Saturday, January 04, 2003

What will 2003 be remembered for? The Tribune assembled a panel of educated guessers in various areas of life. The edcuation entry is provocative:

John Katzman, CEO of the Princeton Review:

A major state will announce that its high school graduation test will serve as an alternative entrance test to its university system, thus sounding the death knell of the SAT. Parent and teacher protests against the ICAT and other state tests will rise; however, rising test scores and a shrinking achievement gap between rich and poor will maintain the popularity of the 'No Child Left Behind' Act.

As the Supreme Court moves to limit or abandon affirmative action, a major college will announce a new admissions preference program, based on economic disadvantage and not race. . . . And in the coming congressional debate about special education, every student will be declared special, but extra funds will only follow students deemed to be significantly learning disabled.",1,5754196.story

-Benjamin Franklin biographer Edmund S. Morgan on Franklin and New Year's resolutions:
Perhaps it is basic to our national character, this habit of giving ourselves instructions for living right. ... In his autobiography, Franklin tells how he molded his career with a set of resolutions that he drafted as a young man (and adhered to more successfully than most of us ever do for one short year). He ... declares that he has "conceiv'd the bold and arduous Project of arriving at moral Perfection." ... He sums it up in a list of 13 virtues: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. Except for chastity, what do these have to do with what most people mean by morality? The whole list sounds more like today's New Year's resolutions than it does like a redaction of the Ten Commandments. But Franklin took it seriously, and since it has earned him so much opprobrium from the likes of D. H. Lawrence and Mark Twain, it is worth asking why.

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