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Politics, Markets, and America's Schools Paperback – July 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0815714095 ISBN-10: 0815714092

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Politics, Markets, and America's Schools + Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling + The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (July 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815714092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815714095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John E. Chubb is a founding partner of Edison Schools and a nonresident senior fellow in Governmental Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Terry M. Moe is professor of political science at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has written extensively on American education and American political institutions.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Politics, Markets and America's schools was published over 20 years ago, but having stayed current in the debate I can highly recommend this book as still being highly relevant for today's debate on how to reform public education.

First and foremost any one star reviewer labeling this as right-wing propaganda did not read it or is willing to lie about what they read.

The Brooking Institute is hardly a conservative think-tank. Rather, it is notably a moderate think tank. At the time of publication both Terry Moe and John Chubb were distinguished professors at Stanford University. They are hardly right-wing ideologues. What they are is very knowledgeable and credible academics concerned about the dismal state of public education.

In fact Politics, Markets and America's schools is a scholarly, yet accessible treatment of the factors that contribute to successful schools.

Moe and Chubb do cross-sectional studies of dozens existing studies that examine educational performance and come to their conclusions based upon real data, not ideology.

This book is not an attack on the concept public education, but instead is a critique of what public education has become and how it is structured. Moe and Chubb point out exactly why pubic education is failing and will continue to fail unless some fairly radical actions are taken.

If you want a book that provides a unbiased view of the state of public education (everything they said in 1990 is even more true today) and then makes concrete suggestions on how to improve it, then Politics, Market's and America's Schools is an excellent read that provides a great foundation for this very important debate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
How can we enhance students' performance in America's schools? This is a question raised by many people. One answer has been to enhance choice--whether through vouchers or charter schools or. . . .

One of the most important recent work advocating choice is Chubb and Moe's Politics, Markets, and America's Schools. They present a three part argument: (1) private schools have lower levels of bureaucratic influence; (2) less bureaucratic influence makes school organization more functional; (3) better organized schools produce greater achievement gains among their students. Three separate multiple regression statistical analyses provide modest support for their contentions.

While I do not see any evidence that there is one single "silver bullet" that can magically transform American schools, this book is important to look at as part of a wider dialogue. I think that choice by itself won't make a huge difference; however, it might be one part of a larger picture. And this book is an important component of that debate. . . .
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on May 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I first read Chubb and Moe's views on the purported superiority of private secondary schools in the form of a long paper they presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in New Orleans in 1984. When it was published as a book-length monograph, I was surprised to see that it's methodological and rhetorical limitations were as damaging as in the original paper. Nevertheless, this book remains an oft-cited staple among proponents of private schooling as an institution that is forced to function effectively because it is subject to market forces. Contrast this with public schooling, an institution which ostensibly operates as a lazy monopoly. The most telling passage in Chubb and Moe's polemic can be usefully paraphrased as follows: schools that give higher-order values precedence over market forces inevitably undercut educational effectiveness. Higher-order values include equality of educational opportunity and the tenets of Catholicism. If Chubb and Moe are right, they are asking us to give up a great deal to make markets work.

Beyond that, it's important to acknowledge that Chubb and Moe never get around to actually comparing public and private schools in term of their efficacy in promoting student achievement. Instead, they identify administrative characteristics that they have found to be more common in private high schools then public ones. At that point, they run regression analyses to determine if the bundle of ostensibly efficacious administrative practices is associated with enhanced achievement. They find miniscule advantages, but one wonders if even the statistical significance of the coefficient for this composite variable is not an artifact of their unusually large sample size.
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