Free market principles. The history of ideas. The life & work of Creative Heroes.

Category: Education (page 2 of 2)


Presented with the kind permission of Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
Special thanks to Steven Maggi.

FLUNKED: A story of failure. A formula for hope.

America, we have a problem.

Results of national and international tests show that our students are falling further and further behind. The average American student is no longer able to compete with foreign students, and in many cases, they’re failing to meet even basic academic standards.

Success rates are plummeting, and remediation and dropout rates are skyrocketing. Students entering the current American education system are in for a grim ride. It truly is a national scandal.

One size does not fit all …

Complaining about the problem is easy, but it produces few productive results — especially when many schools nationwide are truly “getting it right.” Flunked is the story of these schools—their founders, leaders, and students—who are breaking the mediocre mold by attaining great results in terms of college preparation, high test scores, and graduating competent workers for tomorrow’s economy. Discovering that one size truly does not fit all, they are finding different ways to make it work in their area, with their students.

The main characters of Flunked are our “heroes,” men and women from all walks of life—parents, teachers, principals, business professionals—who are making a difference to our students. These individuals have defied the odds, pressed the system, and succeeded in seemingly impossible situations. Through it all, they have proven that solutions in education are available here and now, if we will only follow their examples …

Featured Experts:


“Andrew J. Coulson is the director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom. He is the author of the 1999 book Market Education: The Unknown History and a contributor to books published by the Fraser Institute and the Hoover Institution. Coulson has written for numerous academic journals, including the Journal of Research in the Teaching of English and the Education Policy Analysis Archives and for newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit Free Press, and the Seattle Times. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the E.G. West Centre for Market Solutions in Education at the University of Newcastle, UK. Coulson was a Senior Fellow in Education Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and is editor of School Choices. Prior to entering the field of education a decade ago, he was a systems software engineer with Microsoft Corp.”


“Guilbert Hentschke is the Richard T. Cooper and Mary Catherine Cooper Chair in Public School Administration at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, where he served as dean from 1998 to 2000. Currently he directs programs in the business of education, including the Galaxy Institute for Education and the school business management program. An author of numerous books and articles on education reform, charter schools, and the business of education, he currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the finance and governance of emerging and traditional educational institutions in the U.S. and abroad.”

“Hentschke currently serves on the boards of directors of several education-oriented organizations, including the Aspen Education Group, Century/LIFT, Excellent Education Development, The National Center on Education and the Economy, WestEd Regional Educational Laboratory, the Education Industry Association, and several Los Angeles charter schools.”

“Prior to his tenure at USC, Hentschke served in academic administrative and faculty positions at the University of Rochester, Columbia University, the Chicago Public Schools, and the East Side Union High School District (CA). He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and economics at Princeton University and his masters and doctorate in education and business at Stanford University.”


“John Merrifield is Professor of Economics in the College of Business at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, CA; the author of The School Choice Wars (2001) and School Choices (2002).”

(In order of appearance)

  • Joe Mantegna
  • Bill Gates
  • Bill Cosby
  • John Merrifield
  • Andrew Coulson
  • Charlie Hoff
  • Bob Herbold
  • Guilbert Hentschke
  • Steve Barr
  • Matt Wingard
  • Ben Chavis
  • David Scortt
  • Angie Dorman
  • Eric Dominguez
  • Heidi Dominguez
  • Karen Jones
  • Bill Proser
  • Dan Nicklay
  • Howard Lappin
  • Donn Harris
  • Jason Singer
  • Matt Sween
  • Caitlyn Snaring
  • Traci Snaring
  • Dennis Pantano
  • Therese Holliday
  • Lynn Harsh
  • Jeff Kropf

Do You Know What Textbooks Your Children are Really Reading?

The Second grade reading curriculum now requires a book about gay penguins

The Second grade reading curriculum now requires a book about gay penguins

Presented with the kind permission of Fox News Channel.

Hosted by Tucker Carlson

Fox News Reporting investigated the $10 billion dollar-a-year textbook industry and how the drive to be politically correct might be taking over American schools.

