USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

Educational policy analysis archives


Material Information

Educational policy analysis archives
Physical Description:
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
Arizona State University
University of South Florida.
Place of Publication:
Tempe, Ariz
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Education -- Research -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
usfldc doi - E11-00002
usfldc handle - e11.2
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
mods:mods xmlns:mods http:www.loc.govmodsv3 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govmodsv3mods-3-1.xsd
mods:relatedItem type host
mods:identifier issn 1068-2341mods:part
mods:detail volume mods:number 1issue 2series Year mods:caption 19931993Month February2Day 22mods:originInfo mods:dateIssued iso8601 1993-02-02

xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam a22 u 4500
controlfield tag 008 c19939999azu 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a E11-00002
0 245
Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 1, no. 2 (February 02, 1993).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c February 02, 1993
Educational reform in an era of disinformation /David C. Berliner.
x Research
v Periodicals.
2 710
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
1 773
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
4 856


1 of 35 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 1 Number 2February 2, 1993ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 1993, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES .Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold.Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .Educational Reform in an Era of Disinformation David C. Berliner Arizona State UniversityCitation: Berliner, D. C. (1993, February 2). Educa tional reform in an era of disinformation, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 1 (2). Retrieved [date] from which suggest the failure of America's schools to educate its youth well do not survive careful scrutiny. School reform s based on these questionable data are wrongheaded and potentially d istructive of quality education. Reforms of the kind proposed by those wh o have started from an assumption that America's schools have failed wi ll exacerbate the differences between the "have" and the "have-not" s chool districts. It is not difficult to understand why so many peop le are concerned about schooling and youth. One only has to read newspaper headlines and summaries to learn why people think so poorly of the system that atten ds to the care of the next generation. For example, these stories were culled from the med ia: In a typical year during the 1980s, minors aged fou rteen to nineteen accounted for 43.4 % of all criminal offenders; 54% of all murder cases in the nation involved jobless youth.


2 of 35High school girls turn to prostitution for entertai nment, curiosity, and as a source of revenue--police report their rate up 262%. At a public junior high school a gang of six studen ts had extorted $2,500 from about 120 classmates. A fourteen year-old student who was repeatedly torm ented and beaten by school toughs hangs himself. Forty-four high school students go wilding, raid fi ve shops for merchandise. Teen tortured by two school gang members, cigarette s used to burn his hands and back. Kids report feeling refreshed after beating up anot her child. Because they didn't like a lecture on how they migh t lead a better life, eight junior high toughs demanded an apology from their teacher. He refused, so they hit him, kicked him, threw his papers all around, and fought with ten other teachers as well. Finally the teacher knelt before the youths a nd apologized to avoid further confusion. Ten percent of the nation's public middle schools r equest police guards for their graduation ceremonies. Other similar stories exist, but these are enough to make clear the awful, brutal world of youth and the failure of public schooling. This is an old story by now in the United States; but what you may not have anticipate d as you read these clippings is that all of them are from the Japanese press describing incidents in Japanese schools. In a typical year during the 1980s, minors aged fou rteen to nineteen accounted for 43.4 % of all criminal offenders; 54% of all murder cases in the nation involved jobless youth. (Youth Crime up 100% over 1976, Japa n Times, 8/23/87). High school girls turn to prostitution for entertai nment, curiosity, and as a source of revenue--police report their rate up 262%. ("Num ber of minors taken into custody for prostitution increases dramatically," J apan Times, 1/30/86). At a public junior high school a gang of six studen ts had extorted $2,500 from about 120 classmates. (Schoolland, Shoguns Ghost: T he Dark Side of Japanese Education, 1990, p.121). A fourteen year-old student who was repeatedly torm ented and beaten by school toughs hangs himself. (Schoolland, Shoguns Ghost: T he Dark Side of JApanese Education, 1990, p.121). Forty-four high school students go wilding, raid fi ve shops for merchandise. (Schoolland, Shoguns Ghost: The Dark Side of JApane se Education, 1990, p.122). Teen tortured by two school gang members, cigarette s used to burn his hands and back. ("Tokyo police report case of bullying," Japa n Times, 11/20/85).


3 of 35Kids report feeling refreshed after beating up anot her child. (Stanglin, D. "Japan's Blackboard Jungle," Newsweek, 7/1/85). Because they didn't like a lecture on how they migh t lead a better life, eight junior high toughs demanded an apology from their teacher. He refused, so they hit him, kicked him, threw his papers all around, and fought with ten other teachers as well. Finally the teacher knelt before the youths a nd apologized to avoid further confusion. ("8 junior high thugs attack 10 teachers ," Japan Times, 3/26/86; "8 angry students hurt 10 teachers," Daily Yomiuri, 3/ 2/86). Ten percent of the nation's public middle schools r equest police guards for their graduation ceremonies. (Schoolland, Shoguns Ghost: The Dark Side of Japanese Education, 1990, p.179). The evidence is quite clear that the Japanese publ ic school system is a brutal and an enormous failure by most of the standards we as a nation have for schooling, save one, achievement in mathematics and science. The Japanese system is one in which: Crude forms of cheating at the college level are ra mpant because there usually is no penalty for it. Parents pay teachers "thank you" money for giving g ood grades and letters of recommendation to their children. A teacher was taunted by his colleagues for being t oo soft on students, so when a student on a field trip used a hair dryer-an act forbidden by the school--that teacher beat and kicked the student to death. At th e trial the defense was that everyone at the school expected this teacher to use corporal punishment. This seemed perfectly reasonable to the judge, who was q uite lenient in sentencing. I became concerned about the possibility of errone ous information being disseminated by officials of our government when th is same Japanese system of education was scrutinized by a team of visiting Ame ricans, whose views were reported in the Japan Times under the headline: "U. S. Educa tors Marvel at Japan's Schools" (October 26, 1985). The then United States Assistan t Secretary of Education, Chester Finn, a member of the study tour, said of the Japan ese: They've demonstrated that you can have a coherent c urriculum, high standards, good discipline, parental support, a pro fessional teaching force and a well-run school. They have shown that the ave rage student can learn a whole lot more. (Washington Post, October 19, 1985) Herbert Walberg, a distinguished educational resea rcher, was on the visiting panel and concurred with Dr. Finn that much in the Japanese system could help to solve the problems of education in the United States. He said: I think it's portable. Gumption and willpower, that 's the key. (Washington Post, October 19, 1985) Knowing something about the Japanese system, I ask ed myself: Do we have the


4 of 35gumption and will power to resist turning our schoo ls into institutions where 26,000 junior high school students and 4,000 elementary sc hool students refuse to go to school at all because they are tormented by teachers and b ullied by students, and where 47,000 others miss at least fifty days of schooling per ye ar because of the abuse they must face at school (Chicago Tribune, November 24,1985)? Wher e the number of pleats allowed in a girl's skirt is specified? Where students with curly hair are required to carry certificates attesting that their hair is not perme d? Where some of the teachers at a middle school kicked and beat the students regularl y, in full view of other teachers, finally killing one student by bashing in his skull and were then supported by all the other teachers who threatened the students to make them remain silent? Where a Tokyo mother questioned the school system for allowing te achers to beat, kick, and drag her son around the school yard frequently over a three year period, at times hammering his head against a goal post, and once throwing him in a garbage dump and jumping on him, because the student in question once skipped Sunday soccer practice to go fishing with a friend (see Schoolland, 1990, for additional docume ntation of this fundamentally cruel and clearly un-American system. Many of the news re ports cited in this paper are from his book on Japanese education). I am pleased that there are no student offenses in the United States for which such cruelty on the part of teachers would be tolerated. But in Japan, over-regulation and harsh treatment of students are common. We certainl y need "willpower and gumption" alright, but it is to resist a system that is at od ds with our culture's humane and enlightened views of childhood and schooling. We ce rtainly need that gumption and willpower to resist importing a system that has bee n recognized as a failure in Japan, according to their own prime minister and his counc il of advisors, who have said: "Bullying, suicides among school children, dropping out from school, increasing delinquency, violence both at home and a t school, heated entrance exam races, over-emphasis on scholastic ra tings, and torture of children by some teachers are the result of the pat hological mechanisms that have become established in Japan's educational syst em" (Japan Times, April 24, 1986). I have a hundred criticisms of our school system a nd my list grows daily. I hope that we can improve our system, since public educat ion in a vibrant, dynamic democracy should never be considered finished. But the reform s should be based on facts about the system and input from its practitioners. Reforms pr oposed by politicians, business leaders or other citizens should not be undertaken without reliable evidence or credible stories of experience to back them up. I was concer ned that if so much nonsense could be spoken and written in the United States about th e glories of the Japanese educational system, perhaps information being disseminated abou t the American system was also false. I began, therefore, to examine the validity of the criticisms made about our educational system. My findings are instructive. Let us look, therefore, at some of the commonly re peated charges made against the American public school system. But this time, i nstead of simply agreeing with them, because they appeal to our suspicions and fears, le t us ask whether any credible data exist to make us question their validity. Perhaps t he charges will turn out to be only partially true. Perhaps our public education is fai ling certain students and their families, but not others, and perhaps it is not even failing most of the students in the public schools. Perhaps Americans have been lied to, becau se when nations have economic


