Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies

Princeton University Press
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Uneducated Guesses challenges everything our policymakers thought they knew about education and education reform, from how to close the achievement gap in public schools to admission standards for top universities. In this explosive book, Howard Wainer uses statistical evidence to show why some of the most widely held beliefs in education today--and the policies that have resulted--are wrong. He shows why colleges that make the SAT optional for applicants end up with underperforming students and inflated national rankings, and why the push to substitute achievement tests for aptitude tests makes no sense. Wainer challenges the thinking behind the enormous rise of advanced placement courses in high schools, and demonstrates why assessing teachers based on how well their students perform on tests--a central pillar of recent education reforms--is woefully misguided. He explains why college rankings are often lacking in hard evidence, why essay questions on tests disadvantage women, why the most grievous errors in education testing are not made by testing organizations--and much more.

No one concerned about seeing our children achieve their full potential can afford to ignore this book. With forceful storytelling, wry insight, and a wealth of real-world examples, Uneducated Guesses exposes today's educational policies to the light of empirical evidence, and offers solutions for fairer and more viable future policies.

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About the author

Howard Wainer is distinguished research scientist at the National Board of Medical Examiners and adjunct professor of statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. For twenty-one years, he was principal research scientist at Educational Testing Service. His many books include Picturing the Uncertain World: How to Understand, Communicate, and Control Uncertainty through Graphical Display and Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures (both Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 8, 2011
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9781400839575
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Administration / General
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / Evaluation & Assessment
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
Education / Statistics
Education / Testing & Measurement
Law / Educational Law & Legislation
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Good graphs make complex problems clear. From the weather forecast to the Dow Jones average, graphs are so ubiquitous today that it is hard to imagine a world without them. Yet they are a modern invention. This book is the first to comprehensively plot humankind's fascinating efforts to visualize data, from a key seventeenth-century precursor--England's plague-driven initiative to register vital statistics--right up to the latest advances. In a highly readable, richly illustrated story of invention and inventor that mixes science and politics, intrigue and scandal, revolution and shopping, Howard Wainer validates Thoreau's observation that circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing, as when you find a trout in the milk.

The story really begins with the eighteenth-century origins of the art, logic, and methods of data display, which emerged, full-grown, in William Playfair's landmark 1786 trade atlas of England and Wales. The remarkable Scot singlehandedly popularized the atheoretical plotting of data to reveal suggestive patterns--an achievement that foretold the graphic explosion of the nineteenth century, with atlases published across the observational sciences as the language of science moved from words to pictures.


Next come succinct chapters illustrating the uses and abuses of this marvelous invention more recently, from a murder trial in Connecticut to the Vietnam War's effect on college admissions. Finally Wainer examines the great twentieth-century polymath John Wilder Tukey's vision of future graphic displays and the resultant methods--methods poised to help us make sense of the torrent of data in our information-laden world.

Much has changed in the area of school law since the first edition of The Educator's Guide was published in 1986. Successive editions grew incrementally longer to keep abreast of legal developments. In this new eighth edition, the authors have streamlined the discussion by pruning older material and weaving in new developments. The result is an authoritative source on all major dimensions of Texas school law that is both well integrated and easy to read.

Intended for Texas school personnel, school board members, interested attorneys, and taxpayers, the eighth edition explains what the law is and what the implications are for effective school operations. It is designed to help professional educators avoid expensive and time consuming lawsuits by taking effective preventive action. It is an especially valuable resource for school law courses and staff development sessions.

The eighth edition begins with a review of the legal structure of the Texas school system. As Chapter 1 notes, education law is a complex interweaving of state and federal constitutional, statutory, administrative, and judicial law. It is important to understand the nature of the system before reading other sections.

Successive chapters address attendance and the instructional program, the education of children with special needs, employment and personnel, expression and associational rights, the role of religion in public schools, student discipline, open meetings and records, privacy, search and seizure, and legal liability under both federal and Texas law. In addition to state law, the book addresses the role of the federal government in school operation through such major federal legislation as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Statute and case references are kept as simple as possible, and a complete index of case citations is included for those readers who wish to consult the cases themselves. The appendices describe how case law is reported and where to find it, along with a glossary of legal terms and a listing of other sources on Texas school law.

How do other countries create “smarter” kids? What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers? The Smartest Kids in the World “gets well beneath the glossy surfaces of these foreign cultures and manages to make our own culture look newly strange....The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes” (The New York Times Book Review).

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy. Inspired to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, trades his high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.
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