Education: Drop the Straitjacket

Anybody who believes that U.S. schools are teaching too much trivia can get inspiration and support from Historian Arthur E. Bestor of the University of Illinois, who is a sort of self-appointed conscience of U.S. education. Professor Bestor stirred up angry storms of controversy with his Educational Wastelands (TIME. Nov. 16, 1953), an extensive, documented attack on the "narrow group of specialists in pedagogy" who, Bestor claims, control U.S. schools. Those who thought that Wastelands was his final word of denunciation did not reckon on Bestor's persistency—or his thoroughness.

The Conflict Deepens. His...

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