The Lessons of Longfellow Elementary

A parent looks at the problems and promise of a neighborhood school

Heather Holley celebrated her fifth birthday a few weeks ago. Heather is boundlessly energetic, endlessly curious, joyously alive – in short, a typical five-year-old. As a typical father of a five-year-old, I’ll watch with mingled pride and sadness when my little girl starts to school in a few days. And therein lies the problem: what kind of school, public or private, is best for a bright, sensitive child like Heather?

“The common school is the greatest discovery of mankind,” Horace Mann proclaimed, and while most parents would never have been quite so enthusiastic, public schools, until just a few years ago, enjoyed broad public support. Private schools were considered the sanctuaries of a privileged few, and the public schools, while far from perfect, generally did the job that parents expected them to do.

Not so today. Public schools, particularly big-city schools, are facing, for a variety of reasons, a crisis of public confidence which could conceivably lead to a breakdown of the system itself. The confident attitude of Horace Mann has been replaced by that of Crisis in the Classroom author Charles Silberman: “The public schools are the kind of institution one cannot really dislike until one gets to know them well.”

So for my daughter’s sake, I tried to get to know well the public school she would be attending. I discovered that the school in our neighborhood represents in microcosm the problems as well as the promise of urban public schools. The problems are real, but I also discovered that the breakdown of public schools is far from inevitable, that learning can and does take place in a public school, that the public schools may be able to teach some lessons that even the best private schools cannot teach.

The attractive two-story school building near the busy Inwood-Lovers Lane intersection in North Dallas bears the name of that genial nineteenth century poet of the middle class – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One of the few naturally integrated elementary schools in Dallas, Longfellow has never experienced the racial conflicts, disruption, and discipline problems that often accompany integration efforts, perhaps because integration came as a result of housing patterns and not through busing.

The DISD opened Longfellow in 1947. It was “a gleaming structure” – according to the Times Herald – “costing some $362,000,” built to serve the solid middle and upper-middle class neighborhoods in the Inwood-Lovers Lane area. The Longfellow boundaries remain essentially the same today: from near the North Dallas Tollway to a few blocks west of Inwood and from Northwest Highway to a few blocks south of Mockingbird. Most Longfellow students come from three distinct neighborhoods: North Dallas-Love Field, Greenway Crest, and Preston Park.

When Longfellow opened, the North Dallas-Love Field area was a white middle class neighborhood; today it is predominantly black middle and lower-middle class. Residents of the area include teachers, postal workers, and people who work at Love Field or D-FW. Only a portion of the neighborhood is in the Longfellow district; most children in the area go to an all-black school closer to Love Field. Some black parents at Longfellow say their children are afraid of children from the all-black school, whom they describe as lower class.

Across Inwood from the black neighborhood is Greenway Crest, an area of small, neat brick or stone cottages directly adjacent to the school. The homes, in the $25,000 to $40,000 range, are owned primarily by longtime residents, many of them older or retired, although some young families have been moving in. According to one resident, some home-owners tried to organize in the early Sixties to keep black families from moving across Inwood into Greenway Crest, but nothing much came of it, and today a few black families live in the area.

Preston Park is a similar, although somewhat larger, middle-class neighborhood north of Lovers Lane between Inwood and the tollway. Most of Longfellow’s white students come from this area.

Preston Park merges a few blocks south of Northwest Highway into Highway Estates, an area of winding lanes, heavily wooded lots, and beautiful $60,000-and-up homes. A few children from Highway Estates go to Longfellow, but most attend private schools.



At the southern end of the Longfellow district is Greenway Parks, one of the loveliest areas in Dallas. Every man in Greenway Parks is a member of the Greenway Parks Homeowners Association, organized to collect and dispense mandatory fees from each resident to maintain the extensive neighborhood park system and to make other neighborhood improvements. The association has also, on occasion, bought homes put on the market by residents of the area in order to make sure the new resident will be “desirable.”

For the women, there is the Green-way Parks Woman’s Club, and although membership in the club is voluntary, every woman in the area is a member.

One resident, whose husband is active in the Homeowners Association, has lived in Greenway Parks for twenty-six years, and she is proud of her closely-knit community. “The people who live here,” she explains, “are people who have pride, a desire to achieve, people who are making their own way in the world.

