On school reform

Schoolhouse ShamsJournalist Peter Downs, a contributor to FOCUS/midwest, is out with a new book on education reform, “Schoolhouse Shams: Myths and Misinformation in School Reform.” The book examines the turmoil that hit St. Louis beginning in 2003; the lessons likely apply to any major public school system facing calls for change.

Here’s the summary of “Schoohouse Shams” taken from the publisher’s website: “Written by a parent and school board member, who first embraced many of the ideas of the modern school reform movement, Schoolhouse Shams lays bare much of the mythology and misinformation that underpin many of the failed school reform policies of the last decade. Many of the top strategies of the highly publicized school reform movement already have been tried out in St. Louis with disastrous results. Along with demonstrating the failure of school reform prescriptions to improve education, the experience of St. Louis demonstrates that the ideological premise of the reform movement, that a focus on providing opportunities for private profit-taking will necessarily improve schools, is both wrong and conflicts with the ideals of democracy, accountability, and justice.”