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Analysis and Commentary

The Rise (and Fall?) of the Public School

by Paul E. Petersonvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, November 8, 1999

Two seminal events transformed the educational institutions of the West—the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in 1455 and the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

Bilingual Education: A Critique

by Peter J. Duignanvia Analysis
Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Bilingual education has been a subject of national debate since the 1960s. This essay traces the evolution of that debate from its origin in the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Bilingual Education Act (1968), which decreed that a child should be instructed in his or her native tongue for a transitional year while she or he learned English but was to transfer to an all-English classroom as fast as possible. These prescriptions were ignored by bilingual enthusiasts; English was neglected, and Spanish language and cultural maintenance became the norm.

Bilingual education was said to be essential for the purposes of gaining a new sense of pride for the Hispanics and to resist Americanization. The Lau v. Nichols (1974) decision stands out as a landmark on the road to bilingual education for those unable to speak English: bilingual education moved away from a transitional year to a multiyear plan to teach children first in their home language, if it was not English, before teaching them in English. This facilitation theory imprisoned Spanish speakers in classrooms where essentially only Spanish was taught, and bilingual education became Spanish cultural maintenance with English limited to thirty minutes a day. The essay discusses the pros and cons of bilingual education.

Criticism of bilingual education has grown as parents and numerous objective analyses have shown it was ineffective, kept students too long in Spanish-only classes, and slowed the learning of English and assimilation into American society. High dropout rates for Latino students, low graduation rates from high schools and colleges have imprisoned Spanish speakers at the bottom of the economic and educational ladder in the United States.

This revolt, the defects of bilingual education, and the changes needed to restore English for the Children are covered in the essay. The implications of Proposition 227 abolishing bilingual education in California are also discussed.

Affirmative Action in Higher Education: A Dilemma of Conflicting Principles

by John H. Bunzelvia Analysis
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

As a university president in the 1970s (San Jose State) and then as a researcher and writer, Bunzel's long involvement with affirmative action in higher education has led him to conclude that the troubling issues of race and equality cannot be reduced to the easy categories of "right" versus "wrong." He objects to such moral absolutism (also reflected in California's Proposition 209) because it denies legitimacy to the inevitable complexities and nuances inherent in what he regards as a many-sided problem. Affirmative action in college admissions, he argues, must ultimately be viewed in relation to other competing principles and in light of many practical problems.

In trying to balance different claims and interests within a "theory of limits," Bunzel believes a more useful way to think about affirmative action is in terms of a "social contribution theory of universities." Thus he asks (among other questions), "Is some degree of race consciousness never defensible?" He does not think there is only one morally correct answer. Acknowledging that race has too often been considered excessively and sub rosa, he rejects both of the ideologically pure extremes--namely, that anything that overcomes the disadvantages of race is acceptable and that taking race into account is never appropriate under any circumstances.

Reengineering College Student Financial Aid

via Analysis
Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Our society continues to assign considerable value to higher education and, for the most part, desires to have it in the reach of deserving students. Differences arise, however, over the definition of deserving and who should pay for that education. When limited financial resources are available from government as well as from the private sector, student financial aid resources must be used efficiently. The congressional elections of 1994 and 1996 seem to indicate that the majority of the electorate desires to downsize big government, with its bureaucracy and red tape, and to bring decisions on policy and resource utilization closer to the affected populations and the taxpayers who must finance them.

The model presented in this essay seeks to assign to the three sources of student financial aid--the federal government, state governments, and the institutional and private sector--responsibility for helping to fund specific college costs that students and their parents cannot pay. The roles stipulated in the model for federal and state government adhere to the provisions of the United States Constitution. More than $50 billion is awarded each year in student financial aid; $35 billion of that comes from the federal treasury so federal programs receive particular attention.

Reducing the multiplicity of federal student aid programs will certainly be challenged by those who fear that their largesse from Washington will diminish. Resistance to the changes proposed in this essay can be expected, including the argument that these programs have worked well over time and simply need more funding to make them even better. This essay presents what it is hoped are compelling reasons for reengineering all student financial aid now. The changes will bring about greater effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

Williamson M. Evers

Hoover fellow appointed to Academic Content Standards Commission

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bill Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Institution’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, has been appointed to the California Academic Content Standards Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The commission evaluates the national Common Core State Standards for statewide adoption and makes recommendations to the California State Board of Education on any adjustments to ensure that California’s rigorous standards are maintained.

News
Paul Hill and Paul Peterson, Hoover fellows and members of the K-12 Education Task Force, discussed their newest books

School choice: From theory to action

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Paul Hill and Paul Peterson, Hoover fellows and members of the K-12 Education Task Force, discussed their latest books (Learning as We Go: Why School Choice is Worth the Wait by Hill and Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning by Peterson) with members of the education policy community in Washington D.C. Cosponsored by the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, the event was held at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

News
American Education in 2030

Hoover’s Education Task Force Releases E-Book That Looks Ahead

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Stanford

Ranging far afield from its usual analytic research, the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force on K-12 Education today released a new e-book, American Education 2030. This e-book takes a peek at what American education will look like by 2030—when today’s babies will be in college and entering the workforce.

Press Releases
Terry M. Moe

Are teachers’ unions to blame for America’s failing schools?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Terry Moe is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a member of the Institution’s Koret Task Force on K–12 education, and the William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Moe participates in a debate on Intelligence Squared concerning whether teachers’ unions shielding teachers who do their jobs poorly are to blame for America’s failing schools.

News

Hoover’s task force members add engaging ideas and insight to debate

Friday, March 12, 2010

The New York Times blog “Room for Debate,” which solicits commentary from experts for a “running commentary on the news,” has tapped members of Hoover’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education and Hoover’s Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law to participate in recent forums.

News
Advancing Student Achievement by Herbert Walberg.

Hoover Press: Advancing Student Achievement, by Herbert Walberg

Monday, March 8, 2010
Stanford

How do students learn? How can family, classrooms, and school practices help them learn more?

Press Releases

Pages

K-12 Education Task Force

 
The K–12 Education Task Force focuses on education policy as it relates to government provision and oversight versus private solutions (both within and outside the public school system) that stress choice, accountability, and transparency.

CREDO at Stanford University