Report on the Annual Conference
of the Henry George Schools

Robert Clancy

[A report from the Henry George School conference
held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July, 1967]

On Wednesday, July 26, a pre-Conference meeting of School directors was held in the afternoon, chaired by Robert Clancy. The main topic of discussion was, "What is the job of a Henry George School director?"

A round robin among the directors produced varying answers, but there was a core of agreement. The basic job of a School director is the conducting of classes in Fundamental Economics and related subjects. Around this, other jobs present themselves -- attracting students, training teachers, raising funds, creating a good institutional image, and thinking in long-range terms -- both with respect to the School and the economic philosophy it teaches.

There was some difference of opinion as to the responsibility of the director in holding the continued interest of the students after they have completed the basic course. Some felt it was up to the student to show interest and decide what he would do| others felt the School should try to stimulate the continued interest of the students, and a few felt this was the most important aspect of a director's job. However, all agreed that it is the aim of the School to spark active and continued interest on the part of its students.

There was also some discussion on the matter of related organizations in the same city as a School extension. What kind of problem do they pose, and how can they co-operate without getting in each other's way? One case is that of the Public Revenue Education Council in St. Louis. Another is that of the Institute for Economic Inquiry in Chicago, which also retains the use of the name Henry George School of Social Science, thus resulting in some confusion. It was agreed that frank and friendly discussions on the part of all concerned would be of mutual benefit.

On Thursday morning a School session on getting students was held. [The director chairing this discussion] commented that it is difficult to attract students … as they either want regular academic education or training for job skills. [Another director] told of his efforts to get students and set up classes, including a special class in a business college in which 30 enrolled and 29 completed (one student having been dropped for infraction of school attendance rules). [The director] feels this is a fruitful avenue that has been opened and hopes to explore it further.

There was another special session for directors on Friday morning. One of the topics discussed was the matter of awards to be presented to outstanding Georgists. There was continuing interest in this subject which was broached at the 1966 Conference. It was felt that it could be an annual award (a plaque or medal) presented by the Henry George School to the "outstanding Georgist of the year". An alternative suggestion was that the International Union make the award every time an International Conference is held. The matter will be further pursued.

Another topic at this session was the situation in [one extension location], where the Director … finds it difficult to keep up many different chores, and be answerable to various persons and, groups, including the Board of the extension, the Alumni Group and New York headquarters. Other directors concurred in urging that the "chain of command" be clarified and simplified, and that the director should consider himself responsible first and foremost for the job of forming classes, other jobs to be undertaken as time and facilities permit.

Robert Tideman told of special activities in Northern California. He considers the branch system set up a few years ago to have proven successful. Within the past year the Sacramento branch has been enlarged to take advantage of the interest aroused by the election of Irene Hickman as assessor. Mr. Tideman has made appearances on radio and TV, and the Northern California extension has sponsored two TV shows -- one on property assessments and one on land tenure problems in Vietnam.

In Los Angeles too, the director, Harry Pollard, has been active in broadcasting. He put in 23.5 hours in July on KPFK alone (a subscription FM station), and has appeared on other radio and TV shows. Mr. Pollard assisted in obtaining newspaper publicity for the Montreal Conference, and this led to the suggestion that at future Conferences there be workshop sessions on such matters as publicity.

Sunday morning was the final session, chaired by John Tetley, and included evaluation and future plans. It was readily agreed that this was a constructive and heartening Conference. For future Conferences the following suggestions were made: Have separate work sections on different subjects which delegates can choose. Do not take off so much time for recreation (e.g., Expo could have been visited before or after the Conference). Tap more talent, make more use of the people who attend.