What’s no quite so in the education argument

Education Myths by Jay P. Greene. collects the latest research on education policy and uses it to debunk and take down the myths and mistaken beliefs that seem to permeate the education policy debate. (ht Kevin Holtsber, RedState 05dc16)

1. The Money Myth — “Schools perform poorly because they need more money.”
2. The Special Ed Myth — “Special education programs burden public schools, hindering their academic performance.”
3. The Myth of Helplessness — “Social problems like poverty cause students to fail; schools are helpless to prevent it.”
4. The Class Size Myth — “Schools should reduce class sizes; small classes would produce big improvements.”
5. The Certification Myth — “Certified or more experienced teachers are substantially more effective.”
6. The Teacher Pay Myth — “Teachers are badly underpaid.”
7. The Myth of Decline — “Schools are performing much worse than they used to.”
8. The Graduation Myth — “Nearly all students graduate from high school.”
9. The College Access Myth — “Nonacademic barriers prevent a lot of minority students from attending college.”
10. The High Stakes Myth — “The results of high-stakes tests are not credible because they’re distorted by cheating and teaching to the test.”
11. The Push-Out Myth — “Exit exams cause more students to drop out of high school.”
12. The Accountability Burden Myth —”Accountability systems impose large financial burdens on schools.”
13. The Inconclusive Research Myth — “The evidence on the effectiveness of vouchers is mixed and inconclusive.”
14. The Exeter Myth — “Private schools have higher test scores because they have more money and recruit high-performing students while expelling low-performing students.”
15. The Draining Myth — “School choice harms public schools.”
16. The Disabled Need Not Apply Myth — “Private schools won’t serve disabled students.”
17. The Democratic Values Myth — “Private schools are less effective at promoting tolerance and civic participation.”
18. The Segregation Myth — “Private schools are more racially segregated than public schools.”

In any debate, framing the question often determines the quality of the dialog. Greene’s list does a good job of framing some of the more commonly argued questions in public education. For one measure of the myth, read his book and evaluate his arguments. This would be especially valuable if you don’t think one of these myths is really a myth. Then you’d know what you are arguing against.

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