Education: Sober Chaos

During the heyday of "progressive" education in the 1930s, a celebrated cartoon showed a young pupil plaintively asking the teacher: "Do we have to do what we want again today?"

Such jokes may soon be back in style, for much of progressive education has been revived in the current movement toward "informal" education in "open" classrooms. Once again it threatens to become a fad. In hundreds of tiny private "free" schools and in public classrooms in nearly every state, the fixed rows of desks and the fixed weekly lessons have been abandoned. Instead, children...

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