Almost every issue of our local newspapers contain letters to the editor concerning our school district, its operating budget, our teachers' contract and matters relating to class size, curriculum, etc. These are very important matters to all of us since they affect the lives and development of our children and the quality of our school district. I sense, however, that many of the suggestions and thoughts that are expressed in these letters, including some of the letters submitted by teachers, are based on emotional responses or on unsupported ideas about what is best for our children and our school district. I wish, therefore, to highly recommend the following two books to everyone; particularly parents, teachers, school board members and all school administrators:
Education Myths (What special interest groups want you to believe about our schools and why it isn't so), by Jay P. Greene, published in 2005 by Rowman & Littlefield (cost $24.95).
The Conspiracy of Ignorance (The failure of American Public Schools), by Martin L. Gross published in 1999 by Harper Collins (cost $25).
Each book is an easy read and runs to approximately 250 pages. Neither of these authors can be labeled a "right wing kook" who hates children or teachers. Mr. Greene holds a Ph.D from Harvard and is now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Mr.Gross, a New York Times best-selling author, has written a number of books about government waste and inefficiencies. He is a faculty member at the New School for Social Research and at NYU.
These books examine many widely held beliefs about American public school education, including those about class size and teacher pay, and find that they just aren't true. Everyone should want to know why American high school seniors were recently ranked 19th in math and science, out of seniors from the 21 industrialized nations of the world.