Education: Back to McGuffey

As residents of the growing exurb of Twin Lakes. Wis. (pop. 1,468), between Chicago and Milwaukee, the four young fathers were dismayed at the local school system: their children were not learning how to read well. Soon the four centered their attack on modern readers—readers full of "word recognition" devices like "See Spot, run, run, run, run," and packed with "life experience" stories about visits to a supermarket or firehouse.

Last summer, in a tea-party campaign that bored many of the town's complacent oldtimers, the four angry young men managed to get control...

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