Vartan Gregorian, the new president of Brown University, used his inaugural address last week to assail the nation's public schools for producing graduates who need extensive extra help when they reach the college level.
Inadequate preparation of students by public high schools has forced many universities to devote up to two years to remediation, Mr. Gregorian said. He called on his audience to help "rescue" the schools.
Elementary and secondary schools, not colleges and universities, should be teaching "the core of our culture and its unity and diversity,'' he argued.
The former president of the New York Public Library also cautioned educators against overemphasizing career preparation at the expense of broader cultural knowledge.
"We ought to realize that a lopsided education is both deficient and dangerous," Mr. Gregorian said. "We need a proper balance between preparation of careers and the cultivation of values."
Larry Zenke, superintendent of the Tulsa, Okla., school system for the past 13 years, is scheduled to become chief of the Duval County, Fla., schools next week.
Mr. Zenke previously had served as director of elementary education for Duval County, which includes the city of Jacksonville.
He will replace Herb A. Sang, who gave up his position last month under pressure from the school board.
Mr. Zenke's move is complicated by the fact that he is president-elect of the Council of the Great City Schools. Duval County does not belong to the organization, which represents large urban school districts.
But officials of the council said Mr. Zenke still could take the post this summer as planned if the district becomes a member.
Robert Burton, formerly Mr. Zenke's administrative assistant, was appointed interim superintendent for Tulsa.