Author Topic: Maine Times - The Selling of Hyde  (Read 140 times)

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Offline survivorami

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Maine Times - The Selling of Hyde
« on: November 16, 2021, 07:35:41 PM »
[Maine Times - The Selling of Hyde
Article link: https://archive.org/details/mt-16-jun-1978-1/

"Hyde is the model of a new education system. Keep that in mind and accept that it is so. Hyde is already effectively confronting segments of the present system of educating and raising kids in this country. Accept that fact. Hyde is presenting to families in America a vision of the type of relationships that should exist in families. Most of us accept this already."

ON A COLD January night last winter, Joe Gauld, the ebullient, founder of Hyde School, invited to dinner a dozen or so Bath community leaders. He wanted to know what really had poured the city on Hyde, an experimental prop school whose towering goal is to emancipate the public school system.

As it turned out, Gauld did most of the talking . . . and shouting and name-calling. Before the four-hour encounter was over; he mode a proposition to the group: school board members, representatives of the city Council and influential citizens.

Gauld said he wanted to take over the Bath public schools and the entire community to use as an innovative educational laboratory.

?We would be a workshop for the nation,? said Sally Haggett, chairwoman of the Bath school board: ?From birth to death everyone - would be integrated into a unified educational system with the Hyde philosophy of character building to reach one's 'unique potential' as the basis."   

Hyde then would be able to achieve its deserved national recognition for finding the way to educate people, Gauld suggested. The city of Bath would gain too, as Hyde headmaster Ed Legg later elaborated.

Both could become a leading educational, cultural, commercial and industrial center. The finest, most committed teachers would flock there, as well as top people from all professions, Legg said. His dream for Bath seemed to have no bounds. He envisioned property values and personal income going up, unemployment and juvenile crime dropping and school athletic teams that would be the best. (Athletics is as important at Hyde as academics, and all students are required to participate).

Legg also said that if Hyde and the community joined hands, he could see them together solving growing social problems, like wife beating and alcoholism.

Gauld told the city leaders there could be no compromise; either they were with him and Legg, his protege or they were against him. If the city rejected Hyde's plan, Gauld and Legg threatened to cut off their students' community work with elementary school-students and focus Hyde's energy on another, more appreciative city.


The city leaders rejected Hyde's offer. Haggett said she wasn't even startled by the proposal because Hyde has always been open "about wanting to change the world." In retaliation, Legg suspended Hyde students' work with Fisher Elementary School and Elmhurst, a state home for children. (The programs were reinstated by Hyde trustees.)

Relations between Hyde and community lenders were basically broken off. The confrontation was inevitable, Haggett believes. "Hyde wants to be big nationally. Joe Gauld knows the only way Hyde can be sold to the nation is to show that it has worked in a community like this," she said. "We are a real thorn in their side because they have not been able to take us over."

Haggett said that Hyde has some positive approaches to education that can work in the public school setting, but because Gauld and Legg come on like steamrollers, people are wary of them. "Some citizens, Haggett included, view Hyde as a cult seeking salvation of a person's spirit and mind. "Like any religion, they are zealous and are so convinced they are right they have to proselytize."


A former Hyde teacher, who quit his job lost year, said that "Hyde attracts the religious-oriented types. The kind of dedication one gets into is almost like any ministry, and your life is not your own at the end, Hyde is always shooting for your conversion," said the teacher.

Hyde was true to its word in seeking out another community to take over Portland. Hyde is getting comfortably entrenched in Reiche School, an elementary school of mostly low-income students, and Legg said that he expects to work out cooperative programs with the city junior and senior high schools.

"Portland is better for us. It's urban and will give us more recognition," said Legg. "But we gave Bath the first crack."

However, Legg still hasn't given up on Both. In a defiant move, Legg applied for superintendent of schools. He recently accused the school board of deliberately snubbing him because they didn't send him an acknowledgement of his. application. Their inaction showed "spite, ego and sloppy management," he said in a letter to school board chairwoman Haggett.

About the same time Hyde got the rebuff from Bath, it also got disappointing news from the federal Job Corps.

Last January, the Job Corps signed a $73,383 contract with Hyde to try out the Hyde leadership und training program on Job Corps trainees. The first phase of the three-phase program was for Hyde to tour five Job Corps centers with their musical-historical drama, America's Spirit.

