This Is the Challenge: The Benton Reports of 1956-1958 on the Nature of the Soviet Threat

This Is the Challenge: The Benton Reports of 1956-1958 on the Nature of the Soviet Threat

This Is the Challenge: The Benton Reports of 1956-1958 on the Nature of the Soviet Threat

This Is the Challenge: The Benton Reports of 1956-1958 on the Nature of the Soviet Threat

Excerpt

old-time interviewer and professional reporter, was deeply impressed by their comprehensive insight and grasp of realities. In fact, it was I who suggested that he make them into a book. And here it is.

PREFATORY NOTE

BY ADLAI E. STEVENSON

Our national self-esteem has recently received some rude shocks. This book records how the shock developed on one front--education.

When William Benton visited the Soviet Union in 1955, he was astonished by the scope and scale of the Soviet effort in education and the proportion of the national income devoted to it. Upon his return he launched a gallant and tireless campaign to arouse the U.S. to this new Soviet challenge.

Some people listened. He made some progress. But Sputnik spoke louder than words, and it wasn't until the autumn of 1957 that Americans suddenly decided that something might be wrong with their educational system. It is not very gratifying that this decision resulted not from self-examination and self- criticism but from what has been happening in Russia.

Nevertheless, the new challenge will, I hope, spur us toward action in education which we should be undertaking even, as Benton puts it, "if the Soviet Union were to sink suddenly into the sea."

This book shows that the Soviet aim in education is not our aim--it can perhaps better be described as training for the service of the state. Education has for us a fundamentally different purpose and obligation, an infinitely harder task.

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