The Money Myth establishes several principles for a bold new approach to education reform. Drawing on a national longitudinal dataset collected over twelve years, Grubb makes a crucial distinction between “simple” resources and those “compound,” “complex,” and “abstract” resources that cannot be readily bought. Money can buy simple resources—such as higher teacher salaries and smaller class sizes—but these resources are actually some of the weakest predictors of educational outcomes. On the other hand, complex resources pertaining to school practices are astonishingly strong predictors of success. Grubb finds that tracking policies have the most profound and consistent impact on student outcomes over time. Schools often relegate low-performing students—particularly minorities—to vocational, remedial, and special education tracks. So even in well-funded schools, resources may never reach the students who need them most. Grubb also finds that innovation in the classroom has a critical impact on student success. Here, too, America’s schools are stratified. Teachers in underperforming schools tend to devote significant amounts of time to administration and discipline, while instructors in highly ranked schools dedicate the bulk of their time to “engaged learning,” using varied pedagogical approaches.
Effective schools distribute leadership among many instructors and administrators, and they foster a sense of both trust and accountability. These schools have a clear mission and coherent agenda for reaching goals. Underperforming schools, by contrast, implement a variety of fragmented reforms and practices without developing a unified plan. This phenomenon is perhaps most powerfully visible in the negative repercussions of No Child Left Behind. In a frantic attempt to meet federal standards and raise test scores quickly, more and more schools are turning to scripted “off the shelf” curricula. These practices discourage student engagement, suppress teacher creativity, and hold little promise of improving learning beyond the most basic skills.
Grubb shows that infusions of money alone won’t eradicate inequality in America’s schools. We need to address the vast differences in the way school communities operate. By looking beyond school finance, The Money Myth gets to the core reasons why education in America is so unequal and provides clear recommendations for addressing this chronic national problem.
W. NORTON GRUBB is David Pierpont Gardner Professor in Higher Education and faculty coordinator of the Principal Leadership Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.
Including both classroom observations and interviews with administrators, faculty, and students, this valuable book balances critique with examples of innovation. Part One explores the instructional settings of basic skills—the use of drill and practice and remedial pedagogy in math, reading, writing, and ESL, as well as innovations in colleges that show developmental education need not follow remedial pedagogy. Part Two examines institutional factors shaping basic skills and provides recommendations for improving the quality of basic skills instruction. The research-grounded observations and recommendations in Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges make this an invaluable resource for scholars, administrators, and faculty aiming to help students progress through developmental education to college-level work and beyond.
Perfect for courses in Multicultural Education, Sociology of Education, Ethnic Studies and more, Education and Racism is the ideal primer for engaging students new to race and education without sacrificing the content for those who are already familiar with the field.
But do increasing levels of education accurately represent the demands of today's jobs? Grubb and Lazerson argue that the abilities developed in schools and universities and the competencies required in work are often mismatched--since many Americans are under-educated for serious work while at least a third are over-educated for the jobs they hold. The ongoing race for personal advancement and the focus on worker preparation have squeezed out civic education and learning for its own sake. Paradoxically, the focus on schooling as a mechanism of equity has reinforced social inequality. The challenge now, the authors show, is to create environments for learning that incorporate both economic and civic goals, and to prevent the further descent of education into a preoccupation with narrow work skills and empty credentials.