Some Observations on American Education

Some Observations on American Education

Some Observations on American Education

Some Observations on American Education

Excerpt

An American who undertakes to describe the educational system of his country to the citizens of another cannot hope to escape embarrassment unless he is unqualifiedly enthusiastic about the system. If he believes that it can be improved, he is likely to reinforce the smugness of his audience. They will say, 'Thank God that we are not as those Americans are', even though their own educational system is open to criticisms, perhaps more serious than those which the speaker makes of that of the United States.

Not long ago a French professor wrote an article in an American magazine saying that American education was not very good. The next month an American professor wrote an article in reply. He said that French education was not very good either. I agree with the general attitude implicit in this correspondence: no educational system is as good as it should be. I hope my readers will understand that the reason why this book points out some of the shortcomings of the American educational system is that this is the one I was asked to write about.

The view that I take of education is that expressed by The Economist, 'Education is not the same thing as vocational training. It is worth while for its own sake, even if it never led to earning of a single penny. It is a basic right of the individual that his or her mind should be developed as far as it proves itself capable of expansion.'

The United States is committed to education for all. But it seems to be drifting further and further away from the notion that education is the development of the mind. The great question of our time is whether the two ideas . . .

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