A prosy, pompous, occasionally inchoate and inconsistent but sometimes stimulating essay by a University of Illinois philosopher of education. Broudy makes obvious criticisms of what he calls ""the new humanists"" (Kozol, Holt, Kohl, et al.) -- their over-reliance on a loving classroom at the expense of thorough examination of what education should do for society and the students' futures, and their occasional tendency toward anti-intellectualism. He also criticizes more modest, Charles Silberman-style concerns for autonomy and creativity as against ""rule-riddenness."" His own proposals move in two directions: first, upgrading the general education given to future skilled workers, so they can make the most of a ""benign technological society"" (said to be in the offing); and second, suggestions more consonant with current budget crises, such as reducing the teaching force to only 15% skilled professionals, leaving the rest to run teaching machines, while confining most pupils to vocational training. Ironically, this line of thought coincides with that of his ""de-schooling"" nemeses such as Ivan Illich. Broudy condemns outspoken ""elitists"" who think higher study should be reserved for the few, but that is what his proposals boil down to, especially since he sees no new sources of school finance. Live issues like busing are brushed aside; the conflicts implicit in turning public education into a congeries of ""free schools"" and community-controlled classrooms are noted; but Broudy's refusal to admit that anything is really wrong -- plus his assertion that if people are alienated it's probably their own problem, not society's -- will hardly commend the book to the great mass of open-minded but distressed parents, teachers and education students who form the book's potential audience.