eying all day for popularity points beginningrnon the school bus, most Maretrnyoungsters came to school hand in handrnwith Mother or via the family car withrnFather. By the middle-school years, werncongregated every morning under thernschool portico to see who was comingrnnext up the driveway. Although our parentsrnprobably didn’t think about it, thisrnexercise gave our elders an unembellishedrnview of the children with whomrntheir offspring would be spending thernday. The frequent opportunity to observe,rnhowever unconsciously, the studentrnbody when everyone was off-guardrnactually enabled parents to relate morernfully to the lives of their youngsters and tornmake wiser decisions on their behalfrnOf course, the down side, at least forrnme at the time, was that every day at fiverno’clock (school ran from 9:00 A.M. untilrn4:30 P.M.) my mother got an unsolicitedrnreport on my behavior. Had I thrown myrnsandwich in the cafeteria trash can again?rnFailed to turn in my homework? Excusedrnmyself from study hall to giggle inrnthe bathroom with my best friend? Wornrnlipstick to class? Well, it would all comernout at 5:00 P.M.rnYet, such frequent communicationrnbetween our parents and our teachersrnkept us youngsters from becoming morbidlyrnpeer-oriented, to the point of beingrnuncomfortable around adults. The socalledrngeneration gap didn’t sprout fullblownrnwith the emergence of Bob Dylan,rnthe Beatles, or Betty Friedan. It emergedrngradually—on the school bus; in increasinglyrnlarge, noisy, and impersonal classrooms;rnand in the school gym, where tenyear-rnolds were told to select theirrnteammates for dodgeball instead of beingrndirected to a team by the gym teacher. Itrnwas too much socialization, not too little,rnthat eventually produced today’s Lordrnof the Flies kiddie subculture, leavingrnyoung people in a semi-permanent staternof adolescence.rnThe move toward a “child-centeredrncurriculum,” which I’d studied in collegernas a prospective educator, had comernfull-circle by the I980’s. Teachersrndressed like their students and usedrnteenage expressions in the classroom —rnwhich, predictably, failed to impress thernkids. Textbooks had shifted away fromrnclassical themes—adult themes withoutrnthe “X”-rating—to concentrate on thernproblems of adolescence. This meantrnthat the social issues explored in worksrnsuch as ]ane Eyre, David Copperfield,rnand Oliver Twist were replaced with supposedlyrnrelevant fare about drug abuse,rnteen pregnancy, and racial prejudice.rnOn one level, some of it might have beenrnappropriate. But the extreme to which itrnwas carried shut out anything that hadrnlasting value, a moral, or a memorablernline, such as “It was the best of times; itrnwas the worst of times.” The newer literature,rnreplete with vulgarisms, was hardrnto hold up as a model of prose. Most of itrncontained depressing and pointless trivia.rnSome stories were downright inappropriaternfor the classroom—like the one aboutrna father who deliberately set his son onrnfire, and the short piece about a troubledrnyouth who strangles a helpless animal.rnEven my students chorused, “Ugh!”rnGradually, social adjustment took thernplace of academics, and “coping skills”rnbecame the new focus of learning. Thernscheme seemed to be self-perpetuating.rnThe less time educators devoted to fundamentalrnskills and substantive learning,rnthe more students looked around forrnchallenges to fill the void. These includedrndrugs, promiscuity, and vandalism.rnThe situation could be remedied, ofrncourse, only by spending more time onrnsocial adjustment.rnIt seemed that each new crop ofrnyoungsters I saw was less able—and lessrndisposed—than the last to read first-raternliterature, even as an in-class project.rnThey absorbed little or nothing aboutrntheir cultural roots. The only allusionsrnmost high-schoolers recognized relatedrnto the bathroom, drugs, sex, or mental illness.rnBy 1981, I noticed a new kind ofrnsegregation emerging in America: adultsrnversus kids. Neither seemed to want thernother around. Remembering the MaretrnSchool in the 5G’s, I saw this as an enormousrndeparture from earlier eras. Societalrnchanges of that magnitude just didn’trnoccur naturally in a 25-year time frame.rnI now realize that the mademoisellesrnand monsieurs at Maret in the 50’s hadrnfound the key to unlock the mystery of arnchild’s thinking processes, while in recentrntimes clinical-minded Ph.D’s havernsomehow lost it. Even though my mademoiselles’rnstandards had been impossiblyrnhigh, their objectives (“outcomes,” inrnmodern parlance) had been limited andrnspecific. They didn’t try to teach us everythingrnfrom sewing a blouse to drivingrna car. They didn’t pr}’ into our family affairsrnand try to settle the disputes. Theyrndidn’t attempt to alter our religious beliefs.rnThey didn’t examine our buddingrnsexual feelings.rnWhat our teachers did give us werernboundaries and benchmarks. They gavernus “tough love.” They honed, chiseled,rnreminded, scolded, and smoothed outrnthe rough edges. They were visible andrnconsistent. They taught us what to expectrnfrom society and provided the guidelinesrnthat would stay with us the rest ofrnour lives.rnIn 1983, I returned to Washington,rnD.C., with my husband after a 20-yearrnabsence. One of my first stops was my almarnmater. I knew from old friends thatrnthe mademoiselles, mesdames, andrnmonsieurs we knew were gone, alongrnwith the international flavor of thernschool. Like its counterparts nationwide,rnthe price tag had become astronomical asrnthe demand for what such schools offeredrncontinued to outstrip the supply.rnFor all these reasons, I didn’t expect myrnreturn to be such a sentimental journey.rnIronically, my visit fell on May 21, exactlyrnthree years to the day after I left ClearrnCreek High School and the teaching professionrnforever. After touring the Maretrncampus on Catliedral Avenue, I hailed arntaxi to “T” Street, where I found myselfrnknocking nervously at the door of a garden-rnwreathed brick home with planterrnboxes in the windows. I nervously rehearsedrnwhat I was going to say, wonderedrnwhether I would sound “polished,” andrnworried that perhaps I wouldn’t be welcome,rnconsidering all the trouble I’d been.rnBut when I saw the now-white curlsrnatop her head, the familiar beauty markrnand half-smile, the library shelves coveredrnwith Mother’s Day cards from allrnthe children she’d never had—dozens ofrnold students like me —I forgot my chagrin,rnthrew my arms around her, andrncroaked, “Merci, Mam’selle. Merci beaucoup.”rnB.K. Eakman is executive director of thernNational Education Consortium and thernauthor of Cloning of the AmericanrnMind: Eradicating Morality ThroughrnEducation (Huntington House).rnCan American LegalrnEducation Be Fixed?rnby Stephen B. PresserrnSomething has gone radically awryrnwith legal education and mayberneven legal practice. For about a decadernnow, the loudest wailing over the state ofrn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn