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Education Myths What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About our Schools—and Why It Isn't So

By Jay P. Greene
Rowman & Littlefield 2005 ISBN: 9780742549777

About the Book

How can we fix our floundering public schools? The conventional wisdom says that schools need a lot more money, that poor and immigrant children can't do as well as most other American kids, that high-stakes tests just produce "teaching to the test," and that vouchers do little to help students while undermining our democracy. But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong?

In this book, Jay P. Greene examines eighteen widely held beliefs about American education, and finds that they just aren't true. In addition to myths about class size and teacher pay, he debunks common views about special education ("special ed. programs burden public schools"); certification "certified or more experienced teachers are more effective"); graduation ("nearly all students graduate from high school"); draining ("choice harms public schools"); segregation ("private schools are more racially segregated"); and a host of other hotly debated issues.

Greene's reasoned and accessible approach refutes each myth with relevant and reliable facts and figures, including a broad review of the research. He believes our schools can be fixed, and concludes the book with important recommendations that, once implemented, will help our schools achieve measurable and affordable success. This landmark book provides a vital frame of reference for education reformers—and a wake-up call for undemanding taxpayers.

About the Author

JAY P. GREENE is a former Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and endowed chair and head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Greene conducts research and writes about education policy, including topics such as school choice, high school graduation rates, accountability, and special education.

His research was cited four times in the Supreme Court's opinions in the landmark Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case on school vouchers. His articles have appeared in policy journals, such as The Public Interest, City Journal, and Education Next, in academic journals, such as The Georgetown Public Policy Review, Education and Urban Society, and The British Journal of Political Science, as well as in major newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Greene has been a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. He received his B.A. in history from Tufts University in 1988 and his Ph.D. from the Government Department at Harvard University in 1995. He lives with his wife and three children in Fayetteville, AR.



Benefits of educational options clear, By Jay P. Greene, The Arizona Republic, 12-15-05

A "Comprehensive" Problem, By Jay P. Greene, Education Next, Winter 2006

Ever-larger spending won't improve our schools, By Jay P. Greene, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10-23-05

Five Myths...crying out for debunking, By Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, National Review, 10-24-05

Another option, By Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, The Baltimore Sun, 10-03-05

The Teacher-Pay Myth, By Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, New York Post, 09-22-05

Education Myths: Why so many?, By Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, National Review Online, 09-07-05


Education Myths: What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe about Our Schools—And Why It Isn't So, By Jennifer de Forest, Teachers College Record, 07-05-06

Why it's important to sift the educational diatribes, By Nichole M. Christian, Detroit Free Press, 03-13-06

Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe - And Why It Isn't So, By Lori Drummer, ALEC Book Review, Fall 2005

Debunking Education Myths,, 12-16-05

They still don't get it, By Mark Yost, Pioneer Press, 12-13-05

Is Minnesota really underfunding education?, By Mark Yost, Pioneer Press, 12-06-05

No Incentive to Improve, Manhasset Press, 11-11-05

Read These Books!, Education Reform, 10-31-05

Education Myths and Cheating Our Kids, Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes, 10-29-05

Throwing the Book at Education Myths, Georgia Public Policy Foundation, 10-28-05

The many untrue tales told about education, The Washington Times, 10-23-05

Researcher zaps school lobby's money myth, By Krista Kafer, Backbone America, 10-20-05

The myth-buster: Butchering education's sacred cows no easy task, The Gazette, 10-18-05

Highly Recommended Reading, Port Washington News, 10-07-05

Education Myths: What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe about Our Schools—And Why It Isn't So, The Education Gadfly, 09-22-05

My Sixth Grade Surprise, By Jay Mathews, Washington Post, 09-20-05

A free-market primer for the classroom, By Richard Lee Colvin, Los Angeles Times, 09-18-05

Education Dragonslayer, By Andrew J. Rotherham, New York Post, 09-18-05

LI needs to read up on myths in education, By Raymond J. Keating, Newsday, 09-12-05

Men of myth,, 09-08-05

Education Policy,, 09-07-05

Education Myths, Depravity, 09-07-05

Class Struggles, By Eric Hoover, The Washington Post, 09-04-05

Book Alert: Education Myths, Education Next, September 2005

On Point: Tough guy tactics, By Vincent Carrol, Rocky Mountain News, 09-02-05

Teachers Get an 'F', By Ron Nessen, The Washington Post, 09-01-05

Debunking Education Myths, Democracy Project, 08-31-05

Jay P. Greene Examines Education Myths in New Book, Daily Headlines, 08-31-05

Debunking Education Myths, By Maggie Gallagher, Yahoo News, 08-30-05

Education Myths, A School Yard Blog, 08-21-05

A book of wisdom, Number 2 Pencil, 06-15-05

Book About Education Myths, Right on the Left Coast, 06-15-05

"A must read for the many people who—frequently with good intentions—enter the policy arena without the relevant facts."
ERIC A. HANUSHEK, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

"Clears away the fog. Well-supported, powerful, and ultimately persuasive. A major contribution."
ROD PAIGE, former U.S. Secretary of Education

"Much of what passes for conventional wisdom in the field of education is not wisdom at all, but myth. In this terrific book, Jay Greene identifies some of the most popular myths that have long misled the public—and unfortunately, its policymakers—and shows, through clear reasoning, creative analysis, and persuasive evidence, what the facts are. If we are ever to succeed in improving America's schools, this is the kind of thinking we need."
TERRY MOE, Stanford University Professor and Hoover Institution fellow

"Cleanly, deftly, succinctly, Jay Greene rips off the masks obscuring the realities of public education today."
PAUL PETERSON, director, Program on Education Policy and Governance, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"Anyone who has struggled to reform education has been frustrated by assertions that are often repeated, but are completely unsupported by research. Education Myths provides reformers and the general public with an accessible and persuasive summary of the evidence needed to identify and rebut these assertions, clearing the path for meaningful reform."
HOWARD FULLER, former Superintendent Milwaukee Public Schools