In closely reported stories from the streets of New York to the seats of intellectual power, MacDonald shows how bad ideas get started and then acquire a life of their own. Her reports trace the transformation of influential opinion-makers and large philanthropic foundations from confident advocates of individual responsibility, opportunity, and learning into apologists for the welfare state. The prevailing orthodoxy of ideas, she finds, has affected our schools with ruinous consequences for our children. While these beliefs have damaged the nation as a whole, she observes, they have hit the poor especially hard. When it comes to urban problems and social policy, The Burden of Bad Ideas is more than a breath of fresh air. It’s a cold shower.
“ . . . MacDonald is, as readers of this volume will discover, indispensable.”—George Will