"The Twisted Path to the Top," NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS REVIEW by Alan Ryan, November 18, 1999
"What's Wrong With the SAT and Its Elite Progeny ," NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW By CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, October 4, 1999, Late Edition - Final
"The Big Test ," Interview with Nicholas Lemann by David Gergen, McNeil News Hour, November 2,
1999 David Gergen, editor-at-large of U.S. News and World Report, talks with Nicholas Lemann,
staff writer at The New Yorker and author of The Big Test: The Secret History of the
- Nicholas Lemann Biography
- The Structure of Success, by Nicholas Lemann (1995)
An inside look at the history and working of one of the most familiar
yet least public of American institutions -- the Educational Testing
- The Great Sorting, by Nicholas Lemann (1995)
The first mass administrations of a scholastic-aptitude test led with
surprising speed to the idea that the nation's leaders would be the
people who did well on tests.
- Related Article: The Tests and the Brightest, by James Fallows (1980)
Each year some 2.5 million high school students match wits with the
Scholastic Aptitude Tests. The results go a long way toward
determining who gets into the most selective colleges. The tests are the
subject of a growing debate. Do they really discover the best and the
brightest? Or do they chiefly identify the richest and the most
- Education for a Classless Society, by James Bryant Conant (1940)
In an address he delivered at the University of California, Harvard
University President Conant declared, "I look forward to a future
American society in which social mobility is sufficient to keep the
nation in essence casteless -- a society in which the ideals of both
personal liberty and social justice can be maintained -- a society which
through a system of public education resists the distorting pressures of
urbanized, industrialized life."
- The Bell Curve Flattened, by Nicholas Lemann (1997)
Subsequent research has seriously undercut the claims of the
controversial best seller.
- The Good Citizen , by Nicholas Lemann
How our ideals of citizenship are changing
- Lost in Post-Reality, by Nicholas Lemann January 1999
The national entertainment state threatens to transmogrify American life into a soap opera.
- "Ready, Read!" By Nicholas Lemann November 1998
A new solution to the problem of failing public schools is emerging: takeover by outside authorities, who prescribe a standardized field-tested curriculum. This runs counter to our long-standing tradition of autonomy for local schools and teachers, but it works.
- The Reading Wars, by Nicholas Lemann November 1997.
An old disagreement over how to teach children to read -- whole-language versus phonics -- has re-emerged in California, in a new form.
- Race in America, by Nicholas Lemann
- Kicking In Groups, April
Just as intriguing as Robert Putnam's theory that we are "bowling alone" --
that the bonds of civic association are dissolving -- is how readily the
theory has been accepted.
- The Great Sorting,
The first mass administrations of a scholastic-aptitude test led with surprising
speed to thd idea that the nation's leaders would be the people who did well
- The Structure of Success in
America, August 1995
In America perhaps only race is a more sensitive subject than the
way we sort ourselves out in the struggle for success. At the center
of that struggle are higher education and ETS, the Educational
Testing Service. Herewith an inside look at the history and
workings of one of the most familiar yet least public of American institutions.
Black Nationalism on Campus, January 1993.
Conversations with students at Penn and Temple show that black
nationalism and assimilation are not the opposites they appear to be.
- The Other
Underclass, December 1991
Most people think of inner-city poverty as a black phenomenon. But it is
also alarmingly high among Puerto Ricans, the worst-off ethnic group in
the country--even though Puerto Rico itself has made great progress
against poverty and there is a growing Puerto Rican middle-class on the
- The Unfinished War [Part 1],
A product of the conflicting ambitions of the men who shaped it, the War
on Poverty was ill-fated--but its fate need not be that of all anti-poverty
- The Unfinished War [Part 2],
An inside look at how personal enmity, political calculation, and policy
misjudgments prevented any effective prosecution of the War on Poverty
by either Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon.
- The Origins of the
Underclass [Part 1], June 1986
The flight of middle-class blacks from ghettos has left a disastrously
isolated underclass--one formed less by welfare or a lack of jobs than by
its rural-South heritage.
- The Origins of the Underclass
[Part 2], July 1986
Black urban ghettos are poorer and more isolated today than they have ever
been. The question remaining is how to reverse the effects of what has
become a self-sustaining culture.
- The Campaign
Doctors, October 1985
"For many years there was a strong argument political reporters could
make to justify their surrender to the tides pulling them into the day-to day
details of campaign strategy: these were in fact what mattered most. The
presidential elections of the fifties, sixties, and seventies were seen as
essentially non-ideological. When two centrists ran, it was close; when a
true believer like Barry Goldwater or George McGovern got into the race,
it was a runaway. So the pros' vantage point was the best one from which
to view an election: how well they did their jobs really would determine