With four simple truths as his framework, Charles Murray, the
bestselling coauthor of "The Bell Curve," sweeps away the
hypocrisy, wishful thinking, and upside-down priorities that grip
America's educational establishment.
Ability varies. Children differ in their ability to learn academic
material. Doing our best for every child requires, above all else,
that we embrace that simplest of truths. America's educational
system does its best to ignore it.
Half of the children are below average. Many children cannot learn
more than rudimentary reading and math. "Real Education" reviews
what we know about the limits of what schools can do and the
results of four decades of policies that require schools to divert
huge resources to unattainable goals.
Too many people are going to college. Almost everyone should get
training beyond high school, but the number of students who want,
need, or can profit from four years of residential education at the
college level is a fraction of the number of young people who are
struggling to get a degree. We have set up a standard known as the
BA, stripped it of its traditional content, and made it an
artificial job qualification. Then we stigmatize everyone who
doesn't get one. For most of America's young people, today's
college system is a punishing anachronism.
America's future depends on how we educate the academically gifted.
An elite already runs the country, whether we like it or not. Since
everything we watch, hear, and read is produced by that elite, and
since every business and government department is run by that
elite, it is time to start thinking about the kind of education
needed by the young people who will run the country. The task is
not to give them more advanced technical training, but to give them
an education that will make them into wiser adults; not to pamper
them, but to hold their feet to the fire.
The good news is that change is not only possible but already
happening. "Real Education" describes the technological and
economic trends that are creating options for parents who want the
right education for their children, teachers who want to be free to
teach again, and young people who want to find something they love
doing and learn how to do it well. These are the people for whom
"Real Education" was written. It is they, not the politicians or
the educational establishment, who will bring American schools back
Twenty-four years ago, Charles Murray's "Losing Ground" changed the
way the nation thought about welfare. "Real Education" is about to
do the same thing for America's schools.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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