Dumbing Down Our Kids Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add

Charles J. Sykes

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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Charles Sykes asks why current graduates seem less well-read and less well-spoken, less knowledgeable and less able to compute, and lays most of the blame at the feet of the trainers of teachers, the writers of textbooks and the educational policy wonks who influence them. He convincingly shows that in many different school systems, and in many different academic fields, with the help of goofy text-books, watered-down requirements and "recentered" test grade scales, American students have come to value feeling good about a subject over being good in it. Sykes's recommended reforms include abolishing the federal Department of Education and its state counterparts, abolishing undergraduate schools of education, establishing more alternative routes to teacher certification, and merit raises for good teachers.


Praise for Dumbing Down Our Kids

"Definitive . . . This excellent book shows us . . . who has undertaken the project of deliberately dumbing down the curriculum; the reasons they give for it and the real reasons."—Joseph Adelson, The Wall Street Journal

"Intelligent and devastating . . . Brings together every aspect of the current disaster . . . all in clear, well-researched detail."—The Boston Globe

"A very important book."—The Washington Post Book World

"A spirited call-to-arms . . . Sykes asks brave questions."—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A scathing critique that grabs America's educational establishment by the scruff and shakes it . . . Parents and visionary educators, if not educrats, should sit up and take notice."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Charles J. Sykes

  • Charles Sykes is the author of three previous books, ProfScam, The Hollow Man, and A Nation of Victims. He is senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • Charles J. Sykes no credit
    Charles J. Sykes