The Knowledge Gap

The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System - and How to Fix It
Narrated by: Natalie Wexler
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The untold story of the root cause of America's education crisis - and the seemingly endless cycle of multigenerational poverty.

It was only after years within the education reform movement that Natalie Wexler stumbled across a hidden explanation for our country's frustrating lack of progress when it comes to providing every child with a quality education. The problem wasn't one of the usual scapegoats: lazy teachers, shoddy facilities, lack of accountability. It was something no one was talking about: the elementary school curriculum's intense focus on decontextualized reading comprehension "skills" at the expense of actual knowledge. In the tradition of Dale Russakoff's The Prize and Dana Goldstein's The Teacher Wars, Wexler brings together history, research, and compelling characters to pull back the curtain on this fundamental flaw in our education system - one that fellow reformers, journalists, and policymakers have long overlooked, and of which the general public, including many parents, remains unaware.

But The Knowledge Gap isn't just a story of what schools have gotten so wrong - it also follows innovative educators who are in the process of shedding their deeply ingrained habits, and describes the rewards that have come along: students who are not only excited to learn but are also acquiring the knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to succeed. If we truly want to fix our education system and unlock the potential of our neediest children, we have no choice but to pay attention.

©2019 Natalie Wexler (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Essential reading for teachers, education administrators, and policymakers alike." (Library Journal starred review)

"Education journalist Wexler mounts a compelling critique of American elementary schools.... An informative analysis of elementary education that highlights pervasive problems." (Kirkus Reviews

"For parents, teachers, and anyone who cares about the potential of education to brighten kids' futures, reading The Knowledge Gap will be an eye-opening experience. Through vivid classroom scenes and stories of would-be reformers, Natalie Wexler exposes a crucial aspect education that is often overlooked: In most American elementary schools, teachers are not given the training and support they need to provide deep, rich content - about history, social studies, science, language and the world around them. And students, especially vulnerable ones, suffer for it.” (Peg Tyre, author of The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Children the Education They Deserve)

"The knowledge gap is real, and its effects are profound. This book offers an accurate, engaging, and clear description of the problem and how to solve it. It’s a must-read for educators, parents and policy makers." (Dr. Judith C. Hochman, founder of The Writing Revolution; co-author, The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades)

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Must Read

This book is a must read for all educators, parents and policy makers. Natalie provides research along with stories from the field that bring the message alive. Highly recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Thoughts on The Knowledge Gap

As a 65 year old retired educator, that employed many of the skills/strategies eschewed in this book, it’s hard to process all this. That said, I admit to developing a “taste” for SoR and found this book extremely illuminating. I realize (now) that this information had been available when I was still working, yet somehow I had never heard it...and I always tried to stay current through professional books & literature. To me, reading with students at their instructional level was “the” strategy I employed for 36 years so all of this information will take a while for me to accept (for now). The other major “reveal” to me was the influence of background knowledge on comprehension. Obviously, I knew its importance but not to the point of infusing a true SS (didn’t see much science) curriculum rather than increasing my LA time. Fascinating. Again, I’m not there (yet) but will further pursue this area of study.
One more point...thank you for putting this on audio (very few books on curriculum, especially Reading/Language Arts are on audio) as I could listen to it while walking...I wish more professional books were on audio. Thank you.

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wow

What an amazing resource! Validated what I know to be good literacy instruction. Will reread.

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teachers, principals, school boards, and superinte

Pretty good and forcing you to think about the why of the classroom. I am skeptical of her silver bullet methodology of fixing the system, but Wexler does a good job of outlining what we are leaving out, and why it matters

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Good but a bit redundant

I really enjoyed this book. I teach pre-ap curriculum that was inspired by Wexler’s Writing Revolution, I find a lot of value in the material. I think that is why a lot of the points in this book resonated with me. However, the anecdotes in the were a bit over the top and felt like they would never end. The felt unnecessary. Her main argument was solid and well developed but some of the filler felt clunky.