Individualism and Virtue in Education

George F. Will’s op-ed this morning in the Washington Post is fantastic.

“[Kay Hymowitz] says America’s middle class demands K-12 education that cultivates and celebrates each child’s individuality. Yet the middle class also expects schools to instill this class’s values — accountability, diligence, civility, self-control — ‘that are often in direct tension with students’ autonomy and individuality’…

‘In other cultures, both East and West,’ Hymowitz writes, “parents prize manners and ritualized courtesies over the child’s self-expression. The French teach their two-year-olds to say “bonjour, madame or monsieur” in every encounter.’ Such ritualized greetings strike Americans as artificial and a worrying sign of an overly programmed child.’

They are artificial. As is civilization.”