American Educator: Fall 2002

  • Curing Provincialism

    Why We Educate the Way We Do Jacques Barzun

    Jacques Barzun has been a presence on the American intellectual scene for most of the past century. He has written more than 30 books, and countless essays, on cultural, historical, and educational topics. Early in his career, he wrote Teacher In America, still in print, which drew on his...

  • Opening Minds

    Why I Teach Patrick Welsh

    During my lunch period early last May, I quickly drove from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., into downtown Washington, D.C., to drop a package at my wife's office. As I crossed Pennsylvania Avenue and went up 14th Street, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the legions of lawyers,...

  • American History

    A Drama of Sweep and Majesty Wilfred M. McClay

    All too many of us who grew up and were educated in the United States were taught, albeit not always consciously, to regard American history as rather thin and provincial gruel, a subject appealing only to intellectually limited people who do not mind forgoing the rich and varied fare of...

  • The Different, but Necessary, Truths of History and Science

    Wilfred M. McClay

    What is history? One answer might be: It is the science of incommensurable things and unrepeatable events. Which is to say that it is no science at all. We had best be clear about that from the outset. This melancholy truth may be a bitter pill to swallow, especially for those zealous modern...

  • Windows on American History

    Wilfred M. McClay

    Now comes the place where we take a slightly more focused and systematic look at some of the characteristic themes of American history. These are, so to speak, the prime numbers of the field, for they cannot easily be factored down into something more basic—although, to be sure, you will see how...

  • The Whole Shebang

    How Science Produced the Big Bang Model Timothy Ferris

    The empirical spirit on which the Western democratic societies were founded is currently under attack, and not just by such traditional adversaries as religious fundamentalists and devotees of the occult. Serious scholars claim that there is no such thing as progress and assert that science is...

  • The Life That Shaped Mark Twain's Anti-Slavery Views

    Bring Mark Twain to Your Classroom Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan, Geoffrey Ward

    He was a Southerner and a Northerner, a Westerner and a New England Yankee—a tireless wanderer who lived in a thousand places all around the world. He would call just two of them home: the Missouri town of his childhood, which he would transform into the idealized hometown of every American boy...

  • Inventing Numbers

    How Mathematics Filled the Inky Void David Berlinski