Troublemaker by Chester E. Finn, Jr.
A few months ago, speaking about the Lincoln-Douglas debates, I suggested to a class of undergraduates at an elite university that the unusual geography of Illinois gave Lincoln an advantage in the northern and Douglas an advantage in the southern part of the state. And why was that, I asked? The response was puzzlement. A handful knew that Illinois was located somewhere in the Midwest, but most had no idea of where it lay on the map, let alone that it stretched from the Great Lakes south to Kentucky. Their response, or lack of it, reminded me of a quip by the education reformer E.D. Hirsch: “Subject matter has been so long ignored it’s now barely missed.”
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