Real Education

Real Education

Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality

Paperback - 2009
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The controversial author of "The Bell Curve" returns with a groundbreaking manifesto to transform American education. He presents the four simple truths that parents and educators should confront to precipitate change--that ability varies, that half of the children are below average, that too many people are going to college, and that America's future depends on how we educate the academically gifted. 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.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Three Rivers Press, [2009]
Edition: 1st pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780307405395
0307405397
Characteristics: 219 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.

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g
GrandpaBig
Jul 12, 2017

Seminal Book on "Real Education"

d
danielestes
May 08, 2013

My immediate impression of Charles Murray's Real Education is that he's right, but in that blunt way one is by pointing out the elephant in the room. America's educational system is tangled with so much more than the business of learning that Murray's assessment will come across as hostile, and he'll be ignored or ostracized. And this leads to my second impression, which is how much educational romanticism is infused with the American identity. This has been the case for over a hundred years and it might be impossible to change.

As stated in the introduction, this book is about four simple truths of education: (1) Ability varies, (2) Half of the children are below average, (3) Too many are going to college, and (4) America's future depends on how we educate the academically gifted. It's also implied that these truths are ignored or forgotten. You'll find some condescension in the author’s tone throughout, but nothing to suggest he's intentionally trying to be provocative. Murray is merely calling it like he sees it, and then backing up his claims with evidence.

This is my second Charles Murray book after reading Coming Apart last year. Count me as a new fan.

sgnorman Jun 15, 2012

This is a thorough expose of the public educational system and the reasons why our country is beleaguered with suffering schools. IT IS VERY DISTURBING AND AGGRIVATING. Several times I had to put it down in the middle of a chapter just to get myself composed before going further. In the end, it was worth it because the author is shooting straight and the message needs to be heard.

k
ktrembley
Jun 07, 2012

I did not enjoy this book as much as I was expecting when I picked it up from the library. In this book, Real Education, I felt the assumptions that Murray made at the beginning of the book were incorrect and borderline classist. Without stressing the point that the potential in a student could happen regardless of socio-economic boundaries, I fear that the arguments presented in this book will further perpetuate the inequality these at-risk students already face. Why present more arguments against these students when what they really need is more advocacy?

Murray claims that we need to focus our education on the students at the top of the Intellectual bell-curve, however I wonder if these students already have the resources they need to excel in private education. Are these students at the top of the bell curve also the students in the top socio-economic bracket? If this is the case, I feel the question we should be asking ourselves is how do we intervene in a child's life sooner, birth to 3 years, to give them similar opportunities as the top bell curve students? Should we focus on changing policies to make an education system better for the 1% that is going to excel, regardless, or policies that bring resources to the bottom 1% to students who are already fighting an uphill battle?

Regardless, I am still looking forward to reading Murray's new book, Coming Apart, because I hear that he sticks to presentation the facts rather than solutions to the problems our current country is facing. I would have liked Real Education to follow the same model so it could be used as a starting point among educators, policy makers and families to discuss the way our education and social system could/should/will change.

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