Standardized Education: Moving America to the Right

In Standardized Education: Moving America to the Right, Arthur Lieber argues that as our schools have become more standardized and conservative, our body politic has done the same.  He calls for humanizing our schools with less emphasis on standardized tests and more on field trips and other activities that interest and engage students.  Less time needs to be spent on memory and rote; more on critical thinking and creativity.

If we want a society which is more empathetic to the plight of the less fortunate as most progressives do, we need to make our schools more humane and encourage cooperation and collaboration as well as competition.

Arthur Lieber has taught and been in the field of education for over 40 years.  His politics have consistently been progressive which he thinks is a logical outgrowth of critical thinking.  In 2010, he ran for Congress as a Democrat in Missouri’s Second District.  He did so only after no other candidate filed because he felt that Democrats in the district deserved a candidate for whom to vote.  Running for office provided him with an opportunity to try to elevate the level of civil conversation in politics.  While he lost the race, he was able to stay true to his basic principles.  You can read about it in his book that followed the campaign, An Unlikely Candidate.

We welcome on-line conversation about the ideas in the book.  For that reason we have created a blog associated with this web site.  For starters, let’s open discussion on the topics below.  If you would like to suggest topics, please e-mail me at

  1. Are our schools too rigid and structured?  If so, what can be done to change that?
  2. Do you think that there is a correlation between conservative schools and a conservative body politic?
  3. What are your thoughts about the “News School” suggested in Chapter 13?
  4. Are school board elections becoming too expensive and exclusive?

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