“We do not have any vandalism out here. Our children are well behaved, they come from good homes, with good training, good blood you might say. Oh, we have some street lights broken out now and then, but it’s always by outsiders driving through. Our children just don’t make trouble.

“Some of the homes in Greenway Parks are quite modest,” she says, “somewhere in the $60,000 range. And then we have homes that go on up into the $200,000 range.

“People out here have a lot of money invested, and they want to keep things the way they are. They just want to be left alone.”

Three hundred families live in Greenway Parks, many with school-age children, but none of the children attend Longfellow.

In the beginning they did, since Longfellow quickly established its “good school” reputation. Prominent Dallas names – Earle Cabell, Henry S. Miller, Hayden Fry, John Stem-mons – were on the list of Longfellow parents. Longfellow students did well in various district-wide contests, and achievement test scores consistently ranked with the best in Dallas.

Velma Williams, Longfellow’s first-grade teacher, remembers those early years. A short, peppery grandmother-type with graying blonde hair and boundless energy, Mrs. Williams began her teaching career in 1936. “I was teaching health and physical education in West Dallas when Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were on the loose,” she says.

Mrs. Williams moved to Longfellow in 1953, a year when 955 students were enrolled in the school. “We had to send all of our seventh grade to Rusk (Junior High) we were so crowded,” she recalls. “That’s when the DISD was economizing with one teacher doing the work of two so we had to teach two second grades on a platoon system. We had thirty-nine teachers here at Longfellow that year.”

Two years before Mrs. Williams arrived at Longfellow, enrollment had climbed to 1020. Since then, enrollment has declined almost every year, dropping below 500 for the first time in 1960-61. Last year (1974-75), it was down to 272, hardly taxing a building that once echoed with the voices of a thousand students. At present there are 11 teachers.



Several reasons account for the decline in enrollment, one of them a declining national birth rate that has relieved crowding and put teachers out of work around the country. Several neighborhoods in the Longfellow area are now characterized as “mature” neighborhoods, where there are relatively few school-age children. And Dallas schools, like most big-city schools, continue to lose students to the suburbs and to private schools. This so-called “white flight” increases the percentage of minority students in the schools, and thereby causes still more white flight.



The two factors – lack of confidence and misinformation – that led to an exodus from schools like Longfellow are implicit in the comments of some Greenway Parks residents. Allen and Bonnie Cobb represent that growing segment of society – upper middle class, well educated, professional – which simply has no faith in the public school system. Their three children were attending private schools long before they moved into the Longfellow district. “There might be some excellent public schools somewhere,” Mrs. Cobb laughs, “but I don’t know of any. Public schools,” she explains, “just do not offer the personal attention and teacher training that private schools offer.”



A resident who asks to remain anonymous comments, “We have several young couples in Greenway Parks, but frankly the children here go to private schools.” She is surprised to be asked why. “The reasons are obvious,” she explains. “There are not any white children going to that school. If they have white students, they’re bused in from somewhere else.”

No students, black or white, are bused to Longfellow, although black students from Arlington Park School were brought to Longfellow for one year while a new building was being constructed. Although it took place in 1969, that incident is apparently the source for the notion that Longfellow students are bused.



Integration came to Longfellow in 1961, when, after a five and a half year struggle in the courts, the DISD was forced to integrate eight of its schools. Longfellow was one of them. “I remember very well the morning we had integration,” Mrs. Williams recalls. “Mr. Nutley, our principal at that time, said pull down all your shades so people from the outside couldn’t look in and disrupt our classes.

“I remember a lady came from across the street with two little girls, they were twins, dressed like little dolls, to enroll them in the first grade. Those stinking photographers ran along with them trying to get pictures like they were animals or something. Another parent tried to come in from E. M. Kahn across the street because the news people couldn’t come on the school grounds, but they ran along the sidewalk with them, wouldn’t leave them alone. But other than that, there was not one ounce of trouble. It has always worked very smoothly.”

Today the situation is vastly different from those early years of integration at Longfellow, but Bobby Joe Simmons does all he can to keep things running smoothly. In his fifth year as principal at Longfellow, Mr. Simmons is a soft-spoken black man whose youthful appearance belies his forty years. He is sometimes criticized for not being forceful enough – by some parents who feel he accepts too readily “Ross Avenue” dictates; by some teachers who feel he should be tougher on the children – but no one questions his dedication to Longfellow School. “I’ll tell you one thing,” a Longfellow teacher remarks, “he loves this school. He lives way over in Oak Cliff, but he never leaves here till late in the afternoon.”

