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The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, And The Attack On America's Public Schools Paperback – August 26, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1ST edition (August 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201441969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201441963
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Outrage over perceived scapegoating of educators by legislators and other voluble critics of American public schools fuels the authors' efforts to expose what they consider the real problems. While deploring the campaign of criticism they view as "manufactured," based on misleading data and leading to questionable reforms, they marshal impressive evidence to counter such assertions as that SAT scores have declined and other, similar charges. The real problems of our schools, they suggest, are societal and economic; they point out, for example, that "family incomes and financial support for schools are much more poorly distributed in our country than in other industrialized nations. This means that... large numbers of students who are truly disadvantaged attend public schools whose support is far below that permitted in other Western democracies." Berliner, professor of education at the University of Arizona, and Biddle, director for social research at the University of Missouri, identify a wealth of possible strategies for improving schools. A probing, well-argued rebuttal of detractors of public education. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Two well-known educational researchers, Berliner (psychology and education, Univ. of Arizona) and Biddle (social behavior, Univ. of Missouri) have written an exhaustive and strongly argued thesis in defense of American public schools. It is their position that American citizens are not unhappy about their schools and have no reason to be. Analyzing SAT scores and various reports, they conclude that achievement levels have remained stable over the last 20 years. The authors charge the Reagan and Bush administrations with launching a massive, critical attack against public education. Siding with Jonathan Kozol (Savage Inequalities, LJ 9/15/91), they allow that some schools are miserably funded and thus substandard. The authors present their case with numerous visuals and angrily demonstrate how this information has been misrepresented, misquoted, and misunderstood by the gullible media and the general public. This is an important book, even if it proves more provocative than convincing. For well-balanced educational collections.?Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Definitely arguments worth looking at seriously.
J. Rockwell
The reasons vary, but when you find yourself measuring up, get a smaller stick!
James D.
This book provides a thoughtful analysis along with fair statistical data.
Paul

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bob Calder on January 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Several reviewers make criticisms of the book, but to tell you the truth, they are just nibbling around the edges. None of them is able to make inroads against the premise. Moving the U.S. from the bottom of the middle to the top of the middle is not very meaningful. We are solidly in the middle of performance by most measures.

Too many graphs? Only if you think people shouldn't understand the content!

The book's arguments could have been attacked differently, I suppose. On the other hand, if people were kicking you in the shins and calling you names, I would give you a pass on being grumpy. "Climategate" baloney comes to mind.

When the dust settles on think tank sociology, there will be some horribly disfigured reputations at places like the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Competitive Enterprise Institute.

In the meantime, we need to quit believing certain people and quit mistaking FUD for reality. As old as it is, this book helps you distinguish the major players. It also helps you learn to think critically about the dialog surrounding education.

Just last week, Klein said he was going to close 13 public high schools in New York. Some of the schools are not making great progress, but the population of special needs students has burgeoned because they are NOT put in the charter schools the chancellor is so proud of. This book puts it in perspective. The special needs population has double the overhead of normal population, so these schools are suffering about a 30% hit to their budgets.

If they are doing 5% worse than the mayor's precious charter schools, he should die of embarrassment.
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39 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Junlei Li on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether you are reading reviews HERE or the Stedman's review and subsequent heated debate in the reviewed journal (check ERIC database), you couldn't help but get the feeling that THERE IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE and ENOUGH ANALYSES to justify EITHER sides of the argument, depending on your political and educational convictions. I am a cognitive psychologist and does research in schools. I felt that, short of checking up on every source and reading every cited papers by myself, I won't be able to draw a clear conclusion. However, maybe the differing points are not the only important part here. If we listen to what people do not argue, there lies the agreements between authors and reviewers.
1) Leave the issue of whether our overall aggregate achievement is declining or not, we can agree that schools in poor areas are funded poorly, and their students are achieving poorly by most standards.
2) Leave the political argument aside, we can agree that it is NOT FAIR to entirely blame (or credit) teachers or schools for underserved students' achievements. Our political system and culture must take a compassionate stand along with the accountability perspective in order to help these students.
3) Teachers can make differences in achievements if properly supported, but not overly burdened, tested, pressured, and mandated.
Let's put down the liberal or conservative or neo conservative hats for a bit. I think most Americans with good hearts agree that we should do what we can to help even the poorest child achieve. Common sense says that slapping more tests on that poor child isn't going to do it. Common sense says that slapping the child's teacher in the face for the child's failure isn't going to do it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Goodelle on May 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was assigned this book by a master's class I'm taking for my masters. I have already read Diane Ravitch's book about how our education system is being attacked by both the right and now the far left which is catering to big business and their big money. The research continues to show that poverty, parent indifference, and social forces are to blame for low educational outcomes. Why is there a concerted effort to destroy education? Money, money, and more money is what is behind the claim our education system. The money in education is in the billions. One way big business profits from charter schools is buying property for the school and charging a large rent, a guaranteed rent for the life of the school. Tax write offs is another part of the charter school movement. Who funded both movies that slammed teachers and our unions with waiting for superman and the recent flop loosely based on the California trigger law? Bill gates, eli broad, and the charter industry.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Berliner and Biddle have written an excellent book about the "manufactured crisis" in American schools. They show in great detail the ways in which standardized test data can be very deceptive and also how the tests themselves are not nearly as significant as they are made out to be by ivory tower policymakers. They accurately notice that the most pressing problems facing the public schools in America today are not the lack of standardization but the enormous disparities between the haves and the have nots which are magnified in schools. They have come to the common sense conclusion that public schools which are racially segregated, underfunded, understaffed, dilapidated, and/or overcrowded will produce lower expectations and results than those schools which have ample resources. Though the authors take cheap shots at private schools, this book is nonetheless a valuable rebuttal to proponents of excessive standardized testing and school vouchers.
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