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By Ian C. Friedman

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Admiral Hyman Rickover reflected this shifting in the popular view of education’s purpose and signaled future debate over standards in his 1959 book Education and Freedom, noting, life in a modern industrial state demands a great deal more “book learning” of everyone who wants to make a good living for himself and his family . . the schools must now . . concentrate on bringing the intellectual powers of the child to the highest possible level. 20 Defending public schools was former Harvard president James Conant, whose 1959 Carnegie Corporation–sponsored book, The American High School Today, became a national best seller.

S. Supreme Court’s unanimous, landmark 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which prohibited state-imposed racial segregation in public schools. However, despite the civil rights significance of this decision, education of black students still suffered. Resistance to the ruling in the South was widespread. In the North continued white flight to the suburbs contributed to the deterioration of public schools. Educational researcher Kenneth Clark, whose work was a key factor in demonstrating the harmful effects of segregation in the Brown case, advo- 24 (c) 2011 Facts on File.

Regular public schools, they argue, are the ones lacking accountability because if they fail to meet goals, which often are not articulated, they can and do remain open, continuing to poorly serve their students. Although charter school advocates enjoy the overwhelming support of parents, businesspeople, and politicians, they often feel that teachers’ unions are uncertain allies. The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which staunchly oppose private school vouchers, state their support of charter schools, albeit with a number of conditions.

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