From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, whistle-blower extraordinaire ("The Wall Street Journal"), author of the best-selling "The Death and Life of the Great American School System"( Important and riveting "Library Journal"), "The Language Police"( Impassioned .Read more...
From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, whistle