Flexner, Abraham

Flexner, Abraham,

1866–1959, American educator, b. Louisville, Ky., grad. Johns Hopkins, 1886. After 19 years as a secondary school teacher and principal, he took graduate work at Harvard and at the Univ. of Berlin. In 1908 he joined the research staff of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and in 1910 wrote a report, Medical Education in the United States and Canada, which is generally called the Flexner Report. It hastened much-needed reforms in the standards, organization, and curriculums of American medical schools. From 1912 to 1925, Flexner was a member of the General Education Board, serving as secretary after 1917. He was director of the newly organized Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1930 to 1939. His influential works on education range from A Modern School (1916) and The Gary Schools (with F. B. Bachman, 1918) to The Burden of Humanism (the Taylorian Lecture at Oxford, 1928) and his widely known study, Universities: American, English, German (1930). His biography of H. S. Pritchett was published in 1943.

Bibliography

See his autobiography (rev. ed. 1960).

Flexner, Abraham

(1866–1959) educational reformer; born in Louisville, Ky. After a 19-year career as a secondary school teacher he earned a Harvard A.M. in psychology (1906). His Carnegie Foundation report on medical education in the U.S.A. and Canada (1910) exposed the abuses of a profit-driven system lacking standards for students, curricula, or facilities; the report sparked a revolution in American medical education. While on the staff of the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation (1913–28), Flexner made a further major contribution to medical education reform when he disbursed $50 million in funding for medical education, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars more to establish medical school research faculties. He also campaigned for improvements to secondary education and championed the German university model of intellectualism and research against the American vocationalism. He was the founder and first director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1930–39), a pure research institution to which he recruited Albert Einstein among other eminent scholars.
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