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Education and Opportunity (Values and Capitalism) Paperback – July 16, 2014
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Unfortunately, our education system is mediocre at best, and downright awful for most low-income kids. There's been no improvement in high school performance since the 1970's and we've fallen behind internationally (27th in math on the PISA). Even America's wealthy students aren't doing well compared to wealthy peers in foreign countries (28th).
McShane provides evidence that the poor-to-mediocre performance is not for lack of spending. Spending per pupil has nearly tripled in 40 years (after adjusting for inflation) but results are flat. Moreover, schools in low-income areas are often the best funded.
The disconnect between increased spending and flat performance partially explained by the rapid growth in the number of non-teaching staff relative to the growth in student enrollment. In 60 years, the number of students has increased by 96%, teachers by 252%, and non-teaching staff by 702%.
McShane explains how in the last half-century, school systems have been dramatically centralized due to the false progressive technocratic idea that there's "one best way" to teach and we know what that is. The unintended consequences of progressive reforms include a system that is too rigid, coddles failure, and thwarts improvement. Attempted reforms (more money! smaller classes! more staff! higher standards!) have failed to live up to their promises.Read more ›