Education: Goodbye, Mr. Ashburn

On a recent spring day, two abashed seniors paced up and down in front of the headmaster's house at Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., reading from their textbooks. That was Frank Davis Ashburn's way of punishing them for cutting classes. The ordeal may have been humiliating, but it was far less painful than several lusty whacks from a wooden paddle that the 70-year-old headmaster still uses "when nothing else works."

"Mr. Ashburn," as teachers as well as students address him, is retiring this spring from the boarding school he founded in 1927. It was he who set the tone of the...

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