THE DIMINISHED MIND by Mortimer Smith

THE DIMINISHED MIND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An alarmed attack on ""progressive education"" and the many manifestations of it alive in the United States today stems from the author's years of study and his firm belief in the value of a full knowledge of the liberal arts. His contention is that the present movement in American education is a deliberate, well- intentioned design for the decline of disciplined knowledge. To illustrate it, there is sharp and pointed analysis of the undermining qualities of present practices. Overwhelming evidence for the decline in learning is shown through statistical reports of highschool students who for example cannot divide 75 by 3; then the whole controversy is pinpointed as a battle between those who believe intellectual development is a part of cultural heritage and those who stress group adjustments as more important. Both, says the author, agree that content is important. It is in the method of teaching that they part ways. Supported by people in educational work and our government itself, the theories- of life adjustment, education as a positive force for social change etc.- threaten to replace education with adjustment, to teach trades, popularity, and integration per se rather than history, science or the languages. The cited examples and documents are frightening indeed. If they present a biassed view, it is a solid prejudice against forced mediocrity, and we agree that far less of it than is named here, would be frightening.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1954
Publisher: Regnery