Education: Bits on the Surface

Three terms of teaching at the Harvard summer school taught French Author-Lecturer Pierre Emmanuel enough about American students to give him serious misgivings. Compared to his former lycee pupils in France, he reports in the Atlantic Monthly, the average U.S. college student—in spite of his spontaneity and curiosity—has an intellectual background that is often chaotic, usually confused, and generally notable for its "absence of basic information."

"I believe," says he, "that I am not going too far in saying that [U.S.] education at the high-school level is mediocre. The fault does not lie with the teaching staff. The tenets of democratic egalitarianism...

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