Education: The Great Evasion

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In acknowledging God, says Dr. Buttrick, the educator cannot compromise with half measures; he cannot "be content to let the student add God as an extracurricular according to choice . . . the blasphemy which says of God: 'Season according to taste.' " What is needed leanings. In the U.S., educators became more & more absorbed with the equally radical ideas of Columbia's John Dewey. Even some of her own followers betrayed her: they transformed her doctrine of guided freedom into a doctrine of anarchy, and many educators turned away in disgust.

Though old and exiled, Maria Montessori continued to preach. She wandered to Barcelona, where she had to be rescued by a British cruiser during the civil war. She went to India, where she was interned as an enemy alien. And she went to The Netherlands, where she set up a new training center. Wherever she went, her message was always the same. "You must fight for the rights of the child," she would exclaim, and hundreds of educators were still inspired to take up the cry.

Last week, in The Netherlands, Maria Montessori's own fight came to an end. She had helped to revolutionize a whole generation's concept of primary education, but at 81, she had no intention of stopping there. Her last words were directed to her adopted son Mario, who has gradually taken over her work: "What are you planning for the reform of the world?"

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