Another teacher related the following episode to show how Mr. Simmons works. “He is so concerned, so sensitive,” she says. “He does everything he can to be as nice as he can to everybody – the PTA, the teachers, everybody. I remember a student who was always in trouble. She was crosseyed, I think that was part of her problem. One day she was eating in class. I mean she came up to the desk and I smelled Fritos on her breath, I saw salt on her lips, and I found an empty Fritos package in her desk after she left. I sent her to Mr. Simmons, and he came up later and said she had told him she hadn’t been eating in class, and that was that.”

“My first year as a principal at Longfellow [1971],” Mr. Simmons remembers, “we were approximately 65% white, 34% black, and 1% other. By 1974 it made almost a complete reverse. We are now approximately 66 or 67% black, 31 or 32% white, and the rest other. I really feel it might even increase next year. It might be 75% black.”

Most studies indicate that when black enrollment in an integrated school approaches 50%, the odds are that the school will soon become all-black. Mr. Simmons worries about that. “Some parents will call and ask for an appointment to tour the building,” he explains. “They say they are planning to move into the area, and that they would like just to see the school. I welcome them. Then they ask the question, ’What is your ethnic ratio?’ I give them the ratio, they thank me, and I never see them again.” He laughs softly, not without a trace of bitterness.

Jane Greer, former PTA president, explains that “it’s getting blacker because the white people don’t come, and the white people don’t come because it’s getting blacker. The only people we have here are people who are interested enough to investigate, but we lose so many of them who just drive by and say ’that’s a nigger school; I don’t want my kids going to school there.’ And they never look any further. It’s so frustrating. I wouldn’t have my kids go anywhere else.”

The increasing number of black students at Longfellow does mean more students who are “educationally handicapped” or “culturally deprived,” educationese for children who never see a book or magazine in their home, who have never had stories read to them, who have not been taught to count or how to print their names – children who have missed all the little learning games and activities that are an integral part of middle-class child rearing. Consequently, overall test results, usually a source of pride for North Dallas schools, are declining at Longfellow. Of thirty-three kindergarten children tested in 1974-75, for example, sixteen were classified as ” educationally handi -capped.” Although the second grade was working at the fourth-grade level and the first grade was slightly above average, all other grades showed below average scores in reading, language, and arithmetic.

Bobby Simmons readily admits that the increasing number of educationally handicapped students at Longfellow makes the school’s task more difficult, but he denies emphatically that the bright student will be ignored or held back. “We will appear low in comparison to a school in far North Dallas where you have nothing but upper-middle class children attending those schools. Those students have all the kinds of experiences that would go to enhance a child’s education. Many of these children have not had those kinds of experiences. When we take the achievement tests each year you can see that the children who have the potential are certainly achieving above average in regard to their grade levels. They will be able to compete with any junior high student in the Dallas Independent School District.”

Jane Greer agrees. “Individually my children are working at a seventh and eighth grade level, and they are in the fifth and sixth grade, and that’s not measured just against kids at Longfellow.”

A visitor to Longfellow is impressed initially with the quietness of the place. Even when classes change, there is little noise and hubbub, and the spotless halls, lined with tan lockers and painted a cheerful yellow, never seem crowded. In the large, airy classrooms, many of the teachers have replaced the traditional rows of desks with tables and study areas.

Classroom visits and discussions with parents, teachers, and students would seem to indicate that academically Longfellow is as good as most Dallas elementary schools and – because of its small enrollment – perhaps better than most. Many of the teachers use various methods to individualize instruction, and some lower-grade teachers, particularly kindergarten teacher Marti Campbell, use modified “open-classroom” approaches.

The “open classroom,” made famous by Charles Silberman in Crisis in the Classroom, attempts to replace large-group instruction with individualized learning. Mr. Simmons is all for it. “We do not teach children on a group basis,” he explains. “We specialize in individualized instruction. Wherever the child is, we work with that child at his particular level.”

Mrs. Williams says that “no child in my room stays on the same page. They go as fast as they can go.” Mrs. Williams, whose husband was for thirty-four years a principal in the Highland Park schools, is quick to assert that “we have teachers here as fine as Highland Park has.” She says that if she had to choose for her grandson between Longfellow and Highland Park, she would choose Longfellow, not just because he would get a good education but because “he would learn about the world as it really is.”

