Paul Thomas here describes how Mick Zais, state superintendent of South Carolina, misleads the public about the condition of education in his state, about how schools succeed, and what is needed to help them improve.

Having found a high-poverty district that has higher-than-expected test scores, Zais uses this district to push the corporate reform agenda: Success is all about merit pay and “no excuses.”

A great teacher can supply 18 months of “knowledge” in only one academic year, as measured by standardized tests, which we know are great ways to assess “knowledge.”

This is the usual reformy nonsense, which has never stood up to scrutiny.

Paul Thomas taught high school for 18 years in South Carolina and is now preparing teachers at Furman University in South Carolina.

He is an amazingly prolific scholar, and his deep experience informs his scholarship.