5 of 35 difficulties or go through social change, their lea ders look for scapegoats, and the American school system is a handy one. Perhaps we a re changing into a plutocracy, where a wealthy elite chooses not to use the public schools, and participates in undermining confidence in that system so as to prom ote the conception of schooling as a commodity, to be bought like medicine, to be regard ed as a privilege rather than a right of every American. Perhaps we are in a peculiarly A merican cycle, where every generation or so we like to play "kick-the-teacher. We will look again at the reasons underlying the charges made, but for now, let us lo ok more closely at the charges themselves.Charge: Today's youth are not as smart as students used to be. I have heard versions of this charge repeated by p oliticians,news commentators, editorial writers, deans of colleges of education, and my neighbors, friends, and relatives. A related charge is that today's youth c an not think as well as they used to. We can start examining this claim with cross-sectional data about intelligence test performance. Intelligence test scores in the United States are up, according to psychologist J. R. Flynn, reporting in the prestigious and rigorously peer-reviewed journal Psychological Bulletin (1987). In fact, the scores are not just u p, they are up dramatically, as Table 1 reveals.Table 1. Wechsler Stanford-Binet IQ for White Americans Age s 2-75 Years, Used in Standardization Samples for Norming the Tests (Afte r Flynn, 1987, p. 177, Table 7).Year 19321947-481953-541964-651971-7219721978 Ave IQ 100106108109110114115 Since 1932 the mean IQ of white Americans aged 2 t o 75 has risen about .3 points per year. Today's students actually average about 14 IQ points higher than their grandparents did, and average about 7 points higher than their parents did on the well-established Wechsler or Stanford-Binet Intelli gence Tests. That is, as a group, today's school age youth are scoring nearly one sta ndard deviation higher than the group from which have emerged the recent leaders of gover nment and industry. The data reveal, for example, that the number of students ex pected to have IQs of 130 or more--a typical cut off point for giftedness--is now about seven times greater than it was for the generation that is now retiring from their leadersh ip positions throughout the nation, and complaining about the poor performance of todayUs y outh. In fact, the number of students above 145 IQ points is now about eighteen times greater than it was two generations ago. Moreover, and perhaps more importa nt, the increase in IQ throughout the industrialized world appears not to be in infor mational areas alone, as measured by the vocabulary or mathematics sections of the intel ligence test. Rather, the changes in performance have been most pronounced in the decont extualized, abstract, problem-solving areas of the tests, the parts that are purer measures of general intelligence. Flynn concluded that he was not sure what the intelligence tests really measure, but since 1950 IQ gains on those tests, in industrialized nations, reflect a


6 of 35"massive" increase in abstract problem solving abil ity. But he would not speculate on what might have produced such an effect. Was it pub lic health? Increased schooling? Better schooling? Changes in the gene pool within i ndustrialized nations? Why would measured IQ in the United States increase so much s ince the 1930s? Torsten Husen, the distinguished Swedish education al researcher, and member of the National Academy of Education, working with Dut ch researcher Albert Tuijnman (1991), helped to answer that question. They were p ersuaded by Flynn's data to reexamine the files of a study conducted in Malmo, Sweden, a ten-year longitudinal study of intelligence, from childhood to adulthood, among 671 Swedish young men. Using contemporary statistical techniques, unavaila ble at the time of the original study, they checked whether changes in IQ had occurred, an d if so, what might explain them. Their conclusion was unequivocal. After the variati ons of home background and childhood IQ are removed, schooling was seen to hav e a direct and substantial effect on adult IQ. The authors concluded that ....schools not only confer knowledge and instrumen tal qualifications but also train and develop students' intellectual capac ity. The results [of this study] provide support for the thesis...that IQ as measured by group intelligence tests is not stable but changes signif icantly...[and] that the amount and quality of schooling experiences to whic h children are exposed are implicated in the observed changes in measured IQ.... [Apparently] schooling co-varies with and produces positive chan ges in adult IQ. (Husen and Tuijnman, 1991, p. 22) One further study in this area is of interest. Two Israeli researchers (Cahen and Cohen, 1989) asked a simple but well-known question in the prestigious journal Child Development: Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, referring to the connections between IQ test performance and school achievement as one gets older, they asked: As you grow from year to year, does intellig ence, as measured by an intelligence test, determine school achievement, or does school achievement determine intelligence? That is, do you have to be intelligent to profit fr om schooling, as is generally believed, or do you have to profit from schooling to become i ntelligent, as measured by an intelligence test? From a large data set they tried to determine the direction of the relationships. They were firm in their conclusion. School achievement was the primary factor associated with changes in intelligence test performance. Intelligence did not appear to be the causal factor in growth in school achievement. A coherent set of similar findings are analyzed by the respected psychologist Stephen Ceci of Cornell (1991), in the rigorously reviewed journal Developmental Psych ology. In his review we find convincing evidence that the skills measured on int elligence tests and the processes underlying intelligence test performance are taught and learned in school. Estimates of the magnitude of this influence range as high as si x IQ points lost per year of schooling missed. It has become clear that the more schooling you acquire, the smarter you will appear on the tests. The corollary is one that our democracy is having difficulty facing, namely, that higher social-class standing will make a child intelligent, at least as measured by tests of intelligence. Higher social-cl ass standing allows parents to buy high quality day care, preschool, and K-12 schooling; pe rmits the purchase of instructional toys, encyclopedias and computers; and ensures firs t-rate health care. As the number of children in poverty grows, and two million more wer e added to the list this past decade (National Commission on Children, 1991), the contin uous rise in intelligence test scores


7 of 35in this country is likely to stop and the cause for that will not be found in schools, but in a society that is witnessing a reduction in the sta ndard of living for eighty percent of its people (Reich, 1991). The blame for the decline, ho wever, is likely to be placed on the schools. Let us summarize what we have learned from these s tudies of intelligence. First, average intelligence, particularly decontextualized abstract problem-solving, of the kind measured in some IQ tests, has risen dramatically o ver a generation. Second, a good candidate for the explanation of such large effects is the increase in educational opportunity provided over this time period. And thi rd, there is now reason to believe that it is in large part educational opportunity that ca uses successful intelligence test performance, rather than intelligence as measured b y performance on intelligence tests, being the cause of school success. Perhaps our chil dren are not less able then their parents, but instead quite a bit more able. Perhaps also, our educational systems are not worse than they used to be, but better than they ha ve ever been. What else might account for the fact that in 1978 90,000 high school studen ts took Advanced Placement (AP) tests for college credit, while in 1990 that number had increased 255 percent to 324,000 students, who took a total of 481,000 different AP tests (Educational Testing Service, 1991)? Although the mean score dropped over this pe riod only eleven one-hundreths of a point, the number of Asians taking the AP tests t ripled, the percentage of African-Americans taking the examinations doubled, and the percentage of Hispanics quadrupled. Something in the schools must be workin g correctly. Let us now go on to look at our students' performa nce on other aptitude tests over the time period during which they were allegedly lo sing some of their smartness. We can begin with the test that has often made the headlin es throughout our nation. Charge: The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) has show n a marked decrease in mean score over the last twenty-five years, indicating t he failure of our schools and our teachers to do their jobs. This misleading statement is so often repeated tha t it is hard to correct. But let us try to get it straight. To be sure, since 1965 ther e has been a steady decline in the average SAT score for our nation's youth. The decline howev er, has been only 3.3 percent of the raw score total, about five fewer items answered co rrectly over twenty-five years. The explanation for this loss is simple and should fill educators with great pride, not shame. Why? Because much greater numbers of students in th e bottom sixty percent of their class have been taking the test since the 1960s (Ca rson, Huelskamp, Woodall, 1991). As educational opportunities and higher education beca me available to rural Americans and to members of traditionally under-represented minor ities, more of these students started taking the SAT. Since they were more frequently fro m impoverished communities and from schools that offer a poorer academic curriculu m and fewer advanced course offerings, it is not surprising that they tended to attain lower scores than advantaged, suburban, middle-class white students. This is why the mean number of items correct is less than it was, and most of that drop occurred be tween 1965 and 1975, not since. As an educator I am filled with pride that we have played a major role in the achievement of two of America's most prized goals of the 1960s--a higher high-school graduation rate, particularly for minority children, and increased a ccess to higher education for everyone. We accomplished this with only a loss of correct re sponses to about five of the items used in computing the SAT scores. A remarkable achi evement, I think, particularly when you look at other data.


8 of 35 For example, one fact that is rarely acknowledged when the media interview those who see the sky falling and the nation endang ered because of the decrease in SAT scores is rather startling, as Table 2 reveals.Table 2. Total SAT Subpopulation Scores.Ethnic Group Year WhiteBlackAsian American Indian Mexican American Puerto Rican 1976 944686932808781765 1990 933737938825809764(From data supplied by the Educational Testing Serv ice and the National Center for Educational Statistics. Please note: the data in Ta ble 2 in versions of this article seen before August 11, 1994, were in error. I thank Andrew J. C oulson for pointing out the erroneous data.) From 1976 to 1990 the mean SAT scores of AfricanAmerican, Asian-American, Native-American, Mexican-American and Puerto Rican high school students have gone up (Carson, Huelskamp, and Woodall, 1991). A govern ment-funded report by the scientists of the Sandia National Laboratories make s the important observation that every one of the minority sub-groups for whom there are data has increased its average score on the SAT over the time period although the U.S. mean dropped. The most likely cause of this increase in measured achievement is t he improvement in their education. Finally, I call your attention to Table 3.Table 3.Total SAT Scores of Students Who Were Like the 1975 SAT Test Takers. Year 1975198019851990 All Test Takers 903890906896 Students Who Match1975 Test Takers 900915950960(Adapted from Carson, Huelskamp and Woodall, 1991, p.47) Here we see in the upper row the SAT performance o f all test takers between 1975 and 1990. As I noted, it is unusually stable o ver this time period. But more important is the second row of Table 3. This is the performance of students from 1975 to 1990 who match those who took the test in 1975 in t erms of demographic variables such as rank in high school class and gender. When we fo llow their performance over the years, we find something to fill the heart of every educator with pride. We see an increase of about one-third of a standard deviation in SAT performance. This is an effect size of considerable magnitude among these advantag ed, primarily white youth, who were supposedly achieving less because they suffere d from harmful desegregation