Actress Ruth Warrick, a member of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, had seen an America's Spirit production in New York and "thought the arts would be the way to crack the tough cover the (Job Corps) kids have." Hyde's mission was to show Job Corps trainees, mostly young dropouts-from the inner cities, how they could build up their self-confidence and self-motivation and be more desirable in the job market.

At the time of the signing of the contract Gauld had said, "The door is opening for Hyde . . . this could prove to be a new beginning for American education. The ghetto may very well be the Valley Forge of the educational system."

"We are committed people. People we are in contact with say we are a breath of fresh air to them." Ed Legg

But when the project fell through, Legg announced that it was Hyde rejecting the Job Corps rather than the other way around as the Job Corps says. He said he wasn't interested in the Job Corps because it wasn't interested in character building. The government just wanted a nice trainee recruitment gimmick, he said.

There is no doubt that the failure of Hyde to move in on the Bath public schools and the Job Corps were significant setbacks. But already Legg is viewing them as learning lessons, rather than rejections of Hyde's philosophy of education.

And if one vehicle for Hyde runs out of gas, Gauld and Legg find another one. They are never without plans for achieving their "national commitment" goals, which simply is to become the national model for education.

"You've got to credit Hyde," said Audrey Alexander, principal of Fisher Elementary School across the street from Hyde. "They are constantly open and searching to see what's the best vehicle for them to reach their goals. And they are spreading their ideas."

Here are some of the major developments at Hyde over the last three years that have changed the coed boarding school from a kind of rigorous military boot camp filled with problem teenagers to a "new leadership school of achievers? with more affluent parents.

-Hyde has developed regional groups across the country but primarily in the East, and parents and Hyde alumni are working hard to convert their friends and neighbors to the Hyde way.

-Ultimately, the regional groups' aim is to establish their own Family Learning centers, such as the one on the Bath campus. The center 'is where parents learn what steps they can take to further their growth as individuals and as parents." according to a Hyde admissions brochure. Parents use sensitivity training in group sessions and give each other grades on growth, partially based on this level of financial commitment.

-Joe Gauld is constantly traveling across the country, using national television and newspapers to sell Hyde. He is coming out this year with a book about Hyde's educational experience (to be published by Bantam Books). Gauld hopes it will be popular enough to sell in grocery stores, where it would reach a mass market.

-They Gauld and Legg are establishing relationships with important people in the arts and political circles, such as Broadway producer Ted Mann and his wife, opera singer Patricia Brooks, and Mimi Lee, wife of the acting governor of Maryland. Mann has given over his Circle-In-The-Square Theater to Hyde's America's Spirit production several times. His wife has raised $210 for Hyde with a thrift sale and cleared $3,000 for Hyde with a benefit recital in Alice Tully Hall. Mimi Lee has opened the governor's mansion in Annapolis to America's Spirit and introduced Hyde people to her and the governor's social and political friends. Both Mann and Lee have or had children at Hyde. (Lee said her household is divided over 'the goodness' of Hyde, with one son and her husband believing there are 'fanatics' and 'demented' to another son and daughter who think 'Hyde can do no wrong.' Mimi Lee said she's aware of their good and bad points.)

-And not the least of Hyde's plan is America's Spirit. Hyde's most widely appealing self-promotional enterprise.

Continued in reply..
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 07:20:53 PM by survivorami »

Offline survivorami

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Re: Maine Times - The Selling of Hyde
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2021, 07:37:31 PM »
Continued from post...

Actually, Hyde found its most effective vehicle almost accidentally. Hyde, in patriotic fashion, wanted to do something special for the Bicentennial celebration and come up with its own original play to depict the pioneer spirit of the founding of America.   

Within two years, America's Spirit had grown into a full-fledged curriculum for Hyde, which [illegible] believes is very unique.

At Hyde, a student is required to participate in the America's Spirit curriculum, which includes singing and dancing. Legg, who writes the scripts, designed a five-stage growth process through which students must pass to reach the Hyde standard for personal development.

Academic study are important parts of the America's Spirit program, but traditional public school grading is not done. Success at Hyde is measured more by character growth. Students are given two sets of grades: one for academic performance and one for personal growth. Diplomas are withheld from students who do not grow enough.

Through their own students, Gauld and Legg found that America's Spirit could provide a "learning and growing opportunity" for people of all ages. The 1977 summer school production of Johnny Appleseed by Bath public school kids and the recent Reiche School play, Marie of Maine (both produced with the leadership of Hyde) indicated, even critics agree, that the musical production vehicle can challenge children in a positive manner.

