Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School

By Rowena Itchon, Lance T. Izumi, and Sally Pipes

Not as Good as You Think shatters the myth that “good” schools are in “nice” neighborhoods. Using data on school performance and interviews with parents, students, principals, and school reformers, Not as Good as You Think confirms parents’ silent fear: that their financial sacrifice and investment in an expensive home in a “good” school district is not yielding the achievement results needed to get their kids into good colleges and good jobs.

Rowena M. Itchon is vice president for marketing at the Pacific Research Institute. Prior to joining PRI, she was a senior editor at Regnery Publishing in Washington, D.C.. Her experience in public policy and government includes speechwriter for former California governor Pete Wilson and former chairman of the SEC Richard Breeden. She was a researcher with the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting during the Reagan Administration. Itchon holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from the University of Southern California.

Lance T. Izumi is the Senior Fellow in California Studies and director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRI), California’s premier free-market public policy think tank. He is the author of several major PRI studies, including “Putting Education to the Test: A Value-Added Model for California” (2004), the “California Education Report Card: Index of Leading Education Indicators” (1997, 2000 and 2003 editions), and “They Have Overcome: High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools in California” (2002).

Sally C. Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute and expert on health care and economic issues. A former Canadian, and a refugee from Canada’s government-run health care system, she lives in California, is a frequent guest on network and cable news shows, and is a regular columnist for