END THE BIGGEST EDUCATIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL BLUNDER IN HISTORY by Norman W. Edmund

END THE BIGGEST EDUCATIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL BLUNDER IN HISTORY

A $100,000 Challenge to Our Top Educational Leaders
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An authoritative examination into the collapse of the scientific method in American education and intellectual life, and the resulting collateral damage.

Edmund writes with verve, and adds more than a dollop of spice by offering $100,000 to certain organizations that prove him wrong. He doggedly advances the notion that America’s egghead community–led by influential intellectuals such as James B. Conant (Harvard president, 1933-1953)–perpetrated a monumental blunder in denigrating the use of the scientific method. In turn, writes Edmund, Conant’s crowd opened the doors to the slipshod thinking that has ruined American education. Fads such as “look-say reading instruction,” “new math” and “new new math” followed in a confusing progression that continues to this day in charter schools and the self-esteem movement. Edmund contends that researchers, using scientific methods, should have halted the process in its tracks by determining quickly the winners and losers among these trendy programs, rather than falling for the “do your own thing” philosophy espoused by Conant and crew. Furthermore, the trial and error method taught by natural philosophers and used by classical scientists has not lost its relevance in a “do as you please” world. Edmund is dumfounded by educators’ unwillingness to use testing and analysis to determine what works best in the classroom. Instead, he writes, the useless debate continues unabated, and the blunder continues its proliferation.

On the doorstep of age 90, Edmund has performed a national service.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-9632866-6-8
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: