Synopses & Reviews
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.
Award-winning author, public intellectual, and former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch critiques a lifetimes worth of school reforms and reveals the simpleyet difficulttruth about how we can create actual change in public schools
In her critically acclaimed national best seller, Diane Ravitch examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once fiercely defended. Evaluating wildly popular ideas for restructuring schools, including charter schools and testing, she explains why they have had no positive impact on the quality of American education.
About the Author
is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. President Clinton appointed her to the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees federal testing. She is the author or editor of over twenty books, including The Language Police
and Left Back
, and her articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. A native of Houston, Ravitch graduated from the Houston public schools, Wellesley College, and Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.