Phi Beta Cons

The Decline of Reading in American Education

Often the pieces posted on the Irascible Professor blog are very good, and that’s certainly the case with this one, written by Prof. Henry Marchand.
Here’s a taste: “In our elementary schools, junior highs, high schools, and colleges, ‘reading film’ and ‘visual literacy’ have somehow become concerns of English faculty, while the reading and enjoyment of great books, poems, short stories, plays, and essays slides toward the margins.”
And, “we are coddling students rather than making the kinds of demands that broaden and deepen their minds and lives.”
Marchand is right. The distinguishing characteristic of American K-12 education is that it is expected to be easy and enjoyable, allowing students to “construct their own knowledge.” What that educational philosophy is getting us is, as Mark Bauerlein puts it, The Dumbest Generation.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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