There is a new buzzword in the air these days: Eurocentric. It is used as both a description and condemnation of the standard curriculum in America's public schools.

Like most educational fads, the complaints about Eurocentrism contain a modicum of truth, but this is all too often accompanied by overheated and potentially destructive rhetoric.

Everyone recognizes that the schools' curriculum is based on the premise that America's political, economic and cultural institutions are basically European in their origin and character. But it is a sign of our peculiar times that this feature of the curriculum should be considered a cause for complaint rather than an obvious - indeed, inescapable - reflection of historical realities.