Given their convictions about the severity of the
constraints facing schools, both Murray and Rothstein have a
defeatist attitude about school reform efforts.
The argument that schools face constraints, whether
cognitive or social, that significantly hinder progress has
some superficial plausibility to it.
Rothstein argues that “the influence of social class
characteristics is probably so powerful that schools cannot
overcome it, no matter how well trained are their teachers
and no matter how well designed are
their instructional programs and climates.” It is only a
slight exaggeration to say that Rothstein views demography as
destiny, at least in the aggregate.