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Our Reading will proceed from narrative and lyric to essays, argumentand criticism, and the pupil will learn to try his own hand at writingthis kind of thing. Many lessons--on whatever subject--will take the formof debates; and the place of individual or choral recitation will be takenby dramatic performances, with special attention to plays in which an argumentis stated in dramatic form.

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Second, the fear of closure might generate improvement in some low-performing schools. Failure in public education has had fewer consequences (for adults) than in other fields, a fact that might contribute to the persistent struggles of some schools. We should have limited expectations in this regard, however. Even in the private sector, where the consequences for poor performance are significant, some low-performing entities never become successful.


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Indeed, that seems to be exactly what those schools want. There’s a reason elite schools speak of training leaders, not thinkers—holders of power, not its critics. An independent mind is independent of all allegiances, and elite schools, which get a large percentage of their budget from alumni giving, are strongly invested in fostering institutional loyalty. As another friend, a third-generation Yalie, says, the purpose of Yale College is to manufacture Yale alumni. Of course, for the system to work, those alumni need money. At Yale, the long-term drift of students away from majors in the humanities and basic sciences toward more practical ones like computer science and economics has been abetted by administrative indifference. The college career office has little to say to students not interested in law, medicine, or business, and elite universities are not going to do anything to discourage the large percentage of their graduates who take their degrees to Wall Street. In fact, they’re showing them the way. The liberal arts university is becoming the corporate university, its center of gravity shifting to technical fields where scholarly expertise can be parlayed into lucrative business opportunities.


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Sagawa, (personal communication, June 6, 2002) offers an even more extreme interpretation applied to the readers of the magazine he edits. " is a place of therapeutic rehabilitation for those women who have experienced mental and physical abuse." Sagawa said that he couldn't ignore the fact that some readers "have never been loved by other people--parents, friends, the opposite sex." He thinks that M/M stories help "heal the wounds and struggles of woman who are not equal to men in this [Japanese] society." If what Sagawa claims is true for the women's magazine , then perhaps there is also a faction within the dojinshi yaoi subculture to whom his interpretation also applies.

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There are more speculative and more pessimistic explanations of the meaning underlying. Two students from National Taiwan University who are sufficiently passionate otaku3 to have traveled from Taipei to COMICMARKET in Tokyo gave psychological explanations. Some fans, one said, are "depressed by men, they're dissatisfied with them." Yaoi permits females to construct males in the ways they'd like them to be. Yaoi also permits women to reconstruct themselves along masculine lines and to gain status, "some don't want to be women, they want to be a man!" "Women are physically weaker than men," and "there is discrimination against women." One of the Taiwanese otaku offered a having-it-both-ways explanation that elaborates upon the fantasy associated with yaoi: "to be a man and at the same time to be loved by a man." Is it possible that the female-as-male acquires, symbolically at least, the status of the male?

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Third, and by far the most important and least appreciated factor, closures make room for replacements, which have a transformative positive impact on the health of a field. When a firm folds due to poor performance, the slack is taken up by the expansion of successful existing firms—meaning that those excelling have the opportunity to do more—or by new firms. New entrants not only fill gaps, they have a tendency to better reflect current market conditions. They are also far likelier to introduce innovations: Google, Facebook, and Twitter were not products of long-standing firms. Certainly not all new starts will excel, not in education, not in any field. But when provided the right characteristics and environment, their potential is vast.