50 things you need to know about public school

50 myths
Find out what the real crisis is in the halls of public schools. / Provided

“50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education” is exactly what it purports to be, a compilation of false but pervasive claims — about the public-school system, teaching methods, and how students learn — coupled with research-supported refutations of those claims. But it is more than that. The book, published by Teachers College Press on March 22, is also an impassioned effort to save our country’s education system, which it aims to do by teaching the general public how it all works.

The two lead authors, David C. Berliner (a professor and dean at Arizona State University, PhD recipient in educational psychology from Stanford, author of more than 200 articles, books, and chapters on education) and Gene Glass (senior researcher at the National Education Policy Center, professor at University of Colorado Boulder, elected member of the National Academy of Education), worked with a team of 19 other researchers in the field of education, and cited hundreds of studies in their arguments.

We asked why. “It pains us to see teaching turned into mind-numbing coaching for standardized tests,” Dr. Glass said, when he spoke with us. And he knows that this project may ruffle some feathers: “To talk about our schools being ‘threatened,’ or to imply that some in the education-reform business might not be 100% truthful, is pretty strong language,” he says. “Unfortunately the times call for strong language.”

Six myths you need to stop believing:

• MYTH: International tests show that the United States has a second-rate education system.
• TRUTH: We lead the world in the number of high performers. The percentage of low performers correlates with our country’s high child-poverty rate, which has long been linked to low test scores.

• MYTH: Private schools are better than public schools.
• TRUTH: After isolating variables such as poverty and parental involvement — long proved to most effect academic achievement — public school students were actually found to outperform their private school peers.

• MYTH: Charter schools are better than traditional public schools.
• TRUTH: Center for Research on Education Outcomes studies in 2009 and 2013 report that public schools outperform charter schools in both math and reading.

• MYTH: Teachers should be evaluated on the basis of the performance of their students.
• TRUTH: “Value-added measurement” methods have led to the neglect of poorer students, whose scores tend to be lower, and to school systems which cheat by making tests easier. Meanwhile, there have been no changes in the achievement gap, and testing gains on whole are small.

• MYTH: Retaining children in grade—”flunking” them—helps struggling students catch up and promotes better classroom instruction for all.
• TRUTH: Studies done on statistically similar children, one promoted and one flunked, report that the promoted child usually performs better in the higher grade, and when not, the two do about the same on tests.

• MYTH: Homework boosts achievement.
• TRUTH: Multiple studies have found no link between homework and achievement. In the author’s words, “There is more credible scholarship on the negative effects of homework, than on its merits.”


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.