And Hyde has found itself as an educational innovator in an area the public schools are the weakest, the arts.

Still, most public schools in Maine are not ready to turn over the regular school time to Hyde-created programs. There has always been a strong feeling in Maine that private and public schools shouldn't mix. Also, the public-school emphasis now is not on the arts but on the basics. "Parents want their tax dollars working and judge schools by how well their children can read, write and cipher, not how well they can dance and sing," said Haggett.

ED LEGG is a Texan by birth and trained as a lawyer. He was director at Hyde before he was named headmaster in the fall of 1975 after Gauld resigned to take over the national commitment drive. "I know ultimately that this community (Hyde) will come through and will become the model school, offering a re-spiritualization of the country, and beyond that, of all people," he said. When Legg took over, Hyde was at a crossroads.

Gauld had opened the school in 1966 in an old mansion. It was not easy to attract students because Hyde's unusual approach to education was untested. Gauld decided to recruit misfits, who hadn't been able to make it in school anywhere else. "There were a lot of affluent suburban kids with a maid complex," said Legg.

In Hyde's early years, the school quickly earned a reputation for "barbaric" treatment of students, recalled Legg. Students who disobeyed the strict rules of behavior at Hyde were given "heavy thinking-time punishments," which translated into pointless physical labor, such as digging dirt pits six feet by six feet and filling them up. Some students were spanked by Gauld or thrown into the campus pond or made to wear signs describing their personal growth failures. There were runaways and dropouts [and sometimes] fights broke out after sports games between Hyde and public-school students.

To make things worse, Gauld couldn't squeeze the kind of commitment he wanted from the students' families. It was his belief that the entire family had to support the Hyde philosophy, or it wouldn't take with the student. Lack of interest by parents also resulted in critical fundraising problems, which eventually led Gauld to turn over the job of headmaster to Legg.

Legg admits now that the school spent so much time trying to tame its unruly student body and worrying about financing that its national commitment goals got lost.

"We realized it was a choice between picking up every stray dog in the neighborhood or developing this model of education," Legg said. A fire in the mansion deliberately set by one of. the students made the Hyde administration more certain that it had to attract a different kind of student.

Hyde went out looking for "doers," said Legg; students drawn, not forced, to Hyde's philosophy. Acceptance was based largely upon the "quality of family commitment" to Hyde; the school didn't bother with those parents and students who weren't interested in giving until it hurt, personally and financially.

Initially the Hyde student body dropped from 200 to 160, as the campus ridded itself of the uncommitted and the losers. Fortunately for Hyde, their new direction came at a time when it was popular for adults to be "born again" to a cause.

Dr. Greg Carbone, a veterinarian in Arlington, Virginia, who is director of Hyde's fund-raising chores, commented: "Adolescents have dreams. The one thing the school says is to go ahead with your dreams. I found at middle-age the same thing happens about dreams. I needed a commitment to fulfill my potential and I have done things with Hyde I didn't think I could do before. So have a lot of parents." Carbone became instrumental in developing the new Family Learning Center, and parents now put pressure on parents for money, so the administration doesn't have to.

"We are founding a better way, and we can do no less than Jefferson: pledging our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."- Joe Gauld

Until Legg become headmaster, Hyde had not done much community action work. Audrey Alexander said she had often looked across the street and longed to have some kind of cooperative program between older and younger students.

Hyde students first began to work at Fisher aiding teachers, tutoring and teaching physical education in the fall of 1975. In the spring, Hyde and Fisher sponsored a field day, and the response from students and faculty was so great the two schools began expiring the possibility of funding a summer' program and a [illegible].

"Community action seemed the way Hyde wanted to go to reach their goals," said Alexander. "and they went out wholeheartedly with us. Of course. Hyde never does anything halfway on parents for money, so the administration doesn't have to.

Quote
We are founding a better way, and we can do no less than Jefferson: pledging our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
Joe Gauld

Until Legg become headmaster, Hyde had not done much community action work. Audrey Alexander said she had often looked across the street and longed to have some kind of cooperative program between older and younger students.

Hyde students first began to work at Fisher aiding teachers, tutoring and teaching physical education in the fall of 1975. In the spring, Hyde and Fisher sponsored a field day, and the response from students and faculty was so great the two schools began expiring the possibility of funding a summer' program and a [illegible].

