The Public Interest

The future of teaching

William Arrowsmith

Winter 1967

During the Roman Saturnalia even slaves were permitted to speak freely, even about slavery. I am here in this American carnival city to speak, I suppose, for the classroom teacher, and I claim, o decani praesidesque, the ancient privilege of immunity for saying almost exactly what I think. I expect to be discounted as either innocent or impertinent, but that hardly matters. “So long as a man is trying to tell the truth,” wrote John Jay Chapman, “his remarks will contain a margin which others will regard as mystifying and irritating exaggeration. It is this very margin of controversy that does the work. No explosion follows a lie.”

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