Saturday, August 2, 2014

American Schools Are Not Failing - The Manufactured Crisis & Public Education Myths

American schools are not failing.

Education scholar and professor David Berliner tried to warn us.  Nearly twenty years ago, Berliner published The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on Public Education to warn us about the fraudulent claims being used by "education reformers" to radically alter the landscape of public education. Following the release of the Reagan-era education policy statement "A Nation at Risk," Berliner examined thoroughly and exposed the misleading criticisms of public education that were being used to launch reforms of public education. The none-too-subtle title of "Risk" contained a Chicken Little "sky-is-falling" warning that American schools were in such bad shape that a new "Sputnik moment" was upon us, as the miserable state of the nation's schools would lead to the decline of the nation within a generation.

Clearly, that was far from true.

Yet, the education reformers have not relented in their efforts to basically gut the foundation of public education and expand the reach of the business community and the private sector into the classroom. The rise of the voucher movement and the expansion of charter schools have opened the door for the Common Core revolution and the massive expansion of standardized testing as a measure of "school quality." And, thus, David Berliner is back again with another warning in 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America's Public Schools: the Real Crisis in Education. Berliner and education professor Gene Glass take on some of the top "myths" in the public discussion of public education. Notably, they expose the truth about:

  • American students are "falling behind" students in other countries
  • The ability of standardized testing such as exit exams to create accountability in schools
  • The problems of "value added" in judging teacher quality. 

Berliner and Glass recently spoke with education blogger Larry Ferlazzo about the gist of the book and their concerns. Their explanations of the hard realities about public education are lost on the unknowing American public who have long bought into the education crisis - even though most view their own schools and teachers very favorably. And Berliner and Glass are not alone in their attempt to expose the problems with the ed reformers.  Another public education defender - and reformer critic - Dr. Chris Tienken offers a similar and well-researched critique of the education reformers and the false claims about the education crisis in his book  The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies

1 comment:

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