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Virginia English Bulletin








English teachers are currently beset by a variety of political forces vying for their attention. Education has become big news again for the first time since October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union inaugurated the Space Age by launching Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. In 1957, astonished at the Russians' success, Americans panicked and decided that their math science, and foreign language training was inadequate. Recent survey~ showing the superiority of Japanese and European students over American students have provoked serious concern about the quality of education going on in American public schools and in our colleges and universities. The current panic focuses primarily on the humanities where ideological differences are likely to come into play when the issues are discussed. Although most colleges have already gone back to a core curriculum and although a recent study done by the Modem Language Association proves the literary classics are, in fact, being taught in most public high schools, reactionary administrators and teachers are using this sudden concern about quality to lash out at progressive scholars and critics who have, with some success, been advocating the feminist approach to literature along with other concepts in literary theory that challenge the status quo.

Original Publication Citation

Bazin, N. T. (1990). Teaching literature in the 1990's: Meeting the challenge. Virginia English Bulletin 40(2), 4-13.