In this book, Martin Carnoy explores the surprising success of the Cuban educational system, where the average elementary school student learns much more than her Latin American peers. In developing the case for Cuba's supportive social context and centralized management of education, Carnoy asks important questions about educational systems in general. How responsible should government be for creating environments that encourage academic achievement? How much autonomy should teachers and schools have over their classrooms? Is there an inherent tradeoff between promoting individual choice and a better system of schooling?
Cuba's Academic Advantage challenges many prevailing views about the effectiveness of educational markets, school and teacher autonomy, decentralized decision-making, and government responsibility for children's social and economic welfare. Drawing on interviews with teachers, principals, and policymakers, as well as hours of videotaped material taken in more than 30 classrooms, this book brings new evidence to bear on controversial educational issues currently under debate in many countries.
About the author
Martin Carnoy is Professor of Education and Economics at Stanford University. He is the author of All Else Equal: Are Private and Public Schools Different (2002), Sustaining the New Economy: Work, Family and Community in the Information Age (2000), and Faded Dreams: The Economics and Politics of Race in America (1994).
"A fascinating study."
"In a fascinating saga employing forensic tools of statistical analysis, interviews, and classroom observation, Martin Carnoy is able to pierce the mystery of how economically impoverished Cuba academically outperforms the rest of Latin America. The results of his detective work provide valuable insights to those who are preoccupied with raising student achievement in the United States."
—Harry M. Levin, Teachers College, Columbia University
"Small, personalized schools staffed by highly trained teachers offering a child-centered education. Long-term relationships between teachers and students. A coherent curriculum organized for conceptual understanding. Strong leadership from principals who focus on instruction and support teacher collaboration. These features of Cuba's educational system sound like the list of reforms that are constantly being urged by educational reformers in the United States. The difference is that in Cuba, these practices have become virtually universal. This powerful book describes the policy system that has created one of the most effective and equitable school systems in the Americas, and provides compelling data from quantitative analyses and vivid observations of schools and classrooms that illustrate how it works. Everyone interested in improving education should read this book."
—-Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University