Cutting Through the Hype

Cutting Through the Hype The Essential Guide to School Reform

Jane L. David and Larry Cuban
paper, 220 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-70-9
Price: $29.00

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Revised, Expanded, and Updated Edition

Cutting Through the Hype: The Essential Guide to School Reform offers balanced analyses of 23 currently popular school reform strategies, from teacher performance pay and putting mayors in charge to turnaround schools and data-driven instruction.


David and Cuban bring a wealth of background knowledge to their task that allows them to bring clarity to some of the most important policy choices confronting us, without compromising the complexity of those choices. This work is practical, provocative, and eminently readable. — Charles M. Payne, Frank P. Hixon Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

David and Cuban write in a balanced tone about a wide array of politically charged education reforms. With each reform they explore its origins, the problem the reform set out to solve, and the research on its efficacy. Their book cuts concisely and clearly to these critical aspects of each reform, making it an excellent primer for anyone new to these ideas and a perfect review for anyone who has been in the field and wants a reasoned and historical perspective. — Heather Kirkpatrick, vice president of education, Aspire Public Schools

Two veteran educators bring fierce idealism and trenchant analysis to the examination of every imaginable issue in American education—from merit pay to phonics, from closing the achievement gap to computers in the classroom. This lively and thoughtful book will provide grist for many good debates among educators and those who care about our schools. — Kim Marshall, former Boston Public School principal, Editor of the Marshall Memo

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About the Authors

Jane L. David received a doctorate in education and social policy from Harvard University in 1974 after teaching high school mathematics in Washington, D.C. Since then, her career in government agencies to foundations, districts, and nonprofit organizations. She also conducts strresearch and evaluation has focused on the connections between education policy and how schools and districts improve, particularly those serving children at risk of failure. She directs the Bay Area Research Group, a small consulting firm whose clients range from think tanks and ategic reviews for nonprofit organizations and foundations. David has authored more than a hundred reports, book chapters, articles, and commissioned papers and writes a bimonthly research column for Educational Leadership.

Larry Cuban is Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. He has taught courses in the methods of teaching social studies, the history of school reform, the history of curriculum and instruction, and leadership. He has been faculty sponsor of the Stanford/Schools Collaborative and Stanford’s Teacher Education Program.

Trained as a historian, Cuban received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1955 and an MA from Cleveland’s Western Reserve University in 1958. He subsequently taught high school social studies in urban schools for fourteen years and directed a teacher education program that prepared returning Peace Corps volunteers to teach in inner-city schools. On completing his PhD work at Stanford University in 1974, he assumed the superintendency of the Arlington (Virginia) Public Schools, a position he held until returning to Stanford in 1981. Since 1988, he has taught three times in local high schools’ semester-long courses in U.S. history and economics. Between 1981 and 2001, students in the School of Education selected Cuban seven times for an excellence in teaching award.

Cuban’s major research interests focus on the history of curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and school reform and the uses of technology in classrooms. His most recent books are As Good as It Gets: What School Reform Brought to Austin (2010) and Hugging the Middle: How Teachers Teach in an Era of Testing and Accountability (2009).