50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education by David C. Berliner, Gene Glass, and Associates

All Kids Can Learn, More STEM, and AP Courses

  • The big flaw in the NCLB legislation is the expectation that all kids can be proficient with the same content. You might think this was done so that at some point the teachers and public schools could be blamed, and charters and vouchers supported. Schools are also blamed for not producing enough scientists and engineers, but if you look around it’s not hard to find such people who are unemployed. There is also a myth that we have to import scientists and engineers to make up for the deficits when in fact, companies import them because they are less expensive and drive down salaries.
  • A look at the stats for AP courses shows that they are more likely to be offered and taught by experienced teachers at schools where wealthier student attend. The authors prefer dual enrollment courses offered by local colleges to high school students as they are more likely to gain college credit. STEM subjects are also getting a big push in an effort to produce more high-tech graduates. Here the authors are concerned that the benefits of non-STEM courses may be lost and push for a balance.

Education Ending Poverty

  • The idea that education can lift children out of poverty is misleading as there are other factors that need to be overcome. Education’s influence is indirect at best. By the time poor kids get to school their disadvantages are already locked in. It’s also a fact that education serves the poor to a lesser extent than the wealthy. High unemployment reduction is resistant to education. The more people who have a degree, the less the degree is worth, and many Americas are already overqualified for the jobs they have and the jobs they seek. If you want to directly address poverty deal with tax structure, job subsidies, collective bargaining, infrastructure investment, job-search assistance, making small loans available, and increasing the minimum wage.
  • The final myth says that it isn’t possible to teach creativity and problem solving. People pushing this also push for teaching a common body of knowledge and skills that are easy to assess on standardized tests. Our current test culture pushes teachers to prepare kids for these tests and does not give them license to be unsure where some lessons might go. The research community generally sees high-stakes tests as unreliable and invalid, and like the authors, pushes for more teacher autonomy.

The Authors

  • David Berliner is an educational psychologist with a PhD from Stanford. He is the author of over 200 books and articles putting research to work in schools. Gene Glass is an emeritus professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University. He is currently a senior researcher at the National Education Policy Center and a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Together, they rounded up nineteen young professors and PhD students to help them with this extensive work.
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One Response to “50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education by David C. Berliner, Gene Glass, and Associates”

  1. […] These aren’t easy problems to solve. But we need to think about how to tackle them now. Otherwise, our children’s standard of schooling will be rapidly sliding downhill. […]

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