9 of 35policies including forced busing, low standards of performance, poor teachers, no homework, too much television, low morals, and a ho st of other plagues that uninformed critics of education believe are affecting the perf ormance of students today. What makes this group of college-bound high-achiev ers so much better than their 1975 peers? Is it cleaner air or water? Improved di et or exercise? I believe a good candidate for the credit is the continuous improvem ent of the schools they attend. What adds more to my pride is that Educational Testing S ervice, the developers of the test items for the SAT, has admitted that the SAT today is more difficult than it was in 1975 (Carson, Huelskamp, and Woodall, 1991). What have we learned about our students from these data sets? Three things stand out. First, the supposedly great loss in America's intellectual capital, as measured by the average score on the SAT examination, is trivial, p articularly since the average scores of every minority group have been going up for fifteen years, and even the traditional college bound students (those white middle-class st udents more likely to have taken the examination in 1975) are doing dramatically better today. Second, more American students are graduating from high school and thinki ng about college. That is why the mean SAT score did fall somewhat. Third, the data w e have from this well-accepted indictor of educational achievement will not suppor t the accusation that, overall, we have a failing school system and inadequate teacher s. The public and many educators bought this spurious charge, and they should not do so any longer. Charge: The performance of American students on sta ndardized achievement tests reveals gross inadequacies. Despite our best effort s and extra expenditures, test scores for many schools stay below the nation's ave rage. Let us examine this canard by first looking at the data collected by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These ar e data that should convince anyone that, at a minimum, the sky is not falling. The NAEP tests are given to a national sample of 9-, 13-, and 17-year olds in the subject matters of mathematics, science, reading, writing, geography, and computer skills. T he analysis of these data by the scientists of the Sandia National Laboratories (Car son, Huelskamp, and Woodall, 1991) suggests that since the 1970s modest gains, at best have been the rule. But what is more important, they state unequivocally that "the natio nal data on student performance does not indicate a decline in any area. "And they under lined the 'any' in their report. Their conclusion was that "students today appear to be as well educated as previously educated students" (p. 12). This particular set of standardized tests, purport ing to be the nation's report card, says only that our students are performing the same over time. But there are other data in which we can take greater pride. Let us examine the standardized tests that states and school districts buy, adjust their curriculum to, a nd whose results are reported to the public in local newspapers every year. According to one of the nation's most respected fi gures in educational measurement, Robert Linn, and his colleagues Graue and Sanders (1990), when you investigate the norming procedures used with the mo st commonly purchased standardized tests, you find that it takes a higher score now to hit the fiftieth percentile rank than it did in previous decades. For example, on average, students in the 1980s scored higher on the California Achievement Test (C AT) than they did in the 1970s.


10 of 35 Similarly, on the venerable Iowa Test of Basic Skil ls (ITBS), at the time of the last norming of the test, the test developer said "Compo site achievement in 1984-85 was at an all-time high in nearly all test areas." The sam e trend was found in the renorming of the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), the Metropolit an Achievement Test (MAT) and the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS). The data in Tables 4 and 5 show the growth between the norming samples used the last ti me a test was normed and the most recent time the test was normed. The results are un ambiguous: In both reading and mathematics we find meaningful annual gains in perc entile ranks from one representative norming sample to the next.Table 4. Yearly Increase in Percentile Rank for a Reading T est Score at the Median in the Last Norm Group Compared to the Most Recent Norm Group ( After Linn, Graue and Sanders, 1990, p. 12)Grade Test 12345678 CAT CTBS ITBS MAT SRA - STAN NAEP --0.3---0.0Ave Yr Gain 1.951.221.070.931.030.920.910.72 Ave Gainfor 7 yrs yearly gain = 1.09 percentile ranks. Typica l gain in percentiles for median student from the last norming to the present norming = 7.63Table 5. Yearly Increase in Percentile Rank for a Math Test Score at the Median in the Last Norm Group Compared to the Most Recent Norm Group ( After Linn, Graue and Sanders, 1990, p. 12)Grade Test 12345678 CAT CTBS ITBS MAT SRA 1.70.5-1.0-


11 of 35 STAN NAEP --0.5---0.6Ave Yr Gain 2.151.781.231.321.651.501.231.38 Ave Gainfor 7 yrs yearly gain = 1.53 percentile ranks. Typica l gain in percentiles for median student from the last norming to the present norming = 10.7 Major standardized tests are renormed, on the aver age, approximately every seven years. A reasonable estimate according to Pro fessor Linn (personal communication) is that, over one generation, norms have been redone around three times. That means that today's youth is scoring abo ut one standard deviation higher than their parents did when they took the test. We can e stimate that around eighty-five percent of today's public school students score hig her on standardized tests of achievement than their average parent did. But the high-jump bar keeps getting higher, and it takes a higher jump today than it did around 1965 to hit the fiftieth percentile. While on the subject of standardized test performa nce, we should also examine the social studies survey developed by Drs. Diane R avitch and Chester Finn. Dr. Ravitch is currently Assistant Secretary of Education and D irector of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Dr. Finn held those jobs during the Reagan administration and now continues to be an advisor to the Secretary of Education and others who believe, as he does, that public schools and the te achers that staff them are failures. In 1987 Drs. Ravitch and Finn released the gloomy book "What Our 17-Year-Olds Know." Their answer was that seventeen -year-olds know embarrassingly and shockingly little! Their conclusions were part of a barrage of similar arguments made to the American people by E. D. Hirsch in his book "Cultural Literacy" (1987), Alan Bloom in his book "The Closing of the American Mind" (1987), and William Bennett in his report "To Reclaim a Legacy" (1984). The popular press, of course, promoted the claim that today's children knew less than they ever did and, therefore, that we were surely a nation at risk. The authors and th e editorial writers throughout the land seemed to see nothing but doom for America if we di dn't return to our old ways, to our halcyon days as a nation and as a people. Dale Whittington (1991), writing in a prestigious and rigorously peer reviewed journal has thoroughly examined the claim by Ravitc h and Finn that the seventeen-year-olds of the 1980s knew less than the ir parents, grandparents, or great grandparents. She sought out the social studies and history tests administered from 1915 until recently, and equated them as best one can us ing post-hoc procedures. She compared content covered, difficulty, scoring proce dures, types of students taking the exams, and so forth. She was able to compare studen t performance across time on some topical areas and some eras, such as the Civil War or the colonial period. A quick summary of her research is that students have never known as much social studies material as the test developers wanted them to know Every generation of adults has a tendency to find the next generation wanting. This social phenomena has been recorded for about 2,500 years, since Socrates condemned the youth of Athens for their impertinence and ignorance. Ravitch and Finn are in this grand tradition, disappointed


12 of 35that the next generation does not know what they do Whittington was also able to find forty-three item s on the Ravitch and Finn test that corresponded to items given in other tests at other times. So the validity of their claim of a decline in historical knowledge could be checked. On that set of items, today's students were less knowledgeable on about one-third of the items. They scored about the same on about one-third of those items. And they sc ored better than past generations on about one-third of the items. When compared to hist orical records, the data in Ravitch and Finn's study do not support their charge that t oday's seventeen-year-olds know less than they ever did. Whittington correctly points out that one of the r easons for the conclusions drawn by Ravitch and Finn was that they designed a norm-r eferenced test, where each item was to have a difficulty level of about .50. Such tests by design, will have a mean of approximately fifty percent. If you then use that t est in a criterion-referenced manner, indicating arbitrarily that a passing grade is sixt y percent, you have ensured that the vast majority of your students have failed the test. Suc h flawed logic was used by Drs. Ravitch and Finn, and the press dutifully reported on the decline in American student culture, values, knowledge, morals, and everything else except their weight. Whittington concluded that "...the perception of decline in the 'results' of A merican education is open to question. Indeed, given the reduced drop-out rate a nd less elitist composition of the 17-year-old student body today, one could argue that students today know more American history than did their age peers of the past."Advocates for reform of education and excellence i n public schooling should refrain from harkening to a halcyon past (or allowing the perception of a halcyon past) to garner support for their view s. Such dishonest and unnecessary. Indeed, excellence is a goal that should be advocated on its own merits."(p. 778). What may we reasonably conclude from these studies of standardized tests? First, there is no convincing evidence of a decline in sta ndardized test performance. This is true of intelligence tests, the SAT, the NAEP tests and the standardized achievement tests used by local school districts. If any case f or change in these scores can be made, it is that the standardized aptitude and achievement t est scores are going up, not down. Educators working under almost intolerable conditio ns in some settings have not as a group failed society. Rather, it appears that socie ty has failed education. It is incredibly difficult to keep academic achievement constant or improve it with increasing numbers of poor children, unhealthy children, children from dysfunctional families, and children from dysfunctional neighborhoods. Yet the public sc hool system of the United States has actually done remarkably well as it receives, instr ucts, and nurtures children who are poor, without health care, and from families and ne ighborhoods that barely function. Moreover, as we shall see, they have done this with quite reasonable budgets too. Charge: Money doesn't matter. School people are alw ays saying they need more money but there is no relationship between amount s pent on education and the productivity of the schools.


13 of 35 This charge is recognized as false by everyone con nected with education, but accepted as truth by uninformed taxpayers and polit icians. Let us look first at data correlating SAT scores with money spent by state (C apulsky and Ducoffe, 1992); see Table 6.Table 6. Public School Expenditures Per Pupil: Comparison of Lowest and Highest SpendingStates (From Copulsky, William and Ducoffe,Robert, (1992), Why raising educational expenditures can lower SAT scores.)State School Expenditures per Pupil, 1989-90 Ave. SAT Score, 1990 Lowest Spending States 1) Utah$273310312) Idaho30169683) Mississippi 32209964) Arkansas32729815) So. Dakota 331210616) Louisiana33139937) Alabama3319984 Highest Spending States 1) Maryland $58879082) Rhode Island62538833) Massachusetts 67409004) Alaska72529145) Connecticut79309016) New York81658827) New Jersey8439891 Median Values Low Spenders$3272993High Spenders7252900 In this table we see that the seven states spendin g the least on education, averaging about $3,200 per pupil per year, spend on the education of their youth about half of what is spent by the seven states with the highest per-pupil expenditures.


