50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education
by David C. Berliner, Gene V Glass, and 19 others
LA217.2 .B45 2014
New Arrivals, 2nd floor
The only way to dispel misconceptions is to confront them head on. In 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools, David Berliner, educational psychologist and author of Manufactured Crisis, statistician Gene Glass, and their team of researchers have gathered collection of myths that lead to misconceptions about education in the United States.
Given the longevity of many of these myths, the authors are able to analyze how the predictions and policies based on them have played out over the decades. Their readable style is not without a dose of humor as they point out the many ironies that have emerged. Myth #1, that “international tests show that the U.S. has a second rate education system” has often been the battle cry of educational reformers. The authors observe:
An international reading test in the 1970s reported “poor performance” for American pupils – far behind the leading nation, Italy. Italy? Oh, and how did the United States and Italy do in terms of economic growth after we found out in the 1960s we were far from being numero uno? (p. 13)
Berliner and Glass make no apologies for their tone. In dealing with individuals who continue to propagate what are defined as myths and lies, “Make fun of them,” they say. “They deserve that” (Ferlazzo, 2014). The authors support their “making fun,” however, by drawing on hard data and research from a broad range of education, economic and other sources.
The chapter titles read like a collection of so many undergraduate and graduate research paper topics, such as:
- Want to find the best schools in America? Ask Newsweek or U.S. News.
- The money available to school districts is spread equally across their schools.
- Forced integration has failed.
- School uniforms improve achievement and attendance.
- Cyberschools are an efficient, cost-saving, and highly effective means of delivering education.
- Our nation’s economy is suffering because our education system is not producing enough scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.
Whether or not you agree or disagree with the opinions that emerge, it provides an excellent starting point for well-informed debate.