Some 12 studies have come out in the last few years dealing with the state of the nation's educational system. The points of view expressed and the diagnoses and recommendations offered are discussed in the essays presented in this book. Despite some redundancy, there is enough to give the interested reader a grasp of not only the educational issues but the political, economic and philosophical underpinnings that have made education policy a perennial political football. The contributors include some heavyweights--Ernest Boyer, former national tsar of education, Paul Peterson of the Brookings Institute, Dean Hugh Petrie and other educational experts. The studies criticized, whether they be liberal or conservative, continue debating many of the classic issues. Is education for everyone or for only the well-equipped and well-prepared? Should people be trained to think critically and to be discriminating, or should the school be part of a conveyor belt in the total business/production cycle, turning out bodies for the jobs available in an increasingly service-oriented economy? Technology vs. Humanism? Must we choose? Race, gender, class, teacher/student cultures, pay, work-load and, of course, excellence are covered and re-covered. This book will bring you up to speed on what the controversy is all about. Some essays are insightful and occasionally daring in their analyses. America's public schools are based on the military and factory model and some writers do not see them changing very much. For all the fervid interest in excellence, the feeling intuits itself here on occasion that this, too is just another frivolous hype. Some contributors come close to saying as much, but since they themselves are part and parcel of the system, they value discretion more than the risky exposure of a hoax.