14 of 35 Furthermore, when you look at the average SAT score s for those states, you see that the lowest spending states seem to clearly outperform t he highest spending states. From such data one can easily infer that money does not matter or that the lowest spending states are incredibly efficient and that the highes t spending states are not. Such might be the simple view. Now let us look at the percentage of high school seniors in these states taking the SAT in 1990 in Table 7.Table 7. Public School Expenditures Per Pupil: Comparison of Lowest and Highest Spending States wi th Percent Taking SAT Added (From Copulsky, William an d Ducoffe, Robert, (1992), Why raising educationalexpenditures can lower SAT scores.)State School Expenditures per Pupil, 1989-90 Ave. SAT Score, 1990 % of Seniors taking SAT, 1990Lowest Spending States 1) Utah$27331031 5% 2) Idaho3016968 17 3) Mississippi 3220996 4 4) Arkansas3272981 6 5) So. Dakota 33121061 5 6) Louisiana3313993 9 7) Alabama3319984 8 Highest Spending States 1) Maryland $5887908 59% 2) Rhode Island6253883 62 3) Massachusetts 6740900 72 4) Alaska7252914 42 5) Connecticut7930901 74 6) New York8165882 70 7) New Jersey8439891 69 Median Values Low Spenders$3272993 6% High Spenders7252900 69% The highest spending states have, on average, elev en times higher percentages of their students taking the SAT than the lowest spend ing states. These data are related to comments I have already made, about the kinds of st udents who nowadays take the


15 of 35SATs. These data force us to consider an important question regarding the productivity of our schools, particularly schools with the harde st-to-teach children. What should our criteria be for evaluating the American schools of the twenty-first century? Should we concentrate on the SAT score or should we strive fo r the development of more highly educated men and women? Should high school educator s focus on getting their students to answer more items right on the test, or should t hey be focusing on getting more of their students to go to college? Working under diff icult conditions, with a greater at-risk population, the highest spending states posted a lo ss of up to ten items or about seven percent of the raw score points on the SAT, but the y posted an eleven hundred fifty percent increase in the percent of high school seni ors thinking about going to college. What better use of money can one think of? Particul arly when you realize that a good share of the higher expenditures per-pupil in those high spending states is due to a) the extraordinarily high extra costs of special educati on, a natural consequence of poverty and illness; and b) the extraordinarily high per-pu pil expenditures made by some of the wealthiest suburban districts in the nation, paying two and three times the cost per-pupil per-year as that of an inner city school district ( Kozol, 1991). Let us now look at other data on the issue of mone y. Card and Krueger (1990) examined whether current income could be predicted from characteristics of the state school systems where men received their education d uring the first half of the century. After the usual statistical controls were applied, the researchers found that teachers' salaries, class size, and length of the school year were significant predictors of future earnings. States that had spent the most had produc ed citizens that had earned the most. Teachers' salaries show up repeatedly in other data as an important factor in improving the quality of the education provided. For example, Manski (1987) found that higher salaries attract teaching candidates with higher ac ademic ability, and Murnane and Olsen (1989) found that teachers' salaries affect the acc umulation of experience in the profession. So higher salaries in education, as in most occupations, seem to attract and keep more people of talent. Does that pay off? You bet! Ferguson (1991), in the Harvard Journal on Legislation presents convincing data on this issue. Both teachers and students throughou t Texas were tested for academic proficiency, providing an unusual set of data for l ooking at the effects of teacher ability, teacher experience, class size, and professional ce rtification on student performance in reading and mathematics. In this case achievement t est data on millions of students in nine-hundred districts were examined longitudinally from 1986 to 1990. In these complex data two rather simple findings emerged. Fi rst, teachers' academic proficiency explains twenty to twenty five percent of the varia tion across districts in the average scores made by students on academic achievement tes ts. The smarter the teachers, the smarter their pupils appeared to be, when standardi zed achievement tests were administered to both groups. Second, teachers with more years of experience have students with higher test scores, lower drop-out ra tes, and higher rates of taking the SAT. Experience counts for about ten percent of the variation in student test scores across districts. The effects are such that an incr ease of ten percent in the number of teachers with nine or more years experience within a district is predicted to reduce drop-out rates by about four percent and increase t he percentage of students taking the SAT by three percent. Dollars appear to be more lik ely to purchase bright and experienced professionals. In return they are more likely to provide us with higher achieving students. Perhaps the Heritage Foundation might like to reconsider its statement that:


16 of 35...virtually all studies of school performance, in fact, reveal that spending has little bearing on student achievement.... Resea rch demonstrates that [concentrating on performance assessment] will be f ar more successful than those [reforms] that concentrate on salary levels a nd class size. (Heritage Foundation, 1989, pp 1-2). Ferguson also had something to say to the Heritage Foundation about class size. He found that in grades one through seven, each add itional student in excess of a class size eighteen causes district academic achievement to fall--and the fall is between ten and twenty percent of a standard deviation per addi tional pupil over eighteen. Thus, mean performance of a typical fourth grade class of twenty-five students is predicted to be thirty-five percentile ranks below a similar cla ss with only eighteen students. These effects for class-size are larger than ordinarily f ound, but totally consistent with experimental data recently reported by J. Finn et a l. (1990). Ferguson also found something to gladden the heart s of teacher educators, namely, that the percentage of teachers with master 's degrees accounts for five percent of the variation in student scores across districts in grades one through seven. So we learn from Ferguson and from other supporting data that a cademically more proficient teachers, who are more experienced, who are better educated, and who work with smaller classes, are associated with students who d emonstrate significantly higher school achievement. It costs money to attract academically talented teachers, keep them on the job, update their professional skills, and provide them with working conditions that enable them to perform well. Those districts that a re willing and able to pay the costs attract the more talented teachers from neighboring districts, and they eventually get the best in a region (see Kozol, 1991). This is called a market, and when it exists, as when some districts spend more on instructional variable s, those districts can improve their academic performance. Their improvement, however, m ust be at the expense of the districts unable to pay the price. This strikes me as an inherently undemocratic system. It is important to ask, when someone says money do es not matter, whether the money we are talking about is for instructional pur poses, such as teachers' salaries, class size, professional growth, and so forth, or whether it is for other purposes. The per-pupil expenditures for busing in rural areas, for buildin g new facilities, for athletic programs and for other non-instructional costs, should not b e expected to have direct effects on student achievement. But the money school districts spend on instructional variables, including the teachers' salaries, matters a great d eal. Whoever says money does not matter has simply not disaggregated the data.Charge: American schools are too expensive. We spen d more on education than any other country in the world, and we have little to show for it. There is no shortage of citizens and politicians w ho will say this, despite the ease with which it can be shown to be false. Rasell and Mishel (1990) inform us that President Bush has received advice from the chair o f the Council of Economic Advisors, Michael Boskin, who said we spend more per pupil th an most of the other industrialized economies. Former Secretary of Education Cavazos an d current Secretary of Education Alexander said we spend more than our rivals German y and Japan. The ever-advising Chester Finn wrote in the New York Times that we "s pend more per pupil than any other nation." And John Sununu, formerly the President's chief of staff and close advisor, just


17 of 35 before the educational summit meeting of 1989 decla red that "We spend twice as much [on education] as the Japanese and almost 40 percen t more than all the other major industrialized countries of the world." The Economi c Policy Institute of Washington (Rasell and Mishel, 1990) checked the veracity of t hese statements. It appears that the people who make these claims, like David Stockman b efore them, made up the numbers as they went along. Their only concern is the advan cement of their own political agenda, which may well be the destruction of the public sch ool system through disinformation. The United States of America, according to UNESCO d ata, is tied with Canada and the Netherlands, and all three fall behind Swed en in the amount spent per pupil for education in K-12 and higher education (Rasell and Mishel, 1990). Even though we are not first, we look good in this comparison because we spend much more than most nations on higher education, and have two to three times more people per 100,000 population enrolled in higher education than most o ther countries. When it comes only to pre-primary, primary and secondary education, ho wever, we actually spend much less than the average industrialized nation. We spend dr amatically less! Observe the relative positions in Table 8.Table 8. Expenditures in 1988 Dollars for K-12 Education as a Percent of Per Capita Income (1985) for 16 Industrialized N ations (UNESCO and NCES Data, Page 15, Rassell and Mishel, 1990).RankDollarsPercent Sweden1$590036%Austria2$430029%Switzerland3$700029%Norway4$490027%Belgium5$320025%Denmark6$440024%Japan7$480024%Canada8$360024%W. Germany9$400023%France10$300023%Netherlands11$320023%United Kingdom12$230022%Italy13$180022%United States14$350021%Australia15$230019%Ireland16$140019% In 1988 dollars we rank ninth among sixteen indust rialized nations in per-pupil expenditures in grades K-12, spending fourteen perc ent less than Germany, thirty percent less than Japan, and fifty-one percent less than Switzerland. We can also compare ourselves to other countries in terms of th e percent of per capita income spent


18 of 35 on education. When we do that comparison we find that out of six teen industrialized nations, thirteen of them spent a greater percent of per-cap ita income on K-12 education than we do. If we were to come up to the average percentage of per capita income of the fifteen other industrialized nations, just to the average p ercentage expended per capita in those countries, not to the levels of those countries tha t spend the most, we would have to invest an additional $20 billion per year in K-12 e ducation! Mr. Sununu, Professor Finn, and the two Secretaries of Education must know this Is it possible that they are conducting a disinformation campaign? Perhaps we do not teach as much in the lower grade s as some would like. But we do not have to. We can provide the needed learning for a relatively large percentage of our students during their post-secondary studies. O ur nation has chosen to invest its money into higher education. Consequently, our educ ational system provides about twenty-five percent of a cohort with college degree s, and it is the envy of the world. We run a costly and terrific K-16 school system, but w e must acknowledge that we run an impoverished and relatively less well achieving K-1 2 system of education. Moreover, in many of the countries that spend more per capita th an we do, the funding is relatively even across regions and cities. But in our nation w e have, as Jonathan Kozol vividly describes, Savage inequalities (1991) in our funding for schools. Even though the average expenditures in the primary and secondary s chools are low for the nation as a whole, the actual annual expenditures for some of o ur students in school districts at the bottom of the distribution from which we calculated the mean are actually much, much lower. To our shame, conditions in many of our scho ol districts resemble those in the non-industrialized nations of the world. Given the expenditures on K-12 education, I can on ly conclude that our education president, George Bush, was not telling the truth w hen his lips were read and he was quoted as saying at the education summit of 1989 th at the United States "lavishes unsurpassed resources on [our children's] schooling (Bush, 1989). Actually, he should have said we are among the most cost-efficient nati ons in the world, with an amazingly high level of productivity for the comparatively lo w level of investment that our society makes in K-12 education.Charge: Our high schools, colleges and universities are not supplying us with enough mathematicians and scientists to maintain ou r competitiveness in world markets. Once again the Sandia National Laboratories have c ompiled data suggesting this is not so (Carson, Heulskamp, and Woodall, 1991). D ata from the National Science Foundation provide the percent of natural science a nd engineering bachelor's degrees awarded from the 1960s to the 1990s.Table 9. Natural Science Engineering Bachelors Degree Rate: Degrees per 22 year-old U.S. Population (Adapted from Carson, Huelskamp Woodall, 1991, p. 61)Degree Type1960196519701975198019851990Computer Sci.0%0%.1%.2%.3%.8%.5%Natural Sci.