Some parents complain about particular teachers, as parents do at most schools, and others would like to see some of the older teachers adopt more progressive methods, but overall most parents seem happy with the educational quality at Longfellow. One parent, whose child transferred to Longfellow from an all-white school, called fifth-grade teacher Ida Flour-noy, “without a doubt the best teacher my child has had in five years of school.”



Mary Fields, a long-time resident of the Greenway Crest area, is one person most definitely not happy with Longfellow School. A distinguished-looking, white-haired lady who runs her own answering service, Mrs. Fields likes to stay involved. She used to go to PTA meetings (“until they quit letting me talk”), and she was chairman of the Dallas Police Department Beat Meeting in her neighborhood (“until I got fired”). She also organized a “garden club” a few years ago “to keep the neighborhood from falling apart when it looked like a black family might be moving in.” Although Mrs. Fields’ children have not gone to Longfellow since the early Sixties, she has made it her goal to close the school.

“There’s just no need for a school east of Inwood since there are so few kids living over here,” she asserts. (A survey she herself conducted turned up eighty-eight Longfellow children living east of Inwood.) “I just think we’re wasting too many tax dollars for the amount of students we’re educating there. And besides, it’s not safe for all those little black kids to cross that busy street when they could go to school in their neighborhood.

“What I’d like to see done is to transfer those students living on this side to Sudie Williams and transfer the others to K.B. Polk. Then what I’d like to see is that building turned into a sub-administration building for the public schools or rent it out or sell it. What we really need to do is get rid of that school: it’s a parasite.”

Mrs. Fields has drawn up boundary lines as she would like to see them, and she occasionally shows her plans to any school board members and school administrators she can get in to see.

Mrs. Fields may be the most vociferous Longfellow critic, but she is by no means the only one. “It’s not like it used to be,” one long-time resident of the area lamented. “Black children should go to their own good schools,” another responded to a neighborhood survey conducted by Longfellow parents. “Your parents don’t love you because they don’t send you to private school,” Jane Greer’s children were told by their playmates in the Highway Estates area. “Mr. Simmons is nice, but the black teachers are just lousy teachers,” a fourth grader explained when asked why her parents transferred her to a private school.

And then there are many parents in the Longfellow district who, like the Cobbs, simply believe that private schools are better than public schools. Their decision to invest in private school education is based not on race or on conditions at Longfellow specifically, but on their sincere belief that their children will get a better education at a private school.



For one father (he prefers to remain nameless), who plans to enroll his two children in private school after two years at Longfellow, the decision he and his wife made was not an easy one. He has no complaints about the teachers or about Mr. Simmons; he simply feels uncomfortable when his children are in the minority.

“I grew up in Dallas,” he says, “I went to all-white schools, and I guess I’m a bit conservative. But I try not to be prejudiced, and we try to teach our children not to be prejudiced. But it bothers me when my son comes home talking ’jive talk’ he’s picked up from his black classmates. Or when I was over at the soccer game yesterday and three black kids were picking on Robert [a neighbor boy]. He’d ask them to quit, and they’d say, ’You can’t tell us what to do, you jive-ass white turkey.’ I know the roles have been reversed many times, but – I don’t know – it just makes me wonder what my son might have to put up with.”

Riley and Betty Parker, because of a decision they made in 1971, can perhaps sympathize with that father as he tries to decide what’s best for his children. They took their son Justin, then a fourth-grader, out of an all-white school to enroll him at Longfellow. Riley Parker later wrote to Superintendent Estes that “it was not an easy decision to ask our son to be a guinea pig for our ideals; to leave his friends and enter a totally unfamiliar situation; and to face the disapproval of peers (his and ours).”

Betty Parker recalls the uneasiness she felt sitting in the Longfellow cafeteria with her son that first day of school, wondering if they were doing the right thing. “It was a little scary to me and I think to him at first,” she says.

“The Parkers’ decision to move their son from all-white Dan D. Rogers Elementary to Longfellow came in response to Judge William Taylor’s desegregation decision handed down in the summer of 1971. “The original busing plans came out on Sunday,” Riley Parker recalls, “and by Monday several petitions were being circulated throughout the neighborhood. We didn’t sign any, and throughout the rest of the summer we started looking around for an integrated school. Everybody around us was so negative, we wanted to do something positive.”

