The Death and Life of the Great American School System

The Death and Life of the Great American School System

How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

Book - 2010
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A passionate plea to preserve and renew public education, The Death and Life of the Great American School System is a radical change of heart from one of America's best-known education experts.

Diane Ravitch--former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum--examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today's most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril.

Ravitch includes clear prescriptions for improving America's schools: leave decisions about schools to educators, not politicians or businessmen devise a truly national curriculum that sets out what children in every grade should be learning expect charter schools to educate the kids who need help the most, not to compete with public schools pay teachers a fair wage for their work, not "merit pay" based on deeply flawed and unreliable test scores encourage family involvement in education from an early age

The Death and Life of the Great American School System is more than just an analysis of the state of play of the American education system. It is a must-read for any stakeholder in the future of American schooling.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2010
ISBN: 9780465014910
Branch Call Number: 370.11 RAV
Characteristics: x, 283 p. ;,25 cm
Alternative Title: American school system


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Jun 04, 2014

A great history of education and how we've come to be in the place we are now.

crankylibrarian Nov 18, 2012

A lucid analysis of the pitfalls of recent educational reform movements. Ravitch, a former member of the Bush administration demonstrates the follies in "choice" and market driven systems which assume that consumer behavior applies to education. Ravitch points out the core flaws in this theory: student "consumers" do not necessarily know how to make the best educational choices, and schools are evaluated on their ability to sell a "product" to many students who are actively hostile to it. Despite some irksome name-dropping and a tendency to repeat the same statements 3 times in a row, this is a valuable read. Media accounts of "miracle" charter schools and aggressive turnarouds often fail to do the necessary follow-up; Ravitch points out that many of these trumpeted interventions have resulted in negligible long term gains, especially for the poor and minority students who need help most.

utahowl Sep 08, 2012

Excellent book for those who want to understand the historical and political background of the current wars over public schools. One might read it over a week or two, because there is a lot of detail in it, and I needed time to absorb all the historical detail of the first 5 chapters, before I could appreciate the review of all the arguments and evidence in Chapters 6-10. I especially appreciated Ravitch's summary of the latest evidence on the results of school choice and on comparing the performance of voucher & charter schools to standard public schools ( if there is such a thing!). The Lessons Learned chapter (11) is important reading - although it's not what we necessarily want to hear (There is no magic feather to make elephants fly!).

Jun 25, 2012

Started June 22, not working today, so a good reading day......June 25, starting page 113, maybe I'm nuts, but I find this riveting, especially after just reading John Taylor Gatto's book "Weapons of Mass Instruction". This book is just confirming the amount of government meddling in the lives of teachers, parents, and students. Apparently "education" is not the goal of schools, "schooling" and the private and political gains from it are the goals! Wow!.....June 28, finished it this morning. Well, Diane certainly seemed to have alot to say about the "Death" of the public schools. I kept reading, to see where she would start telling about the "life" part. In the last chapter, she had alot of things to say, but I'm really not too hopeful that anyone will really listen. Glad I can sit back and watch this drama, without having any stake in it! My, but aren't there billions and billions of dollars (Bill Gates, Walmart!) going into the educational system, but no good coming out! Hmmmm....John Taylor Gatto, you seem to have a few points there!

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