"Community action seemed the way Hyde wanted to go to reach their goals," said Alexander. "and they went out wholeheartedly with us. Of course. Hyde never does anything halfway. It's all or nothing."

The application for federal education funds for the planned program was too late, so Hyde took the idea to the city school principals, suggesting that the Fisher-Hyde cooperative venture be expanded throughout the public school system. High school students could go through a leadership training course at Hyde, Legg said. Ultimately, he said, senior citizens could be included.

Superintendent of schools Clifford Tinkham turned down the Hyde proposal, saying the city didn't have funds for such a program.

Undaunted, Hyde financed its own modest summer school program in 1976 with 45 elementary school children in cooperation with Fisher School, and everyone agreed at the end of the summer that the program was worth pursuing. Meanwhile, Hyde applied for federal funds and money from the Braitmeyer Foundation in Boston but was turned down. In both cases, the primary reason for rejection was that there was not enough evidence of support from the local public-school administration.

It was at that point that underlying tensions between city officials and Hyde began to become visible. Alexander cooled to Hyde because Hyde students failed to keep their commitments to Fisher students during the joint fall program. The Hyde students wouldn't show up because America's Spirit rehearsals were called unexpectedly, she said. "The school had begun to revolve around the play," she said, and communications between the two schools fell short.

Alexander had basically pulled out of much involvement when the second summer school program rolled around in 1977. Hyde asked the school board for a token $1,000 to support an extra teacher because Hyde had been swamped with 140 applications from children to enroll. Superintendent Tinkham was opposed. He told the Portland Press Herald, "I don't want the public school system to be used by Hyde school. I have a gut feeling that this is the case. I question from whence you come and what is your motivation . . . and I'm not sure it's good for the city of Bath."

Over the objections of Tinkham, the school board approved the $1,000. Last summer, the program was expanded to include performing arts, and the children put on Johnny Appleseed... In the fall, Hyde developed a proposal again for federal education funds, and the school board refused to support it.
School board chairwoman Haggett said the board turned them down because "it was the wrong funding mechanism," but it was clear that the board wasn't interested in helping Hyde. "It made Hyde quite angry and serious problems developed between us.' The standoff led to Gauld's calling of the January meeting.

"It boiled down to feeling pushed around by Hyde [illegible] what we thought the taxpayers and citizens wanted us to [illegible]," [said] Haggett.

"Joe Gauld thought that because parents supported the summer programs, they would support a full-year program. But parents said, 'Watch out for Hyde.'"

Most of the education at Hyde comes from America's Spirit today, said Haggett. "Joe Gauld thinks that more than three hours in the classroom is a waste of time. Hyde is not strong on traditional kinds of learning.

"He wants to take the kids apart and put them back together again.
I don't see how it can work when you only have the kids for a few hours a day. Total change the way Hyde wants to do it can be done only when you have the children 24 hours a day like Hyde, and the total commitment of the school board, teachers and administration. But I don't see that as the public [illegible]," [said] Haggett

"Joe is a visionary. We need that kind of brain working," said Haggett,"but we won't be run over like a bulldozer. The problem is they think they can run things better than anyone else. And they are always going overboard in whatever they do.

"Since they are experimental, if something doesn't work out, they can change direction overnight," she said, ''but it won't work in a public-school setting."

Legg is defensive about rejection by Bath school officials. He claims it happened because Hyde is a threat to the school establishment. He likes to call educators who don't agree with him "unprofessional." And he says Hyde's critics are more interested in controlling students and the system than in education.

"The future of education in the country for all towns lies in public-private cooperation," said Legg. He was more specific in his letter of implication for the job of superintendent.

"I propose we integrate our educational resources of businessmen, senior citizens, parents, teachers, students and such unique institutions is the Bath Marine Museum, the Bath Performing Arts Center, and of course, Hyde School...

"I believe that putting together such an education center and industry in Bath would become within the next 20 years on operation equivalent to the Bath Iron Works.

"It would be the finest education in the country for our children and for our families and it would attract the finest teachers in America to our community. It would serve as a tremendous inducement to bring top people into the Bath area in all professions since this educational opportunity would be available for their children.

"It would [certainly] increase property values, and it would significantly reduce unemployment. as well as generate an influx of new income." Legg said.

