Intermediate Frisbee

Jacques Barzun, for nearly half a century, has been telling us what is wrong with our schools and what we might do to improve them. This he continues to do in his most recent book, Begin Here

Pointing out that American schools have long been bad and are getting worse; that from grade school through the university, they regularly graduate students incompetent in reading, writing, and counting; and that there are 60 million illiterate in America today, despite the enormous sums of money we spend on education, Barzun, in this collection of 15 essays and speeches, castigates the rotten teaching of basic subjects, the inadequate training of teachers, the overuse of multiple choice tests, the extravagant waste of money and time on "opulent sports programs" and other "ornaments," and the notion that novelties and "innovations . . . gimmicks and gadgetry"—such as television—contribute toward any real improvement in learning.

Barzun also attacks, as he has for years, the worthlessness of much academic scholarship, especially in the humanities; the sloppy thinking, deplorable writing, and general ignorance of the majority of educationists and administrators who run the schools; the lamentably large numbers of highly expensive and academically unjustified nonacademics employed by the schools (deans, counselors, and coaches); and the academic trends of recent years (multiculturalism,...

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