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Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them by [Peterson, Paul E., Henderson, Michael, West, Martin R.]
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Provocatively titled, Teachers versus the Public is an eye-opening book about the current state of education reform. While teachers tend to support the status quo, the public―especially as it becomes more informed about school performance―is increasingly looking for major changes. And major changes are what our schools will need if they are to succeed at effectively educating our children for the modern world."―Joel Klein, former chancellor, New York City Department of Education



"For a generation, we have been inundated with evidence of schools across our great nation stagnating, while those in other nations speed ahead of us.... Teachers versus the Public [shows that] common among Americans from all walks of life―conservative or liberal, rich or poor, young or old―is the recognition that for the sake of our country, and for the continuation of the American dream, our education system must improve. Yet, teachers' unions have long made it abundantly clear that their priorities are not focused on students. This in-depth report explores the minds of American teachers, their focus on educating students, and the minds of the general public, identifying the opportunities―and the challenges―for all those who seek to improve the education of the next generation."―Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, 1999–2007, chairman, Foundation for Excellence in Education



"The immense value of Peterson, Henderson, and West's well-researched overview of our nation's attitude toward education issues is that it highlights the divide between the educators who teach in our American public schools and the general public who have a huge stake in how those schools teach our kids. Their findings underscore an urgent need for supporters of education reform to engage with teachers and work collaboratively toward our shared goal of a world-class public education system."―Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools



"This scholarly book corrects and changes the political debate. The authors reveal that it is teachers themselves―not just their union representatives―who stand opposed to school reforms a majority of the public favors. In many ways this points to a much larger problem with improving our schools."―Eric A. Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

About the Author

Paul E. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University. He is also editor-in-chief of Education Next and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is author or editor of numerous books, including Endangering Prosperity, A Global View of the American School, with Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann (Brookings, 2013); The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools, with William G. Howell (Brookings, 2004 and 2006). He is coeditor (with Martin West) of No Child Left Behind? The Practice and Politics of School Accountability (Brookings, 2003).

Michael Henderson is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi.

Martin R. West is associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate Schools of Education, deputy director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance, and nonresident senior fellow with the Brown Center on Education Policy, Brookings.


Product Details

  • File Size: 2438 KB
  • Print Length: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (April 29, 2014)
  • Publication Date: April 29, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HQKC1T0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,478,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book sets off sparks with its provocative title: Teachers Versus the Public! It's like pro wrestling, right?

The reality is, teachers have views that support their own self-interest and continued employment, and the public have views that support their own self-interest. And those self-interests are DIFFERENT.

This is not shocking information, but it does explain the indignation of public school employees (teachers) at being asked to remake their work environments and performance expectations. It does explain the impatience of the public with three generations of failed school reform.

The book explores the misalignment of traditional democrat voting blocs: urban minorities prefer vouchers and school choice; teachers resent the threat to their livelihoods. If those groups can not be reconciled, there may be a split in minority voting patterns. But republicans seem incapable of exploiting the division, so there is not too much danger.

The book also shows what happens when industries deregulate: a flowering of innovation and a reduction in cost to the public.

Many parents are withdrawing from the hassles of public schools and finding parallel methods of educating their children. It's another form of American innovation. Entrepreneurial approaches to education may slay the education bureaucracy; stay tuned.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I'm a very experienced and very appreciated high school chemistry teacher, and a member of the NEA. I very much wish for a substantive conversation between teachers like me and those who have declared themselves our sworn enemies.

It's unfortunate that a major opinion tank like Brookings can't even anchor the opposing side of the argument, whatever it is. They start by declaiming that I'm all three sides of an "iron triangle", which is impeding the familiar corporate reform recipe for for a golden age of universal, personalized data-based rating for every teacher and child in every school, which will facilitate great public savings by freeing entrepreneurs from the burden of career teachers. You have to believe that with a religious fervor, to even follow the remaining development.

Instead of laying out a cogent argument for their own (very radical) position, the authors just dish propaganda that flies in the face of everything we know from research about Americans' goals, values and hopes for our public schools and their teachers. Whether you share the mission of turning education into the newest profit-center bubble, or not, this book is useless. it's a mess of specious attributions of the authors own biases to an American people who don't share them.
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Format: Paperback
If you enjoy reading propaganda, then this is the book for you, written at the behest of the profiteers whose policies have failed America's children for over 2 decades now. People are wise to the nonsense of these people as evidenced by the low ranking of this and other books from them and their cronies. Time for them to sign a contract with an off shore click farm to pump up the lies just like they do on FB.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Imagine a U.S. public school educational system in which teachers and students are assessed on an on-going basis, parents and policymakers have comparative value-added data on school performance, administrators/schools are judged by the outcomes they produce, per-pupil costs are significantly lower than today, instruction is tailored to individual students, students can evaluate the credibility of information sources, and pupil achievement and graduation rates compare well with those of other developed nations. These highly desirable results could be accomplished with innovative digital education AND substantial changes in the culture of American education.

The authors point out that food, banking, manufacturing, and numerous other industries have been transformed by new information and communications technology, not so in education. Education, they point out, differs in that it is highly regulated and there are weak market mechanisms to guide innovation and consumers (parents). Vested interests have used government to delay and prevent change; researcher Jay Greene argues 'the biggest obstacle is the teachers union and their political allies.'

The facts that a)despite increasing inflation-adjusted per-pupil funding 250% since the early 1970s with very little, if any, improvement in education outcomes (graduation rates, 17-year-old achievement levels measured by government NAEP tests), and b)'a teacher one standard deviation above the mean effectiveness annually generates marginal gains of over $400,000 in present value of student future earnings with a class size of 20,' c)replacing a low-performing teacher with one of average ability generates annual income gains of $250,000, and d)U.S. pupils on 2012 international math tests placed 26th in the world despite the U.S.
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Format: Paperback
I haven't read the book but I am wondering why is the age range of this book 1-17 years old? I am not sure why the grade level is first and up?
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