In this global age of information, nothing should alarm American parents and leaders more than the failure of our public schools. As quality education of the young becomes the true international currency, that commodity--unfortunately--is in grievously short supply. American schoolchildren lag far behind students in most of the developed world, scoring nineteenth out of twenty-one countries in a recent math competition. On domestic exams, almost forty percent are reading at "below basic" levels.
In this candid, provocative, and comprehensive study of the public school system, from kindergarten through high school, bestselling author Martin L. Gross charges that the Education Establishment has nurtured a conspiracy of ignorance that promotes and defends lower standards of teaching and learning designed to maintain its monopoly on our public schools.
The verdict is in: The teaching vocation has failed to produce competent teachers, penalizing its 45 million public school students. The problem is that the Establishment--from a tight group of teachers, principals, superintendents, education professors, and counselors, to the state commissioners of education--selects mainly academically inferior teacher candidates, and ignoring time-tested fundamentals, trains them in such dubious concepts as "educational psychology" and a "whole language" method of reading that ignores proper grammar and spelling.
In a series of shocking revelations, Mr. Gross describes how the typical teacher learns little more than a two-year community college graduate; how the average college-bound student scores fifty points higher on his SAT exams than most of his teachers; how the great majority of school teachers are less trained in their own specialties than other college graduates in the same field; and how "untrained" teachers in both private and public schools perform better than Establishment graduates.
The usual remedies--from federal aid to smaller class sizes--have done nothing to alleviate these problems because they make no attempt to challenge the Education Establishment's control. In a powerful Bill of Indictment, Mr. Gross shows how the teaching vocation, aided by its unions, maintains a self-perpetuating cycle of low performance, and he offers his own detailed prescription for change that will raise public education to the level our children--and society--need and deserve.
The Conspiracy of Ignorance is a lucid, persuasive argument based on a wealth of research that asks the questions most education observers are afraid to ask. It is a book desperately needed to ensure that American schoolchildren will have a chance to prosper as educated and productive citizens in today's world.