"Because part of my proposal would be to create an America's Spirit humanities program for all the children of Bath, 1 believe that together with the Bath Performing Arts Center, we could, make Bath the cultural center of northern New England. To bring the excitement of America's Spirit into our whole community would be an extraordinary accomplishment."

Legg also said the private-public involvement would open the way to reproducing the "finest athletic teams in the area and reduce juvenile crime significantly. This of course could be accomplished without large new outlays of capital because it would bring the impressive athletic facilities at Hyde directly into the community."

The board had no response to Legg's proposal.

Alexander said she is all for innovation in education and has criticized the staidness of the public school system for years. "It's not responding to needs. But If America 's Spirit were applied in the elementary grades, you ultimately may lose a lot of kids along the way."

Legg is hoping to prove all of his critics wrong with the Reiche School program. Hyde invited itself to Reiche this year and put on America's Spirit. The play was such a hit that students and teachers were interested in how they could do a similar production.

"My husband is not keen about the school. He thinks they are demented..." Mimi Lee

Reiche principal Richard McGarvey said he was told to be cautious about Hyde because they were out "to recruit, a word I heard quite often. I was also told they are aggressive, high pressured but decided to go along with them. By far it's the best thing we've done for our students."

"There was a quality of what we got that surpassed anything we could have done in house. During literature classes, Hyde students came to work, on a play with us." The project became Mazie of Maine, the story of Maine native Mazie Grunwald in the 1800s. "We reached a feeling part of the children we had not. been able to tap before," said McGarvey, ?and we found that our philosophy or expectations of kids was about the same,? that they be respectful, responsible, disciplined, good mannered and expects to start programs with the junior and high schools in Portland.

Referring back to the problem with Bath schools, Legg said, "anyone who has very strong vested interests in wanting the public school system to remain unchanged, we are in confrontation with. We are a direct threat because we can show that our way works in a public setting.

"Hundreds of those in the public school system, committed teachers and principals all over the country, should be tremendously excited over what we are doing because teachers have been reduced to being a traffic cop. A dot of those people had their careers linked to something that hasn't worked as well as they had hoped. We have developed a better widget for them."

For now, Hyde is about to embark on a busy summer touring season with the new Roots and Wings version of America's Spirit. Hyde will return to the Circle-In-The-Square Theater in New York for the third year, and the Kennedy Performing Arts Center for the second year. There will be numerous showings in Maine too.

Expansion of on-campus facilities also has priority. A new $400,000 dormitory is planned as well as expansion of the student union and gym. Tuition has increased to $6,900 per year to cover the rising cost of operating Hyde.

Another major project off-campus is development of. a Family Learning Center in Beverly, Mass., and a local PTA program "that really works." Hyde is also loyally working on a "model" to integrate older generations into the community. "There should be day care in public schools and senior centers in school facilities. Rut people are not even thinking about these things," complained Legg. "Teachers are more interested in union concerns and the school administration is interested in how to negotiate with the unions. They are thinking of vested interests, not the interests of the students and community."

The Hyde Concept

HYDE is a different educational experience from the regular public school. Students are accepted because they are achievers and want to be leaders. Character building, not academic achievement, is the most important daily ambition of a Hyde student.

Character building at Hyde is done in different ways. In years past, when the student body was composed largely of students who had not fit in elsewhere, it was accomplished through physical punishment, personal humiliation and strenuous group sensitivity sessions. Today, because the student has been upgraded, there is not as much need for force and authoritarianism; the students, according to administrators, are willing to be led and believe in the Hyde principles.

The traditional academic curriculum is used to challenge a student's intellectual potential, potential being a key word. Community action work, sports and the America's Spirit curriculum are used to teach the students how to reach their overall potential by doing. At almost every - turn, a student is. required to write about his experiences, analyze them and verbalize about the typical routine at Hyde is similar to that in the public schools in which there are college preparatory classes in chemistry, physics, math, political science, history and English. But there are also blocks of time for working with younger elementary school students, in nursing homes or researching a new theme for America's Spirit.

Hyde students are graded on their academic work and their character growth. Personal growth marks are given by a student's peers at encounter sessions. Students who have reached their "unique potential" are awarded a high school diploma. Those who didn't do so well are given a certificate and may return for a diploma later if they can prove to the school they have met the Hyde standards for personal excellence. Hyde is accredited and chartered both for academics and character growth by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

by Phyllis Austin
Photography by Tom Jones
June 1978

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