Spelling bees and Tiger Woods

A pair of weekend essays heralding two new books point in very different directions regarding childhood, adolescence, and education—and portend tough choices for parents and educators. One is an anthropologist’s look at the spelling bee phenomenon as it has evolved in recent years. The other is a well-documented argument against the kind of youthful single-mindedness displayed by those spelling-bee fanatics (and their fanatical parents). It’s a quandary that inevitably connects to the larger policy issue of liberal education versus professionalism in college—and to the classic array of academic subjects versus CTE during high school.

Chester E. Finn, Jr. 5.29.2019