This August, David Berliner and Gene Glass published the book 50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education (Teachers College Press, NY). I (Clive) just read a review of it by Paul Hood in Education Review, a publication of the National Education Policy Center.
It is one of those books you wish you had written but is so important you’re glad (and relieved) someone else wrote it, now. It will be a huge shot in the arm for attempts to defend public education against the trend toward standardization, top-down control, and even dismantling. While the book is about U.S. schooling, it struck me in reading the review that the same arguments apply to public schooling in other countries. We have often exaggerated the difference between the achievements/challenges of schooling in the U.S. and elsewhere.
According to the review, James Popham’s back-cover blurb about the book is as follows:
“What do you get when two world-class scholars and a team of talented analysts take a hard look at 50 widely held yet unsound beliefs about U.S. public schools? Well, in this instance you get a flat-out masterpiece that, by persuasively blending argument and evidence, blasts those beliefs into oblivion. Required reading? You bet!”
As Popham notes, the authors enlisted the help of a whole team of academics to write on the various myths, thus adding greatly to the depth and accuracy of the analysis. Taking such a step speaks to the judgment, humility, and public concern of these outstanding individuals. I for one wish to thank them for what they have done – and am running to buy the book!