What was William Deresiewics basic attitude toward the issue of education?

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William Deresiewicz spent twenty-four years in Ivy League schools, and became disillusioned with the quality of education the students were receiving at Yale, where he taught. He was especially concerned that students lacked critical thinking skills.

In his book Excellent Sheep, Deresiewicz examines students' preparation and expectations before entering college, as well as their experience while there. He analyzes educational policies and practices to try to determine where things went awry.

In the book, he writes that the U.S. has an educational system that manufactures students—he likens them to assembly-line products. The problem isn't that the students are not smart or talented; the system pushes them and rewards conformity, yielding students who are

...anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose....

Deresiewicz favors a renewal of attention to the values of a liberal arts education and the humanities. School, especially higher education, should focus on critical thinking and provide an atmosphere conducive to learning, such as smaller class size. While he argues against over-privileging the elite, he wants better access for all students to become elite in intellectual and humanist terms.

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