Review of Berliner & Biddle "The Manufactured Crisis"


  • Lawrence C. Stedman State University of New York-Binghamton



Book Review, Academic Achievement, Achievement Gains, Achievement Tests, Conservatism, Educational History, Educational Trends, Elementary and Secondary Education, International Education, International Studies, Performance Factors, Political Attitudes


In a provocative new book, The Manufactured Crisis, David Berliner and Bruce Biddle make four sweeping claims about U.S. achievement: there never was a test score decline, today's students are "out-achieving their parents substantially" (p. 33), U.S. students "stack up very well" in international assessments (p. 63), and the general education crisis is a right-wing fabrication. As a progressive, I'm sympathetic to their concerns, but as a scholar who specializes in this material, I find their analysis deeply flawed and misleading. They mischaracterize the test score decline data, mishandle the international findings, and fail to acknowledge students' continuing low levels of academic achievement.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Lawrence C. Stedman, State University of New York-Binghamton

Lawrence C. Stedman is Associate Professor of Education at the State University of New York at Binghamton. His Ph.D. is from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in Educational Policy Studies with a minor in Sociology. He has worked as a school district policy analyst, secondary school teacher, VISTA volunteer, and educational researcher. He has a keen interest in equal opportunity and school reform. His dissertation and early articles centered on effective schools research and the reform reports of the early 1980s. He has helped evaluate ESL, minority achievement, merit pay, and dropout intervention programs. More recently, his research has focused on the general condition of education and its implications for policy-making. He has written articles on the test score decline, literacy trends, the international assessments, and the Sandia Report. He is currently investigating historical trends in students' and adults' general knowledge. It is the outgrowth of a book he helped author with Carl Kaestle and others on the history of the U.S. reading public (Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading Since 1880, Yale University Press, 1991). This new research has been funded by a SUNY Faculty Research Grant and Fellowship and by a National Academy of Education Spencer Foundation post-doctoal fellowship.




How to Cite

Stedman, L. C. (1996). Review of Berliner & Biddle "The Manufactured Crisis". Education Policy Analysis Archives, 4, 1.




Most read articles by the same author(s)