If you care about education and don’t know who David C. Berliner is, you should. He is an educational psychologist who is one of the clearest thinkers in the education world about teaching, teacher education, educational policy and the effects of corporate school reform on schools.
His résumé is too long to recite, but here are some highlights: He is a former dean of the school of education at Arizona State University and a past president of both the American Educational Research Association and the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association.
He has written or co-written more than 400 articles, chapters and books. Among his best known works are the six editions of the text “Educational Psychology,” co-written with N.L. Gage; “The Manufactured Crisis,” co-written with B.J. Biddle; “Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools,” co-written with Sharon Nichols; and “50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools,” co-written with Gene V. Glass. He co-edited the first “Handbook of Educational Psychology” and the books “Talks to Teachers, Perspectives on Instructional Time,” and “Putting Research to Work in Your School.”
Here is a new post by Berliner about what is really happening in America’s public schools today as opposed to what some school reformers and news organizations say is happening. It was first published on the Equality Alliance blog, and Berliner gave me permission to publish it.
By David Berliner
For many years I have been writing about the lies told about the poor performance of our students and the failure of our schools and teachers. Journalists and politicians are often our nations’ most irritating commentators about the state of American education because they have access to the same facts that I have.
They all can easily learn that the international tests (e. g. PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS), the national tests (e. g. NAEP), the college entrance tests (e. g. SAT, ACT), and each of the individual state tests follow an identical pattern. It is this: As income increases per family from our poorest families (under the 25th percentile in wealth), to working class (26th-50th percentile in family wealth), to middle class (51st to 75th percentile in family wealth), to wealthy (the highest quartile in family wealth), mean scores go up quite substantially.
In every standardized achievement test whose scores we use to judge the quality of the education received by our children, family income strongly and significantly influences the mean scores obtained.