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American Educator
Winter 1994-1995


Table of Contents

What Americans Expect from the Public Schools
A Report from Public Agenda
By Jean Johnson and John Immerwahr

Americans express strong support for higher standards, more challenging academic content, and tough measures to hold students accountable. But they're skeptical of what they consider unproven teaching innovations, and they're worried that too many schools are unsafe and disorderly and too many children are not mastering basic knowledge and skills.

Culture and Our Moral Condition: What's Gone Wrong?

A De-Moralized Society: The British/American Experience
By Gertrude Himmelfarb

It is no longer possible to ignore or gloss over the distress that is all around us. The illegitimacy rate, which has risen only two percentage points in the preceding forty years, has skyrocketed from 5% in 1960 to 30% in 1991. And violent crime has become so endemic that what once were shocking headlines are now commonplace items in the daily news. To find our way out, we will have to re-discover the centrality of values.

The Failure of Sex Education
By Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

The social and cultural norms and adult oversight that were once employed to enforce a moratorium on adolescent sexual behavior have been greatly relaxed. In their stead, teenagers are provided with "comprehensive sex education," contraceptives, and "communication skills," and sent into the world to fend for themselves. By all accounts, they're not faring well. It's time to re-think.

Music and Morality
By William Kilpatrick

Music comes as close to touching the soul as anything can. And just as music can enhance a child's moral imagination, so can it stunt it. With so much at stake, we'd better listen carefully.

"Citizen, With Your Vote, You Decide the Future of the Country"

With assistance from an AFT program, the children of Nicaragua are learning about democracy—and celebrating it with artwork like this.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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