What Works May Hurt―Side Effects in Education

by Yong Zhao

Medical products are required to disclose both their intended outcomes and known side effects. Educational policy and practice, however, carry no such labels. Thus, teachers, school leaders, and the public are not told, for example, that “this program helps improve your students’ reading scores, but it may make them hate reading forever,” or that “school choice may improve test scores of some students, but it may lead to the collapse of American public education.”

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In his new book, Yong Zhao, distinguished professor and specialist in education policy, shines a light on the long-ignored phenomenon of side effects of education policies and practices, bringing a fresh and perhaps surprising perspective to evidence-based practices and policies. Identifying the adverse effects of some of the “best” educational interventions with examples from classrooms to boardrooms, the author investigates causes and offers clear recommendations.

This volume will help the field of education to advance beyond the extreme pendulum swings that characterize today’s school reform efforts.