The above book is a welcome solution to the obscurity and doom that one frequently reads about concerning the state of public education in the US. Given the criticisms of public education that have become a norm in more than a half of the past century, it appears that those stating that the current state of education in American public schools could be at its worst have a strong point of argument. Certainly, it is difficult to visualize an argument that supports the state of public education as being at its best. The authors of this book perceive public schools as being an essential foundation of the American education system and a vital element in communal framework. They argue that public education is not in crisis and that problem is with the independent bodies like religious unions and the critics who attack the state of public American education on a daily basis.
This article shall explore the authors’ debate on American education as they tackle the critics of the public education system in America. This essay will also analyze how the book’s major themes and concepts affect and apply in an American classroom setting. On a closer looks at this book, it can be observed that the authors tackle the issue of the public education system to a deep level. For instance, Berliner and Biddle argue that SATs do not achieve their intended influence and additionally, they do not portray a clear and positive picture of academic achievements. Moreover, the authors argue that despite many critics stating that the American system is weak, the system continues to produce highly qualified professionals including of scientists and engineers.
In fact, they state that the number of professionals being produced by the system is on the increase. This therefore, according to the authors of the book, is enough proof that teachers in public schools are credible and are carrying out their duties as expected. This book also states that quality of teaching in public schools has significantly improved. Numerous critics have argued that the system is worsening due to poorly trained teachers. Today, most public school teachers have a strong liberal arts background which is instrumental to their teaching profession. Most teachers in public schools are also college graduates with bachelor degrees and some even having achieved their master’s degrees and as such, the teachers in public schools are highly educated intellectuals who are very much capable in guiding students in their academics. The authors state that the rate of qualified teachers to the unqualified has gone up meaning that there are more qualified teachers in public schools.
This statement seems directed at the critics arguing that the teachers in private schools are more qualified, academically, compared to those in public schools. Contrary to the critics, Berliner and Biddle argued that getting high salaries is not that much of an issue to teachers in public schools. The critics also argued that private schools are better than public schools. Most private schools reward their teachers with lucrative salaries which, to many critics, is motivation enough to private school teachers to teach students to the best of their abilities.
The critics had argumentatively said that the private schools are better than the public schools. According to this book, what most critics do not seen to understand is that the motivation behind teachers in public schools is not money but on the contrary, it is the belief to serve the nation by helping to shape its future. In private schools, the main source of motivation appears to be the lucrative pays. As a result of the statements brought out by the Berliner and Biddle in their book, some researchers have carried out several studies on students and teachers in different schools across the US with the aim of proving or disputing the theories written in this book. An example of these researches is Mike Rose, a professor of education at UCLA (University of California-Los Angeles), who has even written a song in praise of US public schools. Rose spent several years surveying schools in such places as the Los Angeles, Montana, Mississippi and New York City (Ryan 23). He was cautious to choose schools which were not situated in the wealthy suburbs so as to ensure that his findings would not be influenced by the pay accorded to teachers.
Rose came across numerous success stories, and noted the commitment of teachers, principals, parents and communities operating in difficult circumstances as they strive to achieve academic success. Rose noted that the supportive social environment created by teachers in public schools is instrumental in motivating students to put in more effort in their education. This, he observed in most of the schools he visited. As a result of a series of purposeful research studies in the education sector from a variety of sources, the authors clearly state what they proclaim to be both a chronicle and deception. Most Public schools are doing a far better job than they are complimented for (Berliner and Biddle 1).
To the authors of this book, most of the research carried out in public schools illustrate that the harsh criticism directed at public schools is unjust and that public schools do not deserve the negative comments directed at their performance. Most of the researches on public schools seem to concur with the hypotheses of Berliner and Biddle. The authors further point out that school facilities, resources, personnel, and curricula do not affect school achievements much as revealed by numerous studies by different researchers which mostly dispute this popular myth.
Additionally, this book points out that research has revealed that schools rarely influence a child’s general class performance as this is dependent on the child’s background and general social. A child with a good moral background is likely to comfortably adapt to the public school setting compared to those with shaky moral backgrounds. This also applies to students in private schools.
In conclusion, after reading this book, it can be observed that the authors are aiming to educate the general public against assuming that the state of education in public schools keeps getting worse by the day. This article has explored numerous assumptions commonly argued by critics and shown how the authors of this book have disputed them one by one. Among the most commonly heard arguments about public schools is that they are poorly equipped and this affects their service delivery. The article has shown how the authors have argued against this myth by stating that facilities do not affect academics much, it is the determination of teachers and students that is important. This article has covered only a few of the arguments in support of public education but the book has many more other arguments. The book provides a strong argument in support of public schools.
Berliner, David and Biddle, Bruce.
The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Frauds, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools. New York: Perseus Books Group, 1996. Ryan, Kevin. Write up the corporate ladder: successful writers reveal the techniques that help you write with ease and get ahead.
New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2003.