Education: Quiet Revolution

The drab British factory towns dominated so long by "dark, Satanic mills" have a striking new landmark: the government-maintained school. More than 4,000 new buildings have risen in the last decade. They are telling symptoms of a quiet revolution wrought by the historic Education Act of 1944. Under the act, British schooling ceased to be an upper-class privilege. Today any child mentally able to make the grade is entitled to a free secondary and university education, a situation unthinkable in caste-bound Britain before World War II.

One out of two Britons still ends his formal schooling at 15, when compulsory attendance stops....

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