Education: Standards for Noah's Ark?

More than any other nation, the U.S. has made local control the key fact of its school system. The result is what James B. Conant calls a "Noah's Ark" of edu cation — a happy confusion of 35,300 in dependent school systems, in which stand ards vary so widely that an A grade in one school may be worth a D in another.

At their worst, the schools are mired in graft, patronage and political pressure. At best, the system is magnificently tuned to local needs, producing some of the best schools in the world....

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