Interview with Jean McGuire
QUESTION 2
JACKIE SHEARER:

So, then, what was the, what was the quality of the education like for a Black student in Boston in the 1960s?


JACKIE SHEARER:

I'll ask you again.


JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, so speaking as a Black teacher, what was the quality of the education provided for Black kids in the '60s.

JEAN McGUIRE:

It was probably the same in terms of offerings as what was offered other children in the school system--

JACKIE SHEARER:

I'm sorry, could you give us a complete sentence?

JEAN McGUIRE:

Yes, you mean repeat the question?

JACKIE SHEARER:

Yea.

JEAN McGUIRE:

OK, I understand, I should have known. The quality of the education that was offered Black children was probably pretty much the same in terms of content as what was offered other children. There actually weren't that many Black children in any one classroom except in a few schools, like the one in which I taught, Louisa May Alcott, because, ah, many of the schools, except for the Hyde and the Everett and the Sherwin, and a few others, were sort of mixed. Neighborhoods weren't totally segregated, but there was enough mixture so that you didn't get a completely different education as you do under other segregated situations. What was missing was that, in many ways, education was somewhat rigid. I didn't mind it being old-fashioned since I felt that much of the literature and many of the offerings were absolutely necessary for children to have, but they were very narrow in focus. It was probably the primary version of major British writers, and you did everything as a teacher. You taught music, you taught art, you taught physical education, you took the kids out to recess, you ate lunch with them, you helped them put their coats on, you wrote notes to their parents, it was not a time where you had teacher aids and, we had no audio-visuals, we had DC current in that school, we didn't have enough lined paper, the school smelled of a hundred years of peanut butter and salami and bread and bananas and oranges, the stairs were worn down. To me it was so different than some of what I had seen as a student teacher at Boston State College, where we had gone out to Newton, or we had seen schools in Brighton, and had been to the new Tobin, where, at least there were more things. There were the Peter DuGrand books, where, a trust fund was set up so the teachers could have books in their rooms that were just for the children, didn't have to go back to the library. We didn't have any of that.