Let us spend a moment to contemplate these last three paragraphs, in which Professor Brinkley manages to imply or state that:
  1. There has been a decline in standardized test scores
  2. It's not important because standardized tests aren't. I agree - they are, in fact, very stupid, and that someone who gets 800 on the SATs is thought ready for college frankly blows my mind; that people planning to attend graduate school find the GRE general tests difficult is a disgrace; etc.
  3. There has, in fact, been a decline in educational standards, and it can get worse, but only if we realize that there has, in fact, been a decline. The proper response to lazy, stupid students is to make them work harder, not let them slack off.
This is topped off with a completely gratuitous bit of cognitive relativism, for which Prof. Brinkley sees no need to argue. Now, of course there have ``always'' been ``generational differences'' between students and teachers: it is very rare to be taught by one's peers. That there have been differences in what should be taught is more debatable; I suggest Prof. Brinkley examine accounts of education in traditional China, or even ancient Rome, before he uses the word ``always'' again. But grant him his differences: this in no way implies that one side or the other is not completely and utterly wrong, and their views are of interest solely to anthropologists, students of abnormal psychology, or collectors of quaint superstition.

Doubtless, everyone would agree that ``fitting'' ``points of view'' into ``procrustean beds'' of ``preconceived notions'' is an unpleasant practice; but who's to say what it is? This sort of thing is so vague and so jargony as to be meaningless; doubtless Ms. Brown could make an excellent case that Prof. Brinkley has fit her magazine's editorial view to a procrustean bed of preconceived notions about ``stereotypes'' and the vileness of magazines for the affluent intelligentsia.

If this is an accurate sample of one of the more intelligent and educated members of Generation X, then Prof. Brinkley is right, and there is no cause to panic, for it's much too late; the barbarians have stormed the citadel and achieved tenure.