Education: How Much Must a Student Master?

"Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with," the Mock Turtle replied; "and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision."

—Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

To many worried parents, the new math-new methods teaching that swept public schools in the '60s made about as much sense as Lewis Carroll's Turtle. When they complained that children were no longer learning basic reading, writing and arithmetic, however, no one listened. Until, that is, test scores began plunging, and legislators and officials discovered that the supposed mess in public education could be a...

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