During the 1980s, widespread dissatisfaction with America's schools gave rise to a powerful movement for educational change, and the nation's political institutions responded with aggressive reforms. Chubb and Moe argue that these reforms are destined to fail because they do not get to the root of the problem. The fundamental causes of poor academic performance, they claim, are not to be found in the schools, but rather in the institutions of direct democratic control by which the schools have traditionally been governed. Reformers fail to solve the problem-when the institutions ARE the problem. The authors recommend a new system of public education, built around parent-student choice and school competition, that would promote school autonomy—thus providing a firm foundation for genuine school improvement and superior student achievement.
John Chubb shows how we can raise student achievement to levels comparable to those of the best nations in the world through a radically new strategy for raising teacher quality. He asserts that we must attract and retain much higher caliber individuals in teaching, which we can accomplish by reducing the size and increasing the compensation of the teaching force via technology, abolishing licensing and training teachers in institutions and programs that have demonstrated their efficacy in producing effective, and improving the quality of school leadership, on which teaching quality heavily depends.
The author, writing on behalf of Hoover's Koret task Force on K–12 Education, presents a convincing case that, despite the controversy it has ignited, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law is making a positive difference and should be renewed. He outlines ten specific lessons and recommendations that identify the strengths and weaknesses of NCLB and offers suggestions for improving the law, building on its current foundation.
Now, in this firsthand look at school reform in Great Britain, John E. Chubb and Terry M. Moe show how the landmark Education Reform Act of 1988 imposed a radically new framework on British education—a framework built on the same types of reforms that American activists have been proposing for years: school-based management, choice, and accountability. The authors assess the sucess of the British experience with school choice and contends that it can well serve as a model for American school reform.
The achievement gap between white students and African American and Hispanic students has been debated by scholars and lamented by policymakers since it was first documented in 1966. The average black or Hispanic secondary school student currently achieves at about the same level as the average white student in the lowest quartile of white achievement. Black and Hispanic students are much less likely than white students to graduate from high school, acquire a college or advanced degree, or earn a middle-class living. They are also much more likely than whites to suffer social problems that often accompany low income. While educators have gained an understanding of the causes and effects of the education achievement gap, they have been less successful in finding ways to eliminate it—until now. This book provides, for the first time in one place, evidence that the achievement gap can be bridged. A variety of schools and school reforms are boosting the achievement of black and Hispanic students to levels nearing those of whites. Bridging the Achievement Gap brings together the findings of renowned education scholars who show how various states, school districts, and individual schools have lifted the achievement levels of poor and minority students. The most promising strategies include focusing on core academic skills, reducing class size, enrolling students in more challenging courses, administering annual achievement assessment tests, creating schools with a culture of competition and success, and offering vouchers in big-city school districts. While implementing new educational programs on a large scale is fraught with difficulties, these successful reform efforts offer what could be the start of widespread effective solutions for bridging the achievement gap.