When the Parkers told the Dan D. Rogers principal what they intended to do, he was incredulous. He didn’t have the proper forms in his office because “I just never dreamed anybody from here would want one.”

Justin Parker, the “guinea pig” for his parents’ experiment, is now a ninth grader at Cary Junior High. He is a tall, thin young man with dark, fairly long hair. As he sits on the couch in the book-lined Parker living room, his thick glasses make him look like the typical introverted scholar, so his ready wit and conversational ease are at first surprising. At Longfellow, he was the district-wide spelling bee champion in the fifth and sixth grades, and in the seventh grade he captured the county championship.

Riley Parker pronounces the experiment “an unqualified success,” and Justin agrees. He did well academically at Longfellow, as he surely would have done regardless of the school, but he also did well in another area. “At Longfellow he was able to learn the art of human relations,” is the way Riley Parker puts it. Mrs. Parker has observed that Justin “does not seem to be afraid of black people as many of his friends who went to all-white schools seem to be. He’s not afraid of blacks as blacks.”

Justin nods his head in agreement. “At Longfellow I had just as many black friends as white friends and just as many black enemies as white enemies,” he laughs. “The only thing I had to give up when I went to Longfellow was playing the cello because they didn’t have an orchestra. But the way I played it wasn’t much of a loss – for me or the music world.”

The Parkers were forced to cut through red tape each year to keep Justin at Longfellow. “There seemed to be less than total commitment to the ’majority-to-minority transfer’ project on the part of the school administration,” Mr. Parker contends. Justin wanted to go on to Cary Junior High with his Longfellow classmates, but since he would be transferring into a white-majority school, the request was denied. Whereupon, the Parkers sold their home and bought a townhouse in the Cary district.



Wilma Stewart, Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Operations, rejects absolutely any charge that the DISD is not totally committed to integrated education, “but we can’t tell people where to live, and if they move to the suburbs, we can’t stop them. Or if parents have made up their minds to send their children to a private school, nothing we can do will change them.”

DISD actions can, however, force parents into action, as an episode at Longfellow illustrates. In August, 1972, Mr. Simmons learned to his dismay that the district-wide policy of a 27 to 1 teacher/student ratio and the 75% to 25% white/black faculty ratio required that Longfellow give up one teacher. The one to go? The school’s only math teacher. Math duties were to be shared by the art teacher, the music teacher, and the physical education teacher.

Mr. Simmons understood only too well the implication for Longfellow. Longfellow’s enrollment had already declined because of the often legitimate concern about academic quality that usually accompanies integration; educational quality would decline without a qualified math teacher; enrollment would dwindle as those parents who could afford to fled the “inferior” school. Mr. Simmons felt, however, there was little he could do to get the decision reversed.

What he did not count on was the persistence of several Longfellow parents. Dr. and Mrs. Mark Smith, who at the time had three children at Longfellow, soon had a petition with one hundred names on it ready for administrative officials. Letters, calls, visits to Ross Ave. offices followed. “Poor Dr. Estes,” Judy Smith says, “he had a son at Longfellow so I would talk to him [Dr. Estes] about it at every school meeting. He was certainly up on the problem.”

Another parent, Nat Lacy, had lived in the Watts section of Los Angeles during the riots of 1965, and had witnessed more direct methods of getting things done. Mr. Lacy, a professor at Perkins School of Theology, told Bobby Simmons he would do what he could to get him fired if he didn’t get that math teacher back.

It took two years for Longfellow to get another math teacher. “I think we had some effect, but it sure did take a long time,” Judy Smith says.

Wilma Stewart says that “in the smaller schools, we are now giving them more staff than their ratios deserve.” But while the issue was being bandied about for two years in typical bureaucratic fashion, several parents took their children out of Longfellow, and, of course, they didn’t return.

The math teacher episode was a small victory perhaps, but it represents something important – the depth of commitment on the part of parents, both black and white, who want to see Longfellow survive as a vital integrated school offering quality education. Interested, involved parents give Longfellow a true “neighborhood school” feeling and are perhaps the best argument available to busing opponents. Toward the end of his life John Dewey wrote that good schools result when “education is primarily a public business, and only secondarily a specialized vocation.” That seems to be the case at Longfellow.

