Twenty-five years ago John Glenn orbited the Earth in Friendship 7, an incredible feat that we all still remember (Times, Feb. 20). Coincidentally, on the same evening that The Times ran its article on Glenn an educational fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa, was hosting a dinner for elementary schoolchildren who had won an essay contest on the theme of the future of education in America. Each of the contest winners, including one of my children, had an opportunity to read his or her essay.
One of the essays noted, in passing, that current elementary school textbooks still say that "one day man will be able to fly in space." Thus, John Glenn's flight is too recent for California schoolchildren to even read about.
I found it hard to believe that the books could be so outdated, but my own elementary school-age child confirmed that this was so.