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American Educator
Summer 1988


Table of Contents

Arriving in Lake Wobegon
Are Standardized Tests Exaggerating Achievement and Distorting Instruction?
By Daniel Koretz

Can more than half of our students be above average? A recent report revealing that standardized test scores are overstating achievement levels, often by a large margin, has led to a new, critical look at test-based accountability. In a far-reaching analysis, the author shows that a lot more is amiss than inflated scores. There are disturbing signs that the pressure to demonstrate results on standardized tests is distorting instruction and impeding learning.

The Loss of Jobs and the Rise of the Underclass
A review by Norman Hill

Despite gains made in civil rights, urban ghetto poverty has become more profound. The overwhelming reason, says William Julius Wilson in a new book, is that traditional working-class jobs are disappearing, leaving massive unemployment in the wake.

America's Textbook Fiasco
A Conspiracy of Good Intentions
By Harriet Tyson-Bernstein

Our textbooks are big, beautiful ... and, oh, so bad. They're boring, often incoherent, and overstuffed with incompressible detail. How do they get this way, especially when everyone involved is trying to do his best?

Muddle by Mandate: A Fictionalized Account
By Harriet Tyson-Bernstein

Fourteen months from now, the State of Nirvana will adopt new textbooks. From start to finish, here's how the process goes wrong.

What Should Young Children Be Doing?
Our Kindergarten Practices Should Reflect the Best of What We Know about How Young Children Learn and Develop
By Lilian G. Katz

With the push for stepped-up academics coming from many directions, the debate over the role and functions of kindergarten is in full swing. One of the nation's foremost experts on early childhood education takes us back to the basic question that should inform all policy.

Flunking Kindergarten
Escalating Curriculum Leaves Many Behind
By Lorrie A. Shepard and Mary Lee Smith

Kindergarten retention, say the authors, does nothing to boost subsequent achievement. What it does is mark with failure a child's first encounter with school and feed the pressures for an ever-more-demanding curriculum.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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