Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality

(New York: Crown Forum, 2008.)

Summary from Publisher:

“The most talked-about education book this semester.” —New York Times

From the author of Coming Apart, and based on a series of controversial Wall Street Journal op-eds, this landmark manifesto gives voice to what everyone knows about talent, ability, and intelligence but no one wants to admit. With four truths as his framework, Charles Murray, the bestselling coauthor of The Bell Curve, sweeps away the hypocrisy, wishful thinking, and upside-down priorities that grip America’s educational establishment.

• Ability varies. Children differ in their ability to learn, but America’s educational system does its best to ignore this.

• Half of the children are below average. Many children cannot learn more than rudimentary reading and math. Yet decades of policies have required schools to divert resources to unattainable goals.

• Too many people are going to college. Only a fraction of students struggling to get a degree can profit from education at the college level.

• America’s future depends on how we educate the academically gifted. It is time to start thinking about the kind of education needed by the young people who will run the country.