This I Believe

Dodineau, Arthur

  • Arthur Dodineau, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools, talks about the foundational experiences he had as a boy growing up on a farm in rural Michigan, and his faith in teachers, religion and the future of the United States.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Arthur Dodineau is a native of Michigan, who has served his state for forty years as teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools. He graduated from the Michigan Central Normal College and the University of Michigan, and worked his way up through the Detroit Public School system, where for the past seven years, he has occupied the top post.
What are the beliefs of a man who has spent his life guiding the development of young minds? This is Arthur Dodineau's creed.
The beliefs and philosophy which have governed my activities in a single professional occupation throughout a long and personally gratifying career, I had held since my boyhood and early manhood. Forty-one years ago, I started on the road which has led me to my present position. A boy, in a family of eleven children, in a frontier section of Michigan, I was afforded the education of a pioneer one-room school, and the inspiration of a very intelligent, Christian mother.
In that framework, there were early experiences which shaped for me a philosophy with which to meet the vicissitudes of public service. Attitudes, ideals, and habits were built from the routine of farm life, enriched by fishing in the neighboring stream and trapping through the adjacent woods. Whatever degree I possess of patience, or of other personal qualities so valuable for an administrator--courage of convictions, waiting power, consideration of others--these and others had their beginning in that boyhood period.
In dealing with the many employees over whom I have had supervision,
as well as with the public whom I serve, I have learned the value of being objective, unbiased, patient, and cooperative. Through the years, it has been my privilege to know personally and to work with thousands of teachers. I have never been disillusioned in my faith in the fine attitude and service of the great majority of them. I have found few drones among them. On the whole, they feel a shared responsibility, and they are undividedly concerned for the successful operation of the school organization.
One final and fundamental tenant in my philosophy of life is, of course, that
of religion. In reviewing my years in public service, I appreciate and understand more clearly the part that faith in God has meant to me personally, in providing a plan and a purpose, convictions and courage. Further, my experience has confirmed me in the belief that the vast majority of our teachers are associated with some church and are genuinely imbued with the basic value of religion. Our public schools contribute truly to the religious life of the nation, as well as to the social and political life of the country.
Finally, I am convinced that as long as young men and women are confirmed in their love of country, church, and the American way of life, and if, recognizing the opportunities for service, they will develop their abilities and make their talents available where they will count most, the future and welfare of our country will continue to be advanced.
There the beliefs of Arthur Dodineau, superintendent of the Detroit, Michigan Public Schools. His balanced outlook on life has helped to mold the lives of two generations of young Detroiters.