From Publishers Weekly
In this follow up to the authors' Politics, Markets, and American Schools, Moe and Chubb "think of public education not as the current institution, but in terms of its vital responsibility," in which case "technology promises to be a very good thing." When focused on this thesis, the Hoover Institution associates (Moe is a political science professor, Chubb founded an education consulting group) make a consistently intriguing case-not just for computers in the classroom, but for a full-scale system revamp. Unfortunately, they spend much time blaming teachers and teachers' unions for standing in the way, and fail repeatedly to address the realities of teaching. Many of the authors' assumptions will strike elementary educators as plainly wrong; for example, the idea that "computer-based approaches... simply require far fewer teachers per student" ignores the fact that teenagers can rarely be counted on to do what they're asked. It's also highly unlikely that parental demand will bring about a merit pay system; any school teacher will tell you that parental disinterest or neglect is rampant. Finally, and most distressingly, Moe and Chubb seem oblivious to the challenges poverty presents. Unfortunately, shallow thinking and a seeming lack of real classroom experience short circuit an important topic.
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In this engaging and highly assertive book, readers will learn a great deal about how technology can improve teaching -- and why the forces standing in the way are so difficult to overcome.
--From the National ReviewThe authors believe there exists a magic bullet capable of shattering the unions' political power and, bringing the sort of reform and excellence to U.S. K-12 education. The ammunition? Technology
--From the Wall Street JournalWhat I like best about the book is its acceptance of the unpredictability of educational innovation in the United States. Something big is going to happen.
--From Jay Mathews, Washington Post