How can we fix America's floundering public schools? Conventional wisdom says that schools and teachers need a lot more money, that poor and immigrant children can't do as well as most American kids, that high-stakes tests just produce teaching to the test, and that vouchers do little to help students while undermining our democracy. But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? Jay Greene provocatively shows that much of what people believe about education policy is little more than a series of myths advanced by the special interest groups dominating public education.
Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Introduction Part 3 Part I: Resources Chapter 4 The Money Myth-"Schools perform poorly because they need more money." Chapter 5 The Special Ed Myth-"Special education programs burden public schools, hindering their academic performance." Chapter 6 The Myth of Helplessness-"Social problems like poverty cause students to fail; schools are helpless to prevent it." Chapter 7 The Class Size Myth-"Schools should reduce class sizes; small classes would produce big improvements." Chapter 8 The Certification Myth-"Certified or more experienced teachers are substantially more effective." Chapter 9 The Teacher Pay Myth-"Teachers are badly underpaid." Part 10 Part II: Outcomes Chapter 11 The Myth of Decline-"Schools are performing much worse than they used to." Chapter 12 The Graduation Myth-"Nearly all students graduate from high school." Chapter 13 The College Access Myth-"Nonacademic barriers prevent a lot of minority students from attending college." Part 14 Part III: Accountability Chapter 15 The High Stakes Myth-"The results of high-stakes tests are not credible because they're distorted by cheating and teaching to the test. Chapter 16 The Push-Out Myth-"Exit exams cause more students to drop out of high school." Chapter 17 The Accountability Burden Myth-"Accountability systems impose large financial burdens on schools." Part 18 Part IV: Choice Chapter 19 The Inconclusive Research Myth-"The evidence on the effectiveness of vouchers is mixed and inconclusive." Chapter 20 The Exeter Myth-"Private schools have higher test scores because they have more money and recruit high-performing students while expelling low-performing students." Chapter 21 The Draining Myth-"School choice harms public schools." Chapter 22 The Disabled Need Not Apply Myth-"Private schools won't serve disabled students." Chapter 23 The Democratic Values Myth-"Private schools are less effective at promoting tolerance and civic participation." Chapter 24 The Segregation Myth-"Private schools are more racially segregated than public schools." Part 25 Conclusion Part 26 Afterword