Education: The Fourth R--Rigor

The new boss of the U.S. Office of Education had barely been sworn in last week when he ventured an opinion about U.S. schools. "Soft," "flabby," "lax," "easy," exclaimed Commissioner Sterling M. McMurrin, 47. "We have much less knowledge, much less creativity, much less moral fiber than we would have had if our educational process had been more rigorous." McMurrin set his goal as "quality and rigor in teaching"—strong talk for the Office of Education, which for most of its 94 years has been a tame source of statistics rather than of standards.

A Self-Effacing Bureau. As defined in the creating act...

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