Education

Book Review: Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why it Isn’t So

Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why it Isn't So Jay P. Greene Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005 Education policy, says Jay P. Greene, is dominated by myths. Myths aren't lies. They're intuitive, they seem to be true, and we want them to be true. There is probably some evidence supporting the myth. But if the myth isn't true, if it isn't accurate, and we make policy decisions based on the myth, we create disastrous results. As important and expensive as public education is, this means we need to examine myths and…
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Every state left behind

In Kansas, according to Standard & Poor's Statewide Education Insights, about 60% to 70% of students are proficient in reading, as evaluated by the Kansas state reading test. But on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, only 33% to 35% of Kansas students are proficient. A similar discrepancy exists in the math test scores. Diane Ravitch, in the New York Times on November 7, 2005, writes "Idaho claims that 90 percent of its fourth-grade students are proficient in mathematics, but on the federal test only 41 percent reached the Education Department's standard of proficiency. Similarly, New York reports that…
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Book review: Class Warfare

Class Warfare Besieged Schools, Bewildered Parents, Betrayed Kids and the Attack on Excellence J. Martin Rochester Encounter Books 2002 In Lake Wobegon, "every child is above average," Garrison Keillor says. In my personal experience, I can't think of any parents I know who don't have children who are not gifted or doing much better than average. After learning about the theory of Multiple Intelligences in chapter four of this book, I now know why all children are gifted. Multiple Intelligences is a theory, just over 20 years old, that says that besides the traditional areas of intelligence -- linguistic and…
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What Is the true state of public education in Kansas?

On a web page that is part of the National Education Association website, we can read some good news about Kansas schools. Here are some of the headlines to be found on that page: Math Scores Are Among the Nation's Best Math Scores Are Up Among the Best in the Nation in Students Going on to College College Entrance Exams Are Among the Nation's Best Among the Best Gains in the Nation in Students Going to College ACT Scores Are Rising More Students Are Taking ACTs Public School Students Outperform Private School Students on AP Exams AP Scores Are Among…
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How one school found a way to spell success

In the October 14, 2005 Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger wrote about an elementary school in Little Rock, Arkansas that experienced a remarkable turnaround in student achievement. This poor school, where 92% of the students live at or below the poverty level, was able to increase its scores on an achievement test by 17% in one year. What did Meadowcliff Elementary School do? Did it build new buildings and hire new teachers to reduce class size? Did it implement new curriculum? Did the local board of education hire an extra assistant superintendent to oversee the school? Did it increase teacher…
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Criticism of Bob Corkins reveals true motivations

I have not met Bob Corkins, but I have read some of his articles. I published several on the Voice For Liberty in Wichita. He is in favor of school choice, and that is one thing that the education establishment, education bureaucrats, and teachers unions are very much opposed to. Never mind that allowing school choice could be the quickest and easiest thing we can do to improve schools in Kansas. As Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby has noted regarding school choice in Milwaukee: From 1998-1999 onwards, the schools that faced the most competition from the vouchers improved student achievement radically--by…
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Augenblick perhaps cheap by comparison

Augenblick Perhaps Cheap by Comparison By Bob L. Corkins, Freestate Center for Liberty Studies August 29, 2005 Billions of dollars are riding on the outcome of the state's two education finance studies, one by the Legislative Division of Post Audit, the other by the national firm of business analysts at Standard & Poors. The Kansas Supreme Court is putting great reliance on the results of these studies in deciding how to resolve the behemoth Montoy v. State K-12 finance litigation. By threatening to close public schools, the Court forced the Legislature this summer to increase K-12 spending by a record-setting…
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Pricing a Car, Pricing a School?

Pricing a Car, Pricing a School? By Bob L. Corkins August 4, 2005 Think about buying an education as if you were buying a car. A car may be stylish, perfectly sized, fuel efficient, constructed for long life and safety, and loaded with the latest technology, but its price is still negotiable. And despite a window sticker that assigns a dollar amount to every selling feature, you can still cut a deal. That sticker won't list the car's value to your sense of self worth, your hope for recaptured youth or freedom, or even the improved welfare to your children…
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Jayhawk Judgment

A few quotes from an excellent editorial in the June 22, 2005 Wall Street Journal titled "Jayhawk Judgment." The link is here, although you probably have to subscribe to read it. Articles on some of these topics have recently appeared on this website. Kansas already spends a shade under $10,000 per student in the public schools -- the most in the region and above the national average even though Kansas is a low cost-of-living state. Also ignored by the courts were the volumes of scientific evidence that the link between school spending and educational achievement is close to nonexistent. Perhaps…
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How teaching math is politicized in public schools

The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled "Ethnomathematics" (June, 20, 2005, available at this link, although registration may be required) tells us of the transformation of mathematics from a universal language and tool for understanding and problem-solving to a "tool to advance social justice." For example: In a comparison of a 1973 algebra textbook and a 1998 "contemporary mathematics" textbook, Williamson Evers and Paul Clopton found a dramatic change in topics. In the 1973 book, for example, the index for the letter "F" included "factors, factoring, fallacies, finite decimal, finite set, formulas, fractions, and functions." In the 1998 book,…
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