – has failed to meet its prescribed goal. That’s the finding of a Black Journal report, “Readin’, Ritin’ and Rithmetic Inc. II.” A year ago, Black Journal camera crews and reporters went to Gary, Indiana’s Banneker Elementary School – a school with an all-black enrollment of nearly 700 students – to examine “performance contracting,” a profit making educational business managed by private executives who design and implement a school curriculum using sophisticated educational techniques, the business men promise on a “money-back guarantee” to raise the achievement level of students to the national norm or above in reading and mathematics. The private educational program was operated by the Behavioral Research Laboratories (BRL) and since its inception at the elementary school, was greeted by criticism as well as constructive comments by educators and parents. Some teachers at the school were declared “surplus” leading to their transfer or dismissal, Black Journal reports. Other teachers charged that the system’s emphasis on math and reading shortchanged the ghetto children’s ability to handle social problems. Black Journal reports that educators across the nation – painfully aware of deficiencies in the public school system – carefully followed the well-publicized experiment, hoping the new approach might be adopted for their schools. But Gary school Superintendent Gordon McAndrew, in announcing the termination of the private contract with Behavioral Research Laboratories, explained that recent testing of students indicated the performance of Banneker students was essentially the same as it had been before the new program was initiated in September 1970. And Black Journal reports a careful evaluation of staff attitude indicated a majority of the faculty were not satisfied with the way the private educational program was conducted. But, reports Tony Brown, executive producer of Black Journal, most of the faculty felt the individualized approach to education – as advocated by BRL teaching personnel – was sound, and materials and techniques developed at the school merited further development by the staff. The Gary Board of Education officially ended its three-year performance contract with Behavioral Research Laboratories on December 31, 1972. But, Brown observes, while the BRL contract was terminated, the Gary School System is to be congratulated for acknowledging that the school was failing to meet the needs of black children and for attempting to do something about it. “Black Journal” is a production of WNET New York. Executive producer: Tony Brown
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