Liam Julian, Weekly Standard, September 22, 2008.
Charles Murray has written a bracing book about education, one determined not only to upset apple carts, but explode them. In varied ways he has succeeded, and for that we should be thankful; the conversations of self-described education reformers tend toward the stultifying and could generally benefit from some well-placed pyrotechnics.
His big point is this: American education suffers from a surfeit of romanticism. It is too idealistic and pursues goals it will not and cannot attain. By blindly believing that all students will be able to achieve at high academic levels, and by ignoring reams of facts that belie such a notion, the educational system does significant harm to the students it purports to help. The individual talents and aspirations of millions of young people have been sacrificed on educational romanticism’s altar.