19 of 35 Engineering1. In Table 9, data on the percent of twenty-two-year -olds receiving science and engineering degrees are remarkably steady over time Moreover, while the actual numbers continue to be small, we have improved the percentages of minorities and women who now have access to technical jobs, as rev ealed in the Table 10.Table 10 Percent Increase in Mathematics, Computer Science, Physical Science and Engineering Bachelors Degrees for Selected Subpopulations From 1976-77 to 1986-87 (Adapted from Carson, Huelskamp Woodall, 1991, p. 63)WhiteAfr-AmerAsianNat-AmerHispanicFemales 50% 150% 420% 120% 150% 200% Educators should take enormous pride in the trends revealed in these data. We hope that these trends will not be reversed by the substantial reductions in support of higher education for poor and minority students at a time when the costs for post-secondary education are increasing. What is also worth noting about this supposedly fa iling system of ours is that when our students finish their baccalaureate, they know as much as they ever did, at least as measured by the Graduate Record Examination (GRE ), the test taken by most of those contemplating post-graduate education. See Table 11 .Table 11 Graduate Record Exam Scores for U.S. Citizens (Adapted from Carson, Huelskamp Woodall, 1991, p. 6 7 Original data from the National Center for Educatio nal Statistics)197519801985 GRE-Math 515520530 GRE-Verbal 490500480 In fact, as revealed in these data, the 1980s saw college graduates in possession of higher mathematics skills than they ever had before Furthermore, just since 1982 the measure of analytical and logical reasoning on the GRE, assessing what we normally call thinking, has increased about a third of a sta ndard deviation. And it has gone up while the number of examinees taking the test has i ncreased sixteen percent (Educational Testing Service, 1991). So the validit y of the charge that undergraduate education is failing like every other part of the e ducational system is as questionable as the other laments we hear throughout the land. Although we see that the supply of mathematicians and scientists is steady, and that they are probably as talented as ever, we stil l have not addressed the charge that the supply in these fields is not keeping up with the d emand. In fact, there is solid data to suggest that the supply is exceeding demand! First of all we now exceed or are at parity with our economic competitors in terms of the techn ical competence of our work force, for example, in the number of engineers and physica l scientists in the work force per


20 of 35hundred workers (Carson, Huelskamp, and Woodall, 19 91, p. 107). So if we have lost our economic edge in the world market place it may well be because of poor business management and faulty government economic policies, but it certainly is not due to the lack of a technically skilled workforce. But that i s the present. The future supply in these fields does look gloomy, but that is true only as l ong as the economy's demand for such individuals is not examined. When demand as well as supply is examined, it turns out that the economy is not now able to absorb all the scientists and engineers that we produce. The Sandia report estimates that even with no increase in the rate of supply of scientists and engineers we will accumulate a surpl us of about one million by the year 2010. Given the reduction in military spending we a re likely to see over the next few years, the glut of trained scientists is likely to be even higher than the forecasts that were made a year or two ago. In my gloomiest moments I t hink the business community and politicians who demand even higher production of en gineers and scientists from the schools do so because the cost of labor for these i ndividuals is higher than for others in the market. An oversupply will certainly drive down the salaries of such workers. It is also interesting to note that while the busi ness community is arguing for greater production of engineers and scientists by t he schools, it is at the same time informing us that it really has enough adequately p repared technically skilled people. Examining two different contemporary surveys of the five most important and five least important skills needed by employers, the Sandia sc ientists uncovered data in complete accordance with other studies conducted throughout this century. Survey of Workforce Skill Requirements conducted by the Michigan Education Department and the Rochester New York Sch ool District (Adapted from Carson, Huelskamp Woodall, 1991, p.13 1). Five Most Important Skills for Employment: Michigan SurveyRochester Survey No substance abuse No substance abuse Honest, integrity Follow directions Follow directions Read instructions Respect others Follow safety rules Punctuality, attendance Respect others Five Least Important Skills for Employment Michigan SurveyRochester Survey Mathematics Natural sciences Social sciences Calculus Natural sciences Computers Computer programming Art Foreign language Foreign languages


21 of 35 As revealed in the above list, and in dozens of ot her studies, it is the affective and motivational characteristics of workers that our em ployers worry most about. They depend on employees to show up on time, to get alon g with others, to care about doing well on the job, and so forth. They do not find the technical ability of the work force to be a problem for them. The myth of the coming shortage of technically abl e workers has also been debunked by the Economic Policy Institute (Mishel a nd Teixeira, 1991). They conclude from their analysis of the present and future labor force that "The projected shift in the occupational employment mix necessitates a small shift in educational requirements that can be accomplished if those entering the labor force have, on average, one-four th of a grade level more education than those retiring from the labor force" (p. 13). How can this be? Do we merely require only one-qua rter of a grade level more education? These researchers explain that the five most highly skilled and growing occupational groups will only make up about six per cent of the the job pool by the year 2000. On the other hand, service jobs, requiring th e least technical skill, will actually grow the fastest overall in the next few years, and they will constitute about seventeen percent of the job pool by the year 2000. Apparentl y this nation is not in any danger of failing to meet its technological needs. An explanation for the level of national proficien cy we achieve as a nation in technical and scientific fields is offered by labor economist John Bishop, writing in the scholarly journal Curriculum Studies (1990). He ask ed whether evidence from the labor market supports the claims of critics of schooling that there are economic benefits associated with better preparation in science, math ematics and language arts. Studying longitudinal data sets he found that during the fir st eight years on the job, young men without college education receive no rewards from t he labor market for their ability in science, mathematical reasoning or language arts. F or the noncollege bound female there was some effect on wages for mathematical rea soning, but none for competence in science or language arts. Bishop's conclusions expl ain a good deal of American student behavior for me when he says: "The tendency of so many American high school stude nts to avoid rigorous mathematics and science courses and their poor perf ormance on international science and mathematics tests, may, t herefore, well be a rational response to the lack of labour market rewa rds" (p.123). Although personal rewards cannot be found for high levels of school achievement in these areas, Bishop does note that increased eco nomic productivity is associated with increased mathematical and technical knowledge. So we have reason to want our students to be mathematically and scientifically li terate. But that is a more reasonable goal than the one the President and the press have adopted unthinkingly, being the number one nation in science and mathematics. It is my fervent hope that we do not try to become the number one achieving nation in scienc e and mathematics because a) we value a different set of childhood experiences; b) we simply do not reward such skills; c) we have enough people with those skills now; d) we will have an oversupply of people with those skills soon enough; and e) we have a wor ld wide pool of technically competent Pakistanis, Indians, Asians and Latin Ame ricans from which to draw if we


22 of 35ever need to. That is, of course, if we can get ove r our xenophobia and racism. Another finding from the work of the Sandia Nation al Laboratories provides a response to those who grumble that so many of our g raduate degrees in mathematics and the natural sciences go to so many foreign-born stu dents. It turns out that we are blessed with the good luck that over half of these talented individuals choose to stay in our country. These individuals become relatively high e arning law-abiding citizens, though no matter how much some people might wish it, they will never look white. Like most Americans I want a nation that is techno logically literate, a citizenry that knows enough mathematics and science to evalua te the solutions to the complicated problems that are produced in a technologically sop histicated world. Basic technological literacy is a reasonable curricular goal for our na tion. Bashing other countries in the international educational competitions is a politic al agenda-not an educational one. Charge: The United States is an enormous failure in the international comparisons of educational achievement. This charge gets the citizens of our nation riled. National pride, as at the Olympics, is involved. But if we are to have a comp etition then let us ask only that it is fair. I would ask five questions about such compari sons before I would spend one moment worrying about our students' performance. Fi rst, I would like to know if we Americans want for our children a childhood like th at experienced by Japanese, Korean, Israeli or Indian children? I do not think so. Thei r children are raised in their ways and our children are raised in our way. As you might ex pect, we have a vision of what constitutes a "normal" childhood that is uniquely A merican. My middle-class neighbors seem to agree that their children should be able to watch a good deal of TV; participate in organized sports such as Little League, basketba ll, and soccer; engage in after school activities such as piano lessons and dance; spend w eekends predominantly in leisure activities; work after school when they become teen agers; have their own car and begin to date while in high-school; and so forth. To acco mplish all this, of course, children cannot be burdened by excessive amounts of homework This kind of American consensus about childhood is one designed to produc e uniquely American youth--some of the most creative and spontaneous children the w orld has ever seen, who are not afraid to challenge adults and their authority, at least in comparison to the youth of many other nations. And these students do go on to more challenging schooling at the college level, in numbers that are the envy of the world. It is clear that our system is not designed to pro duce masses of academically highly achieving students before the college years. You cannot have both high levels of history, language, mathematics and science achievem ent for great numbers of students and the conception of childhood that I have just sk etched. We have proved, however, that this system can produce sufficiently high numb ers of students for the nation's needs. That is really all that is needed. Our nation is ce rtainly not at risk because of the conceptions of childhood that we hold. Second, I would ask of such international comparis ons that they inform me whether the groups being compared have spent the sa me amount of time practicing the skills that are to be assessed. Suppose I ran a sim ple training study, using two groups to assess their ability to fix computers. Now suppose one of those groups had two years more practice in fixing computers than the other on e did. Would it surprise anyone if the


