Synopses & Reviews
Black and Hispanic students are not learning enough in our public schools. Their typically poor performance is the most important source of ongoing racial inequality in America today. Thus, say Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom, the racial gap in school achievement is the nation's most critical civil rights issue and an educational crisis. It's no wonder that "No Child Left Behind," the 2001 revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, made closing the racial gap in education its central goal.
An employer hiring the typical black high school graduate or the college that admits the average black student is choosing a youngster who has only an eighth-grade education. In most subjects, the majority of twelfth-grade black students do not have even a "partial mastery" of the skills and knowledge that the authoritative National Assessment of Educational Progress calls "fundamental for proficient work" at their grade.
"No Excuses" marshals facts to examine the depth of the problem, the inadequacy of conventional explanations, and the limited impact of Title I, Head Start, and other familiar reforms. Its message, however, is one of hope: Scattered across the country are excellent schools getting terrific results with high-needs kids. These rare schools share a distinctive vision of what great schooling looks like and are free of many of the constraints that compromise education in traditional public schools.
In a society that espouses equal opportunity we still have a racially identifiable group of educational have-nots -- young African Americans and Latinos whose opportunities in life will almost inevitably be limited by their inadequate education. When students leavehigh school without high school skills, their futures -- and that of the nation -- are in jeopardy. With successful schools already showing the way, no decent society can continue to turn a blind eye to such racial and ethnic inequality.
James Traub andlt;Iandgt;Los Angeles Timesandlt;/Iandgt; The Thernstroms have done an enormous service by tracing the great problem of our time to its root and, at the same time, by clearing out of the way so much of the cant that clutters discussion of school reform.
Kim Marshall andlt;Iandgt;The Boston Globeandlt;/Iandgt; Meticulously documented and powerfully written.
The racial gap in academic performance between whites and Asians, on the one hand, and Latinos and blacks, on the other hand, is America's most urgent educational problem. It is also the central civil rights issue of our time, say Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom. Unequal skills and knowledge are the main sources of ongoing racial inequality, and racial inequality is America's great unfinished business. andlt;BRandgt; A wide and tragic gap in learning is evident in affluent suburbs as well as inner cities. But great schools are scattered across the country, as described in inspiring detail by the Thernstroms. These schools are putting even the most highly disadvantaged children on the American ladder of economic opportunity. andlt;BRandgt; There are no good excuses for the perpetuation of long-standing inequalities, the Thernstroms argue eloquently. The problem can be solved, but conventional strategies will not work. Fundamental educational reform is needed. Carefully researched, accessibly written, and powerfully persuasive, this book offers both a close analysis of the current landscape and a blueprint for essential and overdue change.
About the Author
andlt;Bandgt;Abigail Thernstromandlt;/Bandgt; is a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York. She is the author of andlt;Iandgt;Whose Votes Count? Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rightsandlt;/Iandgt; and, with her husband, Stephan, of andlt;Iandgt;America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible.andlt;/Iandgt;
Table of Contents
andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;Contentsandlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;List of Figuresandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;Introductionandlt;/Iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;1 The Problemandlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;One: Left Behindandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;2 Great Teachingandlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Three: Building Academic Skillsandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Four: Not by Math Aloneandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;3 Culture Mattersandlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Five: Asiansandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Six: Hispanicsandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Seven: Blacksandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;4 The Conventional Wisdomandlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Eight: Send Moneyandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Nine: Racial Isolationandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Ten: Teacher Qualityandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;5 Serious Effort, Limited Resultsandlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Eleven: Congress Strikes Outandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Twelve: Raising the Barandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Thirteen: Roadblocks to Changeandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Conclusionandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Notesandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Index