First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
"High-stakes state-mandated standardization is rapidly spreading throughout the United States. McNeil examines the widely emulated accountability system in Texas and concludes that it has adverse effects on teaching and learning, stifles democratic discourse, and perpetuates inequities for minority students." -- Kappan June 2000
"The complex narratives in this book are entertaining… McNeil exposes the sameness of education-manifested in standardized tests-as a pseudonym for inequality." -- American School Board Journal, August 2001
" Contradictions of School Reform tackles head-on the issue of race - in particular, the myth that test-based reform is a way to institute higher standards for students of color. . . The beauty of McNeil's book is that she combines a solid theoretical grounding with a close-up of what actually happened in Houston [Texas] schools. . . Next time someone starts spouting about the Texas educational miracle, give that person a copy of McNeil's book." -- Barbara Miner in Progressive , August 2000
"McNeil punctures the myth that test-driven curricula raise the floor of student achievement. She found that Houston's magnet schools and many other classrooms throughout the system compromised higher academic quality by adopting a system to identify bad teachers, a system that forced teachers to divorce their subject knowledge from their classroom lessons." -- Education Review, July 13, 2001.
"McNeil's detailed account clearly shows that the consequences of educational reform in Texas - particulaarly high stakes standardized testing - produced the unintended consequences of deskilling teachers and redefining the education in inner city schools to focus on standardized test taking. This dismantled authentic education and created classrooms in which teachers and students colluded to create lowered educational expectations." -- Teachers College Record', Vol. 104, 2001