23 of 35group that practiced for an additional two years ap peared markedly better at fixing computers? Of course not. Yet this is exactly what we do when we compare American and Japanese students of the same age. Given the ad ditional forty school days in the Japanese school year, across ten years of schooling we find by the simplest arithmetic that the typical Japanese student, in comparison to the typical American student, has the equivalent of over two extra years of schooling whe n they are both, say, sixteen years old. Moreover, given the additional time in private "after-school" schools and in Saturday school (the juku schools, attended by a la rge percent of the Japanese school-age population), we note still greater amounts of educa tion accumulated by the Japanese children of the same age as their American counterp arts. Furthermore, given the immense amount of homework assigned and completed, immense at least by American standards, we note that the average Japanese studen t of the same age as an American student has accumulated huge amounts of extra time practicing school subjects at home and on weekends. Suppose you now compare these grou ps in terms of their mathematics and science achievement in the tenth grade. It woul d be really newsworthy if the results were any different then they are now. The results w e get are exactly what one should expect. They are as predictable as is criticism of our public system of education by our leaders. Third, I would want to make sure that the samples of students that take the test are somehow equivalent. It is easy for the United S tates to produce a representative sample of 13or 16-year olds for an international comparison. Is that also true of some of our international competitors? Some of the natio ns in these studies have neither an accurate census nor a school system that attempts t o keep everyone in school. We have a larger percentage of our school-age population in s chool than most other nations. Thus our representative sample is culturally and economi cally more heterogeneous. (See the insightful review of this issue by Rotberg, 1990). In the first international assessments of educational achievement (IEA), from which we learne d how awful the United States was doing, the average performance of seventy-five perc ent of the cohort in the United States was compared with the average scores of the top nin e percent of the students in West Germany, the top thirteen percent in the Netherland s, and the top forty-five percent in Sweden (Rotberg, 1990). Could the results be predic ted? In the most recent international comparisons of science and mathematics achievement (Lapointe, Askew, Mead, 1992; Lapointe, Mead Askew, 1992), the United States did not do as well as Korea and Taiwan. But I noticed in the appendix of the report s that we had more children than they did with fewer years of formal schooling. All other things being equal, when around ten percent of our sample has a year or two years less schooling than the sample of the same age from Korea and Taiwan, you have a sampling prob lem. What could be newsworthy about differences in achievement when the samples a re not equivalent? Fourth, I would like to be sure that the opportuni ty to learn was the same for the different groups in the international comparisons. We should note that school systems that do not hold as many children as we do until hi gh school graduation, and who have fewer students continuing through to higher educati on, need to teach many things at an earlier point in the curriculum. Calculus and proba bility are examples of that in the area of mathematics. Because we are a nation that is ric h enough and democratic enough to attempt to retain our youngsters longer in school, and because we send a comparatively large number of them on to college, we often look p oorly in the international comparisons. Many of our students learn what they n eed to learn later than in other countries.


24 of 35 We need to remember that students will not do well on any content they have not been exposed to. Opportunity to learn a subject is probably the single best predictor of achievement that we have. If you cannot control for it, you have no basis for comparing achievement. Westbury (in press) has data on this i ssue. He looked at the findings of the Second International Mathematics Study, where our p erformance appeared to be so bad that Congress and the press vilified the educationa l establishment for weeks. Westbury asked whether we see in the performance of the Japa nese and others, evidence of efficiency and effectiveness in education, or merel y evidence that national curricula differ. He looked at the algebra performance of eig hth graders and saw that the 273 United States classes in the sample were labelled a s remedial, typical, pre-algebra, and algebra classes. To no great surprise, only the pre -algebra and the algebra classes in the sample had nearly the same amount of exposure as th e Japanese classes in the sample to the algebra items that made up the test. These clas ses constituted only about twentyfive percent of the United States sample of classes. Thr ee quarters of the classes in the United States sample were simply not exposed to the same curriculum as were the Japanese. Can you guess what the result might be in such a comparison? Westbury disagregated the data, something not done by the pr ess or the politicians. These data are shown in Table 12.Table 12 Median Scores of American and Japanese Students in Mathematics Achievement, Second International Study of Mathematics (Westbury in press).RemedialCourses TypicalCourses Pre-AlgebraCourses AlgebraCourses JapanSample Median% Correct 2134607262 Now we see that American students in the pre-algeb ra and the real algebra classes perform as well or better than do the Japanese stud ents. But as a whole, of course, we do not and cannot perform as well as they do, given th e curriculum decisions we make, including the tracking systems we use in seeking to accommodate a heterogeneous population. There is a flaw in this comparison, how ever, because the American students represented the top twenty percent of the national sample in mathematical ability. It is not fair to compare them against an undifferentiate d Japanese sample. Recognizing that, Westbury went on to compare the Americans in the pr e-algebra and the algebra classes with the top twenty percent of the Japanese sample. Table 13 shows that comparison:Table 13 Median Scores of American Pre-Algebra and Algebra Students and the Top Quintile of the Japanese Sample (Westbury, in press).Pre-AlgebraAlgebra Top Quintile of Japan Sample Median % Correct 597271 The results are about the same for the genuine alg ebra class. American students with the same opportunity to learn in the schools p erform as well as the Japanese. Maybe better! The differences in achievement between nati ons are most parsimoniously explained as differences in national curricula, rat her than as differences in the efficiency


25 of 35or effectiveness of a particular national system of education. International comparisons such as these make us realize that American student s, including the most ordinary ones, are capable of learning more mathematics at earlier ages, if that is what we want them to learn. The comparisons also remind us that tracking by ability might be a bad policy for the nation. But while we should wrestle with those legitimate curriculum issues, we need not blame our students and castigate their teachers for gross failure. Our nation, particularly at state and local levels, has made cu rricula decisions that are in accord with prevailing views of childhood and of education. We can change those if we want. But the system has actually been serving the nation wel l for decades, and as noted, it is producing all the mathematicians and scientists thi s economy can use for the foreseeable future. Finally, in considering the results of internation al comparisons, I would like to be assured that the motivation of the students who too k the tests was similar across different nations. The Quality Control Observer for the recent international comparisons (Lapointe, Askew Mead, 1992, p. 24) reports on the high achieving Koreans: The math teacher...calls the names of the 13-year o lds in the room who have been selected as part of the IAEP sample. As each n ame is called, the student stands at attention at his or her desk unti l the list is complete. Then, to the supportive and encouraging applause of their colleagues, the chosen ones leave to [take the assessment]. As Bracey (1991) noted, these students are taking the test for the honor of their country. In the United States our students know tha t neither they, nor their parents, nor their teacher, will ever see the scores they make. It is not an honor to take the test, but an inconvenience. I can hear some of the kids I know s aying: "You should have seen the diagrams I drew on my answer sheet, man, they were great, until I fell asleep!" I cannot find much to worry about in the internati onal comparisons. Every nation has a vision of childhood, of development, schoolin g, equality, and success. While our nation heatedly debates these visions, as it should and we modify our visions, as a dynamic society must, let us just note that the sys tem we created has been remarkably successful for a large number of the children and p arents we serve. The Children and Parents Served by the Public Schoo ls It was not difficult for me to find respectable da ta suggesting that the basic premises underlying contemporary thinking about sch ool reform in the nation are faulty. It is not that the data I have presented are "true, while the arguments of others are "false." And it is not that I am a defender of the status quo, for I am not. It is simply that there are numerous lines of evidence suggesting tha t the American public school system is not a failure. We have seen that the charge suggesting that conte mporary youth are not as smart as they used to be is debatable. They may, in fact, be smarter than they have ever been, at least as measured by the most well-respected int elligence tests that we have, and by student performance in advanced placement courses a nd on the GRE. Schooling seems to have made these achievements possible. On standa rdized tests, whether we use the SATs, the NAEP examinations, the Iowa Tests of Basi c Skills, the California


26 of 35Achievement Test, the specially designed social stu dies tests of Drs. Ravitch and Finn, or many other standardized tests, we can find more evidence for increased achievement over time, or evidence for maintenance of achieveme nt, than we can for a decline in achievement. Educators should be given presidential citations for this accomplishment, since their success took place during the time peri od when the problems of the young people served by the public schools have become mor e difficult for the schools to solve. The National Commission on Children (1991), chaired by Senator Rockefeller, makes this abundantly clear. For example, in 1970 1 2 percent of our youth lived in one parent households. By 1989 that rate had more than doubled, to 25 percent. Over 17 million children under the age of thirteen have mot hers working outside the home. Over eight million children under the age of 18 currentl y have no health coverage. Since 1980 no progress has been made in reducing the rate of l ow birth-weight babies, and for AfricanAmerican babies that rate has actually ris en. Public school teachers must nurture children whose families are poor, ill, and stressed. And the longer they remain in that state, the less hope those children have of it ever being different. According to federal definitions, about 13 million youngsters li ve in poverty, two million more than just a decade ago. Five million of those children l ive in families with incomes half the amount the government sets as the poverty level. Fr om 1976 to 1989 educators have been dealing with the emotional lives of children w hose age group has seen a 259 percent increase in child abuse and neglect. In the early 1980s we had 275 thousand youngsters in foster homes, by 1995 we will have 55 0 thousand in foster homes. The government informs us that our nation has up to 100 ,000 children under 16 who are actually homeless every night, and as many as one m illion adolescents each year who are throwaways or runaways, living on the streets, in c ars or with friends (Foscarinis, 1991). Regardless of the nature or the severity of the pro blem, it is the public educational system that is called on to work with these childre n. Educators worked with teenagers that, as a group, were 100 percent more likely to be murdered in 1989 than they were in 1965. Educato rs work today with African-American teenagers that are more likely to die of gunshot wounds than from all natural causes of death combined. From the 1960s to the 1970s, mostly among white adolescents, educators saw the suicide rate double, and then rise another 30 percent by the 1980s. While our black youth are getting shot a t record levels, our white youth are killing themselves off at record levels. During this time period the public schools of our nation seem to have maintained or increased their productivity. I wish industry we re nearly as productive, adaptive and cost efficient. For we learned that the nation does not spend nearly enough on preprimary, primary and secondary education as it prof esses to, and we learned also that money spent for instructional purposes has direct e ffects on student achievement. This high achieving, productive, comparatively cheap sys tem of education is producing all the technically able workers we need, and it has done s o for years. Our work force, though not our business leaders, seem to be among the most skilled in the world. And in the international comparisons of school achievement we have learned the remarkable fact that school children learn what schools choose to t each them, and that, conversely, they do not learn what schools do not teach. National sy stems of education have schools and curricula that reflect their visions of childhood a nd achievement. Comparative assessments, if they are any good, will show those national differences more clearly. On the other hand, we learn absolutely nothing that is not simple to predict when there is


