I found this review at Amazon quite helpful:Jay P. Greene has an agenda: the end of public education. Individuals pay him to promote this agenda, those individuals operate at the Manhattan Institute. The Manhattan Institute does not believe in participatory democracy; it believes in rule by elites. In order to undermine democracy, the Manhattan Institute must undermine public education. It undermines public education by lying to the public via “scholars” like Greene.
Unlike real scholars, Greene’s work is not peer reviewed, and his “studies” are in fact “working papers” which allows him to circumvent peer review. A real journal, like Nature, would never publish a single piece by Greene.
Allow me to respond to a few of the “myths” forwarded by Greene and co. If you still want to read the book, borrow it from your library, or write me and you can have mine!
Myth 1) “Other countries score better than America on tests.” Fine, let’s select one of those countries, how about Belgium…What is Belgium’s poverty rate…4% (the CIA provides detailed economic information for most countries)…If America lowered it’s poverty rate by 8.7%, do you think test scores would go up? I do. Why? What would be different about our cities?
2) “Test scores have remained stagnant for years…”
LIE. When disagregated by race, every subgroup (including upper class whites) have seen their test scores improve…why? Since the early 70s, more and more minorities, immigrants, and disabled children have entered our public schools, and for a variety of reasons, they tend to score lower on most tests. As more, lower scoring groups have entered they drag the higher scores down so the overall score looks stagnant, when in fact, everyone has been making small gains. It’s called Simpson’s Paradox, and most individuals who have taken stats in a PhD program know about it. Also, and importantly, some people have to fail tests, otherwise they are meaningless…We can’t all be above average; this seems so obvious it pains me to have to point it out. Furthermore, if American schools could kick out the lower performing students at age 15 (like most European countries do), do you think our high school students would look better? Yes, but there’s that troublesome 14th ammendment to deal with…If American students spent 6-7 days a week in school memorizing math and science facts like Korean children do, would their scores go up? A little, but if scores had any corelation to economic success (which they don’t, see the World Economic Forum) wouldn’t Korea/Singapore be wiping the planet with us?
3) “Spending has doubled with no increase in performance.” Not really, see #2, but also consider this, American public schools accomodate all students, including students with disabilities, who can cost upwards of 50,000 per student, per year, to educate. Furthermore, thanks to individuals like Jay P. Greene, America spent 8 BILLION more on testing in 2004 than it did in 1994, despite the fact that most scholars have been screaming that testing does not raise scores. It’s like weighing a cow more often to fatten it up. Finally, thanks to the tireless efforts of lobbyists, American schools have spent BILLIONS since 1996 on technology that has never been linked to improved test scores. An idiot on a computer, is still an idiot.
4) “Charter schools outperform public schools.” Really? There is no conclusive evidence that charter schools outperform public schools, and according to the most recent NAEP report, charter students performed lower (though not significantly lower) than their peers in math… And charter schools can turn disabled students away. BUT WHO CARES ABOUT THE WEAK! What happens when charters close? In California, 2004, one company went under and displaced 60,000 students. Roughly 10,000 of the students wound up in charter schools run by another company that would fold two months later! The presidents/CEOs of those companies made a great deal of money, who lost more than money?
6) “Americans should put their faith in corporate America to save their children.” Yikes. Did you know that Wal-Mart stands to become the largest power in educational philanthropy/reform? Do you think Wal-Mart will treat America’s children better than it treats America’s workers? Are you willing to take a chance?
If our schools are so horrible, and 89% of Americans have gone to those schools for the past 50 years, why is America so great? Why do 2,000 illegal immigrants risk their lives everyday to enter this country? Why do an additional 800,000 a year come here legally? To punish their children?
There is nothing objective about this book; it is part of a larger plan to undermine participatory democracy, which neocons don’t believe in. They attack the schools because, GASP, they have done their job…Think there would be a black Secretary of State if blacks had been kept from decent education?
Jay P. Greene: Author & Moron
It's nice of Jay P Greene to put the review of his book back up...