EDUCATION

The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice

All Points. Aug. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781250200372. $28.99. ED
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In his first book, acclaimed progressive essayist deBoer shares his uniquely informed insights into America’s education system, including what works and what is broken. Growing up in an academic family and eventually joining academia himself, deBoer asserts that schools are “engines of inequality” whose purpose is to feed graduates into a “system of meritocratic capitalism.” One repeated criticism is that schools fail to acknowledge variances in students’ cognitive abilities. The author provides a thorough review of topics that may (or may not) contribute to academic success, such as school quality and choice, race and ethnicity, the home environment, and genetics. Additionally, he describes education research and funding and previous attempts to overhaul the education system, as well as plenty of opportunities for possible reform, not all of which are related to education. The book is unapologetically left-leaning and reads like an essay, yet all statistics and claims shared are supported by credible sources and case studies for those wishing to dig further.
VERDICT A solid addition for those dismayed by the inequities of the education system and looking to effect change.

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