Cheating Our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education / Edition 1

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Journalist Joe Williams shows how parents can use consumer power to put children first, shining light on the special interests controlling our schools, where politics and pork infuse everything and our children's education is compromised, . He argues that increased accountability and choice are necessary, and shows how the people can take back the education system, enhancing responsibility inherent in democracy. The solution is a new brand of hardball politics that demands competence from school leaders and shifts the power away from bureaucrats and union leaders to the people who have a the greatest reason to put kids first: concerned parents. With practical steps and uplifting examples of success, this is a manifesto to action.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Williams…makes full use of his journalistic skills in this blistering analysis of public-school politics…vivid anecdotes…Cheating Our Kids hits an inspirational note with its instructive explanation…"—Washington Post Book World

"Joe Williams' prescription for the ills of public education pulls no punches in naming the names of the many 'bums' who worry more about the adults and their paychecks than about the kids and whether they're learning. Williams calls on teachers, principals, superintendents and mayors to put kids first. But he also argues that only parents - organized, committed, willing to be 'crazy' on behalf of their children and allowed to choose where to send them to school can bring lasting improvement to public education. As a parent of public school kids myself, this book is inspiring."—Richard Lee Colvin, Director, Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, Teachers College, Columbia University

"As an education reporter for the New York Daily News and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Williams has the dirt on some of the nation's largest public school systems, and in this book, part scathing expose and part call-to-action, Williams paints a bleak picture before shifting into a discussion about remedying the many problems he details, from systems that treat parents and students as antagonists to unprepared and inexperienced teachers and administrators...Williams does a fantastic job chronicling events and ideas as well as capturing the people on both sides of the issues...Although the primary audience will be parents of school-age children, anyone interested in education would benefit from reading it, whether or not they agree with Williams' judgments."—Publishers Weekly

"Cheating Our Kids shines a light on the distressing, sometimes darkly comic reality of American education. In uncompromising prose rich with anecdote, Joe Williams explains how politics, sweetheart deals, overgrown bureaucracy, union contracts, and incompetence hinder our schools and what parents can do about it. This is one book on schooling that parents need to read."—Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Common Sense School Reform

"A much-needed and hard-hitting look at the bizarre world of education politics where adults fight it out over various issues and what's best for kids often comes last. Williams' keen journalistic eye coupled with his in-depth knowledge of education policy makes this book a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the through the looking glass world of education politics." —Andrew J. Rotherham, co-director of Education Sector, member of the Virginia State Board of Education, and former White House education advisor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403968395
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/7/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Williams writes about education and the New York City schools for The New York Daily News. Previously, he covered education for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where he won numerous local and national awards for his coverage of that city's private school voucher program. His children attend public schools in Manhattan, where he lives.

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Table of Contents


• Children Last

• Public Education, American-Style

• The Public Education Cartel

• The Plight of Teachers

• No Vendor Left Behind

• The Elephant in the Room—The Teachers Unions

• Democrats and Republicans (But Mostly Democrats)

• Friends with Deep Pockets

• The Corporate Role in Reform

• Leadership and Voters

• Kids Can Come First

• Parent Power

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