Tom Wolfe's fix for education crisis: scrap the PCs

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

Popular American author, Tom Wolfe, recently offered a solution to improve U.S. students' performance-scrap computers and restore order in the class room.

NEW YORK, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Author Tom Wolfe on Wednesday offered a solution to improve U.S. students' performance — scrap computers and restore order in the class room.

“I'm going to save the education system a lot of money: immediately stop the installation of computers and the Internet,” Wolfe said in a speech. “Our primary and secondary students need basic information.”

Wolfe, the author of “Bonfire of the Vanities” and most recently “A Man in Full,” spoke at an education conference of the Children's Scholarship Fund foundation. Wolfe, who as a reporter pioneered a more narrative style of journalism, said U.S. public schools could benefit by reintroducing “bourgeois values” such as order, morals, and a sense of accomplishment.

“The bourgeoisie is the highest evolution of mankind,” Wolfe quipped. “It's time we as writers stop bashing the bourgeoisie.”

U.S. 12th graders, or 17- to 18-year old kids, consistently rank near the bottom of industrialized nations in math tests. Many organizations have sprung up to address the U.S. public school system's problems, including the Children's Scholarship Fund, which gives partial scholarships to low-income families to send their children to private or parochial schools.

Wolfe likened the need to restore order in America's public schools to New York City's cracking down on 'squeegee men,' or people who wash windows of cars stopped in traffic—medieval gate keepers who extract a toll, in Wolfe's words. The city banned the squeegeemen from its streets after police started punching holes in their buckets and breaking their squeezees.

New York's parochial schools — which often require students to wear uniforms and keep strict order — do a much better job at educating kids than the city's public schools with far fewer resources, Wolfe noted.

“The simplest solution is to let the Catholic Church take over education,” Wolfe said, adding he himself was a “lapsed Presbyterian.”

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

“Tom Wolfe's fix for education crisis: scrap the PCs.” Reuters (Wednesday January 12, 2000).

Reprinted by permission of Reuters News Service.

THE AUTHOR

Tom Wolfe is an author and journalist. He is the author of many books notably Bonfire of the Vanities and most recently A Man in Full.

Copyright © 2000 Reuters


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