27 of 35inadequate sampling, lack of control over the the t ime spent preparing for the assessment, differences in opportunity to learn, an d differences in motivation. This American system of ours has performed so well that the majority of parents with students in public schools have been very sati sfied with the teachers their children have. Local parents throughout the nation have been saying to the poll takers for fifty years that their local schools are pretty darn good In one recent example of this (Elam, 1990) a nationally representative group of parents were asked how they rated the school attended by their oldest child. A startling 72 perc ent of the parents awarded that school the grade of A or B. Only two percent of the parent s who have the greatest contact with the public schools thought the school their child a ttended deserved a grade of F. These data are relatively unchanged since the end of Worl d War Two. Reform proposals before us recommending choice in schooling are based on a belief that the customer is dissatisfied with the schools and that the schools are failing to do their job. I can find no evidence that either is true when we look at the na tion as a whole. Why then would so much be made of choice? Perhaps some people have no ted that the public expenditures for education are large and it would be nice to get that budget into the private sector. Then education could be treated as a privilege, not a right, and it would ensure that children of wealthier segments of our population wi ll inherit their positions. This is frightening. I find it ironic that Total Quality Management (TQ M), suggested by business leaders as a cure for supposedly ailing schools, re quires constant assessment of customer satisfaction. We educators have done that and been found terrific by the parents who have children in the schools, our customers. Those who see the schools as a failure usually do not have children in the public schools. For example, the ever-critical Dr. Finn, whose daughter attended Exeter (Kozol, 1991), says that the ordinary parents of the nation are not to be trusted with their opinion s. They haven't got rigorous enough standards to make these kinds of judgments about th e schools (C. Finn, 1991). People who find the general public unable to make intellig ent judgments scare me. They are often part of a self-proclaimed elite that, for the good of the nation, will be pleased to tell each of us what we are to believe and how we a re to act. I would much rather put my faith in the common people of the country, as messy as that can sometimes be. The Critics At least some of the criticism of the schools come s from an elite that is against public schooling. They need to be fought as they ha ve had to be fought from the beginning of the crusade for public schooling (Crem in, 1989). There have always been those who never could believe in the intelligence o f the common person, or they never wanted to share the advantages of education with co mmon people. The late, wise historian of education, Lawrence Cremin, has remark ed on this issue: groups possessing a relatively rare and highly valued commodity that establishes their superiority over other socia l groups are reluctant to see that commodity more widely distributed. Wide distri bution becomes tantamount to devaluation...(Cremin, 1989, p. 11) Some of the criticism of education, however, is si mple scapegoating. It is no longer fashionable in most social settings, and in the mainstream press, to blame the


28 of 35great economic and social tragedies of contemporary American life on the international Jewish conspiracy, or on the lack of motivation or talent of African-American, Polish-American or MexicanAmerican workers. The g reedy union bosses and the welfare queens cannot be blamed anymore since we no longer have strong unions, and the amounts spent on welfare are small potatoes com pared to the amounts we used to bail out the savings and loan companies. Their robb ery of the American people was perpetrated by nice, middle-class, well-educated, r eligious white men from two-parent households, the kind of Americans who wouldn't poss ibly want to hurt their nation. But blame for society's ills, of which there seem so ma ny, needs to be assigned somewhere. And there was one ordinarily passive, relatively de fenseless group available. From 1983 on this nation has been told relentlessly by its le aders that we are a nation at risk because our schools and our teachers have failed us. But th e truth, I think, is that those leaders have failed the schools and the teachers of America Rather than lead us to ruin, the vast majority of teachers have run a system that is rema rkably good for the relatively advantaged children of America. The teachers in the schools with the least support, serving children who need the most help, are indeed having a harder time. Those schools may be failing, but the causes for that are usually outside the school building. Those causes are embedded in the social inequities prevalent in our society. It is easy to use the schools as a scapegoat. It h as been a traditional American pastime. For example, in 1909 the Atlantic Monthly criticized the schools for a) not teaching enough knowledge, b) not teaching thinking skills, and c) not preparing young people for jobs. These laments are still current ni nety years later and seem to have been current since public schooling began in the United States of America. The Ladies Home Journal of 1912 has always been my favorite. There Ella Francis Lynch criticized the schools because life in America had changed and the schools had not changed with them, another old criticism of persistent currency. That year the Journal also pointed out to their readers that the tests and the grades give n in schools were ruining our nation, another contemporary theme. Lynch, however, had a w ay with words that was wonderful. She questioned if the millions of middle -class women who were her audience could ...imagine a more grossly stupid, a more genuinely asinine system tenaciously persisted in to the fearful detriment o f over seventeen million children and at a cost to you of over four-hundred and three million dollars each year--a system that not only is absolutely ine ffective in its results, but also actually harmful in that it throws every year ninety-three out of every one hundred children into the world of action absol utely unfitted for even the simplest tasks of life? Can you wonder that we have so many inefficient men and women; that in so many families there are s o many failures; that our boys and girls can make so little money that in the one case they are driven into the saloons from discouragement, and in the other into the brothels to save themselves from starvation? Yet th at is exactly what the public-school system is today doing, and has been d oing. But let us jump ahead to the 1946 "Ladies Home Jou rnal," where it was reported that teachers were inadequately trained to meet the needs of the baby boomers; where poor pay was rampant; where there were discrepancie s in schooling based upon geography, income and class; where there were no st andards anymore; and where indifference to the schools by parents was rampant (this discussion is adapted from


29 of 35Kent, 1987). Time magazine in 1949 charged that the schools were failing to teach traditional subject matter because it was too conce rned with life adjustment education. The year 1951 seemed a particularly good year for c riticism (Kent, 1987), though most people think of that time period as among those hal cyon days of yore. From Readers Digest and the Scientific Monthly we learn that There were complaints from frustrated university pr ofessors and angry business people that public school students were wo efully unprepared for college as well as for work. The typical high schoo l student could not write a clear English sentence, do simple mathematics, or find common geographical locations such as Boston or New York C ity. There were no basic standards....The schools also were ignoring r eligion. The curriculum was inappropriate for life at mid-century, giving s tudents worthless information and outdated training and worst of all, boring them. As one critic put it: "We are offering them a slingshot ed ucation in a hydrogen-bomb age." (Kent, 1987, p. 142). In 1953, we saw publication of Arthur Bestor's Educational wastelands: The retreat from learning in our public schools and Albert Lynds best-selling Quackery in the public schools In the late 1950s we saw Hyman Rickover rip the s chools, for they were endangering the nation. In the "Saturday Eveni ng Post" a captain of a missile site reported that the draftees he received were unable to read, write or do simple arithmetic, and that he was getting the best of the recruits! Life" magazine of 1958 said we were paying too much attention to "stupid children" and not enough to the gifted--that we simply had to set higher standards. Familiar lament s, all. And the business community was in on the criticism s then, as it is today (see Rippa, 1988). While celebrating the first quarter c entury of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the treasurer in 1920 was appl auded vigorously when he said I live in a manufacturing town....We are going to s pend over a million dollars for a high school to teach the children of the working people of that town white collar, starched collar jobs....The expe nditure that is now being made [for the public school system], and the laws t hat are being passed for its expenditure are as absolutely a waste as though it were thrown into the gutter (Rippa, 1988, p. 142). In 1927 the chairman of the NAM education committe e told the businessmen of the Association that Forty percent of high school graduates haven't a co mmand of simple arithmetic, cannot multiply, subtract, and divide c orrectly in simple numbers and fractions. Over forty percent of them c annot accurately express themselves in the English language or cannot write in their mother tongue (Rippa, 1988, p. 143). It sounds so familiar. And this was when only a sm all elite finished high school. I wonder how the nation survived? Furthermore, decade s before the lectures about Total Quality Management were offered to the schools by o ur business community, a community that by and large has failed to keep Amer ica economically strong, business executives also felt it necessary to lecture educat ors. The spokesperson for the National


30 of 35Association of Manufacturers informed the schools o f his day about the marvels of management in that day, claiming that "the public s chools should be systematized, thoroughly, comprehensively, and with the sole view of utmost efficiency; efficiency in every direction, to the last degree, and for the la st child" (Rippa, 1988, p. 141). It should be clear by now that for the business community and the general citizenry of our nation the games of kick-the-teacher and dump-on-the-schoo ls have a long history. Along with baseball, it seems to be our national pastime.Conclusion So what shall we make of all this? The data sugges ting the gross failure of the American school system simply will not hold up. The re has been a campaign of disinformation. As Clark Kerr noted "seldom in the course of policy making in the U. S have so many firm convictions held by so many been based on so little convincing proof" (Education Week, 2/27/91). A school reform m ovement based on so many invalid assumptions is bound to be wrongheaded. Some of the school reform efforts are thinly disguised elitist attempts to get rid of public edu cation, to protect the privilege such individuals have already bestowed on their children After all, the greater the disparities in schooling, the greater the assurance that the pr ivileged have someone to mow their lawns, to wait at their tables and care for their c hildren. The reforms they offer-higher standards, a tougher curriculum, more tests, with n o increase in spending, will insure that the children of New Trier High School, near Ch icago, and the children of Princeton, New Jersey, and the children of Manhasset, New York will succeed even more than they do today. The children at P. S. 79 in the Bron x, New York, will fail at even greater rates than they do today. Children at P. S. 79 and similar schools in Los Angeles, California; Camden, New Jersey; Detroit, Michigan; and San Antonio, Texas—schools described so poignantly by Jonathan Kozol—do not ha ve textbooks for their students, are forced to hold some of their classes in closets teach word processing skills without any word processors, teach science without laborato ries, conduct physical education and art classes without proper equipment. These are sch ools that can not regulate heating or cooling or keep out the rain. Their teachers are of ten those rejected by the wealthier suburbs, and large percentages of their classes are taught by uncertified people. Reforms of the kind being proposed will exacerbate the differences between the have and the have-not school districts. The haves a re already doing quite well. Those children of privilege are attending decent schools, achieving well, scoring well on standardized tests, graduating high school, and goi ng to college. They are the smartest and healthiest generation America has ever produced There really is not much to reform for these kids, since their schools are not failing at least by the traditional measures we use to assess such things. On the other hand, I see nothing in America 2000, and the new schools that are to break-the-mold, that will addre ss the social issues causing parts of our nationUs school system to be in ruin. Instead of President Bush's goals for year 2000, l et me suggest some that address the real failures of our schools more directly. Fir st, let us agree with our education President that all children should come to school r eady to learn. Let us therefore provide high quality day care and preschool to all American children, and ensure that they and their families have the finest health care in the w orld. This is how we can ensure that they will come to school ready to profit.


