Our New [Henry George School] Program

John T. Tetley

[Reprinted from The Gargoyle, September, 1961. Note this article is only partially complete. The latter part of the article was not available in the copy of the original utilized]

A few years ago a famous comedienne on radio, each week began -- "The program will be different tonight." Then the same format was used week after week. The "program" or purpose of The Henry George School is different. The school founded by Oscar H. Geiger was organized to get groups of people together to study the great book written by Henry George -- Progress & Poverty. George presents in this book the possibility of a better life for all people. In developing the thesis, he "simplified" economics -- made it make sense and offered a practical solution to the basic problem of mankind.

Over the years, the Henry George School became an adult education institution specializing in Economics -- particularly emphasizing Henry George's proposal. It is education in the "ideal" set forth by George and his proposal of the means to bring about that ideal, which is the real purpose and program of the school. The Henry George School is not just another adult school teaching economics and related subjects. If it were only that it is very doubtful it could continue year after year offering its services without charge -- attracting the persons it does to contribute of time, effort and funds -- to arouse the desire and the action to bring about the ideal which it has as its ultimate goal.

It has been difficult and expensive to attract people to the study of economics. In spite of the fact that the subject has been presented by this school in a most fascinating manner. Many, many persons who have attended the courses-offered by the school have attested they not only enjoyed the study but found it most helpful. Not all who are exposed to the philosophy and ideal agree with the suggested method to bring it about some persons have actually become hostile. Nevertheless the great truths revealed and the conviction that ultimately the ideal of a better life for all will prevail, encourage many to continue to engage in and support the educational work of the school.

How to reach people to spread the understanding of the ideal and the proposed method of reaching the goal has been my full time job since 1949. Even before I became Director of the N. J. School, I felt it might be more effective and less expensive to "assemble a group" within an organization such as a church, club or a business concern. I tried it and I know others also have tried it. From my own experience I did not meet with much success. I know that many times speakers have appeared before organizations and aroused interest in "Economics". Some individuals indicated an interest to participate in an economics class -- very few actually did. Some organizations before whom speakers appeared even agreed to form a class -- none that I know of ff-ever did. I approached business concerns and the N.J. school sponsored luncheons to which business executives were invited endeavoring to organize study groups. Some interest was aroused but no actual classes were formed.

Back in the days of the great depression, large classes in economics were obtained principally by direct mail and newspaper advertising, in some fifteen cities in New Jersey simultaneously. As years went on and economic conditions improved greater effort and expenditures brought fewer and fewer students. Upon one or two occasions there seemed to be a revived interest but it was not sustained.