Add to GoodReads

The School Reform Landscape

Fraud, Myth, and Lies

Christopher H. Tienken Ed.D and Donald C. Orlich

In The School Reform Landscape: Fear, Mythologies, and Lies, the authors take an in-depth and controversial look at school reform since the launch of Sputnik. They scrutinize school reform events, proposals, and policies from the last 60 years through the lens of critical social theory and examine the ongoing tensions between the need to keep a vibrant unitary system of public education and the ongoing assault by corporate and elite interests in creating a dual system. Some of events, proposals, and policies critiqued include the Sputnik myth, A Nation At Risk, No Child Left Behind, the lies of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and other common reform schemes. The authors provide an evidence-based contrarian view of the free-market reform ideas and pierce the veil of the new reform policies to find that they are built not upon empirical evidence, but instead rest solidly on foundations of myth, fear, and lies. Ideas for a new set of reform policies, based on empirical evidence and supportive of a unitary, democratic system of education are presented. « less more »
R&L Education / American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
Pages: 188Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/4
978-1-4758-0257-3 • Hardback • February 2013 • $69.00 • (£47.95)
978-1-4758-0258-0 • Paperback • February 2013 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4758-0259-7 • eBook • February 2013 • $34.00 • (£23.95)
Christopher H. Tienken is an assistant professor at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy.

Donald C. Orlich is Professor Emeritus of Education and Science Instruction at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. He is the author of numerous published papers and author or co-author or 16 published books.





Chapter 1
Liberty and Justice For All
Chapter 2
The Education Reform King With a Styrofoam Crown
Chapter 3
A Catalogue of Reform Fallacies
Chapter 4
The No Child Left Behind Act
Chapter 5
The Path of High-Risk Implications for Public Education
Chapter 6
High Stakes, Low Quality
Chapter 7
World-Class Standards That Are Too Big To Fail
Chapter 8
Charter Schools: Separate But Legal
Chapter 9
What Now? A Way Forward
As the subtitle indicates, Tienken (Seton Hall Univ.) and Orlich (emer., Washington State Univ.) are critical of current school "reform" efforts, especially overreliance on standardized tests, national curricula (including common core standards), and the spread of charter schools. In the first chapter, they contrast liberal reform policies for an inclusive, democratic school system that emphasizes thinking skills and democratic social values, advocated by proponents from Thomas Jefferson to John Dewey, with parallel reform efforts (such as the 19th-century Lancaster system) that lead to "dual" educational approaches separating privileged children from the poor. They argue that assertions that schools are failing, postulated by conservatives after the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, repeated in the 1983 report A Nation at Risk, and presented as justification for the 2001 No Child Left Behind legislation, are false and put forward with little supporting evidence. Current federal policies exemplified by Race to the Top continue this trend and are anti-democratic. This summary of the liberal critique of the current state of education in the US is not particularly well written, but the authors make their case compellingly and cite much of the research and policy literature by others that supports their position. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, and professionals.

Is the school reform movement an attack on the country’s democratic and unitary system of public education? In The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies, co-authors Christopher H. Tienken, an assistant professor at Seton Hall University, and Donald C. Orlich, professor emeritus at Washington State University, make that case. ... The authors present well-researched critiques of “A Nation at Risk,” No Child Left Behind, charter schools, high-stakes testing, state curriculum standards and the national Common Core State Standards program. Moreover, the abundance of research to support the claims made in The School Reform Landscape stands in stark contrast to the lack of empirical evidence present in so many criticisms of the current state of public education.
School Administrator

Tienken and Orlich provide readers with a behind-the-scenes analysis of the Common Core and its accompanying assessment movement, revealing the new standards as ‘empirically vapid’, and demonstrating how the performance of US students on high-stakes and international exams has been interpreted in misleading and amateur ways – only to manufacture a crisis in our public schools and sell a reform model that purports to close achievement gaps between privileged and disadvantaged groups. ... Readers of this text get an insider’s view of the dirty politics of American education reform and the mainstream media’s ill-informed and unsophisticated portrayal of it.
International School Magazine

Christopher Tienken and Donald Orlich are professors of education at Seton Hall University and Washington State University, respectively. Their book is an analysis of school reform policy over the past six decades, focusing on how we ended up where we are today. They value public education and wish to see it flourish. The authors demonstrate the harm done by older reforms and the more recent attempts, like No Child Left Behind, Common Core, national testing, and Race to the Top grants. The authors show that most 'reform' policies aren’t based on 'empirical evidence, but instead rest solidly on a foundation of ideology.'. . .After eviscerating the various schemes that have failed, this book outlines the following points that should guide the future and that would help to separate reality from myth.
Education Reporter

The education reform emperor has no clothes! Tienken and Orlich bravely and brilliantly tell the inconvenient truth about the mega reforms in American education history with abundant evidence, incisive analysis, and infectious passion to defend public education. A must read for all concerned about the fate of public schools and America’s future.
Yong Zhao Ph.D., Foundations Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas, author of Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and worst) Education in the World, and more.

Tienken and Orlich pull back the curtain on the latest evolution of school reform proposals to reveal that many policies and practices are founded upon bankrupt slogans, ideology, and myths. They outline the purpose and value of the unitary, democratic system of public education and how such a system is meant to create and facilitate equity and social mobility. The authors present evidenced-based suggestions for education policy and provide school leaders and policy makers with ideas they can use to take action. This should be required reading for every parent, educator, and politician in America.
Kenyon Kummings, principal, Glenwood Elementary School, Wildwood City, NJ

The School Reform Landscape: Fear, Mythology, and Lies provides a comprehensive and thorough depiction of school reform. In order to recognize the current state of school reform, it is imperative to know where we’ve been. The authors’ treatment of the school reform landscape is complete, honest, enlightening and a must read.
Richard A. Flanary, former deputy executive director of programs & services, National Association of Secondary School Principals, president, Flanary Educational Consulting