The Critical Advantage

The Critical Advantage Developing Critical Thinking Skills in School

William T. Gormley, Jr.
Paper, 248 Pages
Pub. Date: May 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-057-3
Price: $33.00

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In The Critical Advantage, noted scholar and early childhood expert William T. Gormley, Jr. takes a wide-ranging look at the important role of critical thinking in preparing students for college, careers, and civic life. 


Is critical thinking the key to making sure our youth are ready for college, careers, and civic engagement? Gormley makes a persuasive case that it is. The book provides important guidance for educators on how to build the culture and structures to promote critical thinking. — Betsy Brand, executive director, American Youth Policy Forum

The Critical Advantage is one of the most thoughtful and useful explorations of critical thinking I have read. A refreshing, digestible, and much-needed read for this time. — Terrel L. Rhodes, vice president, Office of Quality, Curriculum and Assessment, and executive director of VALUE, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Gormley provides many rich examples of how educators can help children and youth to develop critical thinking skills that are important to success in college, in careers, and in civic life. Reading this book will help educators reflect on the ways that they interact with children and the ways that they can help them to become effective critical thinkers. — Richard J. Murnane, Thompson Research Professor, Harvard University Graduate School of Education

The Critical Advantage, a lively and informative book about critical thinking by William a sparkling read that's both big-picture and practical, with bite-size samplings, a little brain science, and well-guided tours of critical thinking in education, work, and civic life. — Brooke Manville, Forbes

Gormley presents new ways of considering critical thinking in a variety of different contexts, while also arguing that it is absolutely necessary that Americans rediscover their ability to interact constructively with ideas different from their own. — Peter M. Nelson, Teachers College Record

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About the Author

William T. Gormley Jr. is University Professor at Georgetown University. He is also a Professor of Public Policy and Government and co-director of the Center for Research on Children in the U.S. (CROCUS). Dr. Gormley is the author or coauthor of several books, including Everybody’s Children: Child Care as a Public Problem (Brookings, 1995), Organizational Report Cards (Harvard University Press, 1999), and Bureaucracy and Democracy (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2003, 2007, 2011). His book Voices for Children: Rhetoric and Public Policy was published by the Brookings Institution Press in 2012. Dr. Gormley is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a past president of the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association.

For the past fifteen years, Dr. Gormley has directed the Oklahoma pre-K project, which has evaluated the state-funded pre-K program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and his research team have documented substantial gains in prereading, prewriting, and premath skills for children enrolled in the school-based pre-K program in Tulsa. These findings have appeared in the Journal of Human Resources, the Policy Studies Journal, Developmental Psychology, the Social Science Quarterly, Child Development, Science, and elsewhere. The successes of Tulsa’s pre-K program have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the PBS NewsHour, and the CBS Evening News.

At Georgetown, Dr. Gormley served as Interim Dean of Public Policy for two years and was one of the founding members of Georgetown’s day-care center, Hoya Kids.

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