Studied Ignorance
How Curricular Censorship and Textbook Selection Are Dumbing Down American Education
by Herbert N. Foerstel
May 2013, 158pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0323-9
$55, £43, 48€, A76
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0324-6
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Despite concerted efforts from our educators, administrators, and government, American education continues to struggle. The author of this work argues that the decline can be traced to censored curricula, inaccurate textbooks, test-driven evaluations, and increasing poverty among the student population.

Under the definition of “failure” specified in the No Child Left Behind Act, more than 80 percent of American schools could currently be labeled as failing, while the quality of American education overall and our students’ performance continue to rank unfavorably against international competition. This book examines the crisis in American education and identifies how weaknesses in textbooks, teaching, and testing have created the crisis facing American education—a topic that dramatically affects students, teachers, and parents.

Author Herbert N. Foerstel exposes the textbook “wars” that began a century ago and rage on with even more venom today. His book traces the legal basis for curricular censorship that dates back 75 years; identifies the bizarre process by which shoddy textbooks have been written, published, and come to be widely accepted; and documents the disastrous effect that reliance on these materials has had on the curriculum. Foerstel also supplies a careful assessment of the current political debate over education reform and of the proposed solutions to these problems.

Herbert N. Foerstel is a retired librarian, formerly head of branch libraries at the University of Maryland, College Park. He currently serves on the board of directors of the National Security Archive, located at George Washington University, Washington, DC. His published works include Greenwood's Banned in the U.S.A.: A Reference Guide to Book Censorship in Schools and Public Libraries; Banned in the Media: A Reference Guide to Censorship in the Press, Motion Pictures, Broadcasting, and the Internet; and Science and Government: A Toxic Mix.
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