Education: Less Circus, More School

On a selected school day in the spring, each senior girl in each high school in Portland, Ore. parades across a stage at her school, as prettily as she is able. A judging committee of six to ten teachers and an equal number of students pick the twelve prettiest. Each girl gives a short speech, and the list of quarter-finalists is narrowed. Then, amid plentiful uproar at assemblies timed to newspaper-edition deadlines, the prettiest teen-ager at each high school in Portland is named Princess of the Rose Festival, a civic promotion of considerable local sanctity.

Such legalized cutting of classes in the...

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