31 of 35 Second, let us choose, as President Bush did, to h ave safe schools. But let us go on to guarantee every child a school where plumbing works, where toilet paper and chalk are available, where heating and cooling syst ems are operational, where the rain does not run into the school building, and, where t he plaster is not falling. Let us guarantee each child access to current textbooks, c omputers, and science laboratories, and provide children who are eligible the bilingual education to which they are legally entitled. Maybe we could just guarantee that every child in America shall have a certified teacher who knows their name and their fa mily. Third, by the year 2000 we should be number one in the world in the percentage of eighteen year olds that are politically and soci ally involved. Far more important than our mathematics and our science scores is the invol vement of the next generation in maintaining our democracy and helping those within it that need assistance—the young, the ill, the old, the retarded, the illiterate, the hungry and the homeless. Schools that cannot turn out politically active and socially hel pful citizens should be identified, and their rates of failure announced in the newspapers. Fourth, by the year 2000 we should strive to make the American teacher the highest paid in the world. Here is where we should emulate the Japanese. We should pay our teachers what they pay theirs. This would mean our teachers would earn ten percent more than whatever the top-level civil servant earn s in the service of government. This would purchase and keep the talent needed to give o ur students the best schooling in the world. Fifth, we should equalize the funding for schoolin g, so that schools in one part of the state or even within a district, cannot spend t wice or three times more per-child per-year than other schools in the state. The paren ts of Grosse Pointe and Great Neck and Princeton should inform the state legislatures what it takes to educate their children properly, and that standard of support should be ap plied to every district in the state. It is my belief that the American school system, a s a whole, has been and continues to be a remarkable success. The campaign to discredit it and to blame it for the ills of our nation, leads inevitably to making the wrong decisions about what to fix. Greater school improvement will come from providing poor people with jobs that pay enough to allow them to live with dignity, than fro m all the fooling around we can do with curriculum and instruction, or with standards and tests. Children who are poor, unhealthy, and from families and neighborhoods that are dysfunctional do not do well in schools. Educators cannot work miracles. Children f rom families that have some hope, some income and some health care have a chance. Fam ilies with those characteristics are in less stress and they take control of their neigh borhoods. P. S. 79, on 181st Street in the Bronx is a neighborhood elementary school that is failing, and it was not always that way. When people in the tenements around that schoo l had hope, that ugly school for the working classes was remarkably successful. I know. It is the school I attended in the neighborhood in which I grew up. Educators must now speak up. It is time for us to inform the politicians and business leaders of America that we cannot solve al l the problems that they are creating. We will no longer take the blame for their actions. All of us in this nation must find ways to help each family live with dignity, so thos e families can give their children hope. Education is irrelevant to those without hope and succeeds, remarkably well for these who have it.


32 of 35AcknowledgmentThanks are due to Ursula Casanova, N.L. Gage, Thoma s McGowan and James Powell for their help with earlier drafts of this paper.ReferencesBennett, W. L. (1984). To reclaim a legacy: A repor t on humanities in higher education. Washington, D. C.: National Endowment for the Human ities. Bestor, A. (1953). Educational Wastelands: The retr eat from learning in our public schools. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois P ress. Bishop. J. H. (1990). The productivity consequences of what is learned in high school. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 22 101126. Bloom, A. (1987). The closing of the American mind: How higher educat ion has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today's stu dents New York: Simon and Schuster.Bracey, G. W. (1991). Why can't they be like we wer e? Phi Delta Kappan, 73 (2), 105-117.Bush, G. H. W. (1989). White House Transcript, Spee ch at the education summit. University of Virginia, September 28, 1989.Cahen, S. & Cohen, N. (1989). Age versus schooling effects on intelligence development. Child Development, 50 1239-1249. Capulsky, W. & Ducoffe, R. (1992). Why raising educ ational expenditures can lower SAT scores, unpublished paper.Card, D. & Krueger, A. (1990). Does school quality matter? Returns to education and the characteristics of public schools in the United States. Washington, D. C.: Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 3358.Carson, C. C., Huelskamp, R. M. & Woodall, T. D. (1 991). Perspective on education in America (third draft). Albuquerque, NM: Sandia Nati onal Laboratories. Ceci, S. J. (1991). How much does schooling influen ce general intelligence and its cognitive components? A reassessment of the evidenc e. Developmental Psychology, 27 703-722.Cremin, L. A. (1989). Popular education and its discontents New York: Harper and Row.Educational Testing Service (1991). Performance at the top: From elementary through graduate school. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Elam, S. (1990). The 22nd Annual Gallup Poll of the public's attitudes toward the public schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 72 41-55.


33 of 35Ferguson, R. F. (1991). Paying for public education : New evidence on how and why money matters. Harvard Journal on Legislation, 28 465-498. Finn, C. E. Jr. (1991). We must take charge: Our schools and our future New York: The Free Press.Finn, J. D., Achilles, C. M., Bain, H. P., Folger, J., Johnston, J. M., Lintz, M. N. & Word, E. R. (1990). Three years in a small class. Teaching and Teacher Education, 6 127-136.Flynn, J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations : What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101 171-191. Foscarinis, M. (1991). The politics of homelessness American Psychologist, 46 1232-1238.Heritage Foundation (1989). Education Update, 12 (4). Hirsch, E.D. (1987). Cultural literacy: What every American needs to kno w Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.Husen, T. Tuijnman, A. (1991). The contribution of formal schooling to the increase in intellectual capital. Educational Researcher, 20 (7), 10-25. Kent, J. D. (1987). A not too distant past: Echoes of the calls for reform. The Educational Forum, 5 1, 137-150. Kozol, J. (1991). Savage inequalities New York: Crown Publishing. Lapoint, A. E., Askew, J. M. & Mead, N. A. (1992). Learning science. The International Assessment of Educational Progress. Princeton, New Jersey: Educational Testing Service.Lapoint, A. E., Mead, N. A. & Askew, J. M. (1992). Learning mathematics. The International Assessment of Educational Progress. P rinceton, New Jersey: Educational Testing Service.Linn, R. L., Graue, M. E. & Sanders, N. M. (1990). Comparing state and district test results to national norms: The validity of claims t hat "everyone is above average." Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 10 (Fall), 5-14. Linn, R. L. (1991, February). Personal communicatio n. Lynd, A. (1953). Quackery in the public schools Boston: Little Brown. Manski, A. (1987) Academic ability, earnings, and t he decision to become a teacher: Evidence form the National Longitudinal Study of th e High School class of 1972. In D. Wise (Ed.), Public Sector Payrolls Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mishel, L. & Teixeira, R. A. (1991). The myth of th e coming labor shortage: Jobs, skills, and incomes of America's workforce 2000. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. Murnane, R. J. & Olsen, R. J. (1989). The effects o f salaries and opportunity costs on


34 of 35 duration in teaching: Evidence from Michigan. Review of Economics and Statistics, 71 347-352.National Commission on Children (1991). Beyond rhet oric: A new American agenda for children and families. Washington, D. C.: United St ates Government Printing Office. Rasell, M. E. & Mishel, L. (1990) Shortchanging edu cation: How U. S. spending on grades K-12 lags behind other industrialized nation s. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.Ravitch, D. & Finn, C. (1987). What do our 17-year-olds know? New York: Harper and RowReich, R. B. (1991). The work of nations: Preparing ourselves for the 21 st century. New York: Knopf.Rippa, S. A. (1988). Education in a free society (6th ed.) White Plains, New York: Longman.Rotberg, I. (1990). I never promised you first plac e. Phi Delta Kappan, 72 296-303. Schoolland, K. (1990). Shogun's ghost: The dark side of Japanese education New York: Bergin and Garvey.Westbury, Ian (in press). Educational Researcher Whittington, D. (1992). What have 17-year-olds know n in the past? American Educational Research Journal, 28 759-783.About the AuthorDavid C. BerlinerCollege of EducationArizona State UniversityTempe, AZ 85287Email: berliner@asu.eduDavid C. Berliner is Professor of Educational Psych ology and Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at Arizona State University. He is co-author of Educational Psychology (5th edition)(with N. L. Gage), Putting Research to Work (with U. Casanova) and co-editor of Perspectives on Instructional Time (with C. Fisher). He is a past president of the American Educational Resear ch Association and of the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psycholog ical Association. He is also a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Be havioral Sciences. His interests are in research on teaching, teacher education, and edu cation policy.Copyright 1993 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is


35 of 35 General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tem pe, AZ 85287-2411. Editorial Board John CovaleskieSyracuse UniversityAndrew Coulson Alan Davis University of Colorado--DenverMark E. Thomas F. Syracuse UniversityAlison I. Arlen Gullickson Ernest R. Aimee Craig B. Howley u56e3@wvnvm.bitnet William Richard M. Jaeger Benjamin Thomas Dewayne Mary P. Les Susan Bobbitt Anne L. Hugh G. Richard C. Anthony G. Rud Dennis Jay Robert Robert T.