Yet the question of winners and losers in this debate about our secondary schools is, to borrow a phrase, academic.
The reality is that, quite some time ago, our high schools were set on a course of diversification.
It’s possible, of course, to see the origins of the fault lines in these early reports as a product of the differences of the perspectives of the people who were on the two committees.
While the Committee of Ten membership leaned toward college (in addition to the college presidents, it included two headmasters and a college professor), the Commission for the Reorganization of Secondary Education was dominated by members of the newly emerging profession of education, specifically, professors from schools and colleges of education.
And the questions today are whether and how much this “comprehensive high school” has contributed to the declining quality of secondary education in this country. Appointed by the National Education Association (NEA), the committee, composed mainly of presidents of leading colleges, was charged with establishing curriculum standardization for public-high-school students who intended to go to college.