Host Tucker Carlson, asked experts, teachers, publishers and parents the same question: “Do you know what is inside your children’s textbooks?” From kindergarten through college, we found staggering errors and omissions which may be pushing agendas, hidden and otherwise.

We spoke to the author of “The Language Police,” education historian Diane Ravitch, who said textbook publishers censor images or words they deem to be controversial in children’s textbooks. She told us that publishers pander to special interest groups, and assemble bias and sensitivity review committees. These committees decide what words to ban or redefine, and even what images are deemed offensive.

And we examined some college textbooks both in print and in digital forms. We found a glaring mistake in an expensive history book written by Alan Brinkley, Provost at New York’s Columbia University.

And in Fairfax County Virginia, questions remain about what textbooks are used in the private Islamic Saudi Academy. The ISA teaches about 1000 students each year pre-K — 12. Questions have been raised about its textbooks at least since 2006.

This summer, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, ISA’s 1999 valedictorian, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a 2002 Al Qaeda plot to assassinate President George W. Bush.

The ISA is wholly owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and teaches students from textbooks, which according to a report by a Saudi scholar interviewed by Fox News, continues to “propagate an ideology of hate to the unbeliever.” Fox News Reporting obtained some of their current 2008-2009 textbooks which were supposed to be purged of inflammatory language. We found proof otherwise.

We tracked down two American college professors who were paid by the ISA to review these textbooks. They signed a letter obtained by Fox News that the ISA’s 2008-2009 textbooks “do not contain inflammatory material…” One of them sat down for an interview; the other refused.

And in California’s Alameda County, our cameras were there as parents were embroiled in a heated debate over a mandatory curriculum designed to teach students from grades K-5 about different types of families, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lifestyles. After a vote by the Alameda Unified School District in May of this year, the second grade reading curriculum now requires a book about gay penguins.

Fox News Reporting examines what is really inside children’s textbooks.

Protests against the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia USA

Protests against the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia USA

Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School

Presented with the kind permission of the Pacific Research Institute. Special thanks to Kelly Gorton.

Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School shatters the myth that “good” schools are found in “nice” neighborhoods.

Using available data on school performance and interviews with parents, students, principals, and school reformers, Not as Good as You Think confirms every parent’s silent fear: that their financial sacrifice and investment in an expensive home in a “good” school district is not yielding the achievement results needed to get their kids into good colleges and good jobs.

The film takes audiences on a tour of America’s best neighborhoods — from posh Orange County, California to the hotbed of innovation, Silicon Valley, to the lush green hills of Tennessee — to reveal that schools in America’s middle class and affluent neighborhoods are not adequately preparing kids for higher education, or worse, operating under widespread corruption.

The film also contrasts the American public school system with that of Sweden’s, a socially progressive country that allows parents, at the government expense, to choose any school that fits their children’s need — private or public — no matter the parents’ income.

Studies show that parents are willing to purchase houses well beyond their means for what they believe is an opportunity to send their children to “good” public schools. Not as Good as You Think shows that buying a home in an expensive neighborhood doesn’t necessarily buy a “good” public school.

The book (on which the film is based) found that in nearly 300 schools in middle class and affluent neighborhoods in California, more than half of the students in at least one grade level performed below proficiency on the California Standards Test (CST)—the statewide test that assesses student grade level knowledge.

Moreover, in some school districts, investigations have found cases of widespread corruption and financial mismanagement.

Many of these schools are located in California’s most affluent areas including Orange County, Silicon Valley, and the Los Angeles beach and canyon communities.

Not as Good as You Think was the first-ever study to evaluate student performance in schools located in California’s middle-class and affluent neighborhoods.

While this study focused on California, its findings received national recognition.

In California, Lance Izumi and Vicki Murray briefed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top advisors, state legislators, legislative staff, and key education policymakers. As a result, for the first time in six years, five school choice bills were introduced in Sacramento. The historic number of bills included an opportunity scholarship, a disability voucher, and a safe schools voucher.