“The parents that we have here are excellent,” Mr. Simmons agrees. “They support the school. We have approximately thirty people who do most of the work, and they would do anything for Longfellow School. I mean they back it 100%. Many of them are very educated people, and they seemingly are pleased with what’s taking place here.”

Betty Parker remembers being surprised by the Longfellow PTA. “It was really fun to go to PTA. They were not so bothered with protocol, mainly because everybody was so busy trying to help the teachers they had no time for anything else.”

Longfellow’s PTA is different, to some extent because of people like Mrs. Tom Greer. Although other Longfellow parents are just as dedicated, perhaps none are as outspoken and energetic as Jane Greer. In their mid-thirties, the Greers are the parents of three Longfellow children.

Greer” can be found in every effective organization – a person who is tireless, articulate, sometimes abrasive, and who knows how to get things done. Besides a one-year stint as PTA president, Mrs. Greer’s school-related activities run the gamut: serving on the DISD Community Advisory Committee, writing letters-to-the-editor blasts about school board politics (for example, calling for the resignation of former school board member Farrell Ray Jr. for putting his son in a private school), starting a Longfellow Chess Club, stumping the city seeking financial support for a $60,000 community playground to be built on the Longfellow grounds, serving as manager and chief rooter for the two boys’ soccer teams Tom Greer coaches.

And there are others – this year’s PTA president, Mrs. Jack Chance, for example. Gwen Chance, who looks almost young enough to be a Longfellow student, works as an advisor in early childhood education for the Department of Public Welfare. She attended all-black schools while growing up in Dallas, and she wants something different for her two children. “With the world like it is, you cannot be 18 years old and graduate from a predominantly white school or a predominantly black school and go out into the world and expect to get along. If kids start out at a very young age living and working together, they won’t experience the tensions we have known, at least on a racial level.”

Heather Holley, meanwhile, learned to ride her bicycle this summer – on her own, without training wheels, because she wanted to. She also taught herself to whistle and to jump rope – because she wanted to.

That’s the kind of learning that must continue when Heather starts to school in a few days. I want her to be in a school that recognizes and nurtures that innate drive all children have to understand the world in which they live and to gain freedom and competence in it. I don’t want that drive quenched by boredom or by the misplaced notion that learning is a by-product of order.

That kind of learning probably takes place in some of the better private schools; whether it takes place at Longfellow, I don’t know yet, but I’m willing to give the school a chance – because the school is small and close to home, because of the parents who are involved with the school, and because I consider it a vital part of my children’s education to associate with people from a diversity of backgrounds. I’m hopeful, despite a few misgivings. Sometimes I worry, for example, about peer influence in a school where many of the children are educationally handicapped. I worry, not that Heather will be held back, but that she will not be challenged or stimulated by her classmates as perhaps she would be in a good private school. I suppose I’ll know more about that in a few months.

The more I learn about Longfellow School, the more I wonder why the DISD has not worked harder to preserve what it has (and what it may well lose) at Longfellow – a small, vital, naturally integrated school. Obviously, as Mrs. Stewart points out, the DISD cannot tell people-where to live or where to send their children to school, but surely the district could make some effort to encourage parents to keep their children in public schools. I’ve learned about Longfellow from other parents and from teachers and administrators I have sought out, but the DISD has never tried to explain to me or to any other parents I know why our children should be in the public schools. Might not letters, town hall-type meetings, television discussions be useful?

And why not some novel approaches to preserve and sustain schools like Longfellow? Richardson has its Pacesetter Program; other schools around the country are experimenting. Why not Dallas?

Perhaps administrative bureaucracies are almost always remote and shackled by competing demands, which means that people like the Chances, the Greers, and other involved parents – not Ross Avenue administrators – are the key to Longfellow’s future. Still, it is very difficult to predict what will happen at the school. Housing patterns may very well re-segregate it. Dwindling enrollment might force consolidation with a neighboring school, as Mary Fields advocates. And the school might even be closed. (Wilma Stewart says, “I’m still waiting to see how low enrollment can go in several Dallas schools.”) And the Fifth Circuit Court decision may turn everything upside down. As the old poet put it, “The scholar and the world! The endless strife,/The discord in the harmonies of life!” Perhaps Longfellow’s lines are the best description of Longfellow School as it begins another year; perhaps they describe all public schools.

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