Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality
Three Rivers Press (CA), Paperback, 9780307405395, 219pp.
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
From the author of Coming Apart, and based on a series of controversial Wall Street Journal op-eds, this landmark manifesto gives voice to what everyone knows about talent, ability, and intelligence but no one wants to admit. With four 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, but America's educational system does its best to ignore this.
Half of the children are below average. Many children cannot learn more than rudimentary reading and math. Yet decades of policies have required schools to divert resources to unattainable goals.
Too many people are going to college. Only a fraction of students struggling to get a degree can profit from education at the college level.
America's future depends on how we educate the academically gifted. It is time to start thinking about the kind of education needed by the young people who will run the country.
"Takes a moral sledgehammer to our one-size-fits-all education mind-set."
"It is astonishing to see plain common sense written about education, a topic I had thought long since drowned deep beneath an ocean of nonsense, venality, and lies."
—John Derbyshire, National Review Online
“Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” said a well-known educator, albeit in a religious schooling context. Charles Murray is concerned with the secular world of education, nonetheless his message is worthy of evangelism: Tell the truth, and the truth shall make you free of foolish, cruel, and counter-productive educational policies.”
—P. J. O'Rourke
“Charles Murray, arguably the most consequential social scientist alive, has discovered a nifty formula for fame (or infamy): One, in lucid, graceful prose describe reality using evidence and logic. Two, propose policies that actually take reality into consideration. And, three, sit back and wait for the inevitable caterwauling and lamentations of those who insist reality isn’t real and who swear the crooked timber of humanity is nothing more than the malleable clay of utopian social engineers. Real Education follows this recipe perfectly. Even now, if you put your ear to the ground, you can hear throats being cleared for the caterwauling to come.”
—Jonah Goldberg, bestselling author of Liberal Fascism
“Charles Murray is one professional contrarian who cannot be written off–not since his first book, Losing Ground, led to a complete restructuring of America’s welfare system. At first Real Education, with its plan for identifying “the elite,” may strike you as an elaboration of his hotly contested views on IQ. But suddenly–swock!–he pops a gasper: a practical plan for literally reproducing, re-creating, a new generation of Jeffersons, Adamses, Franklins, and Hamiltons, educated, drilled, steeped, marinated in those worthies’ concern for the Good and Virtuous with a capital V–nothing less than an elite of Founding Great-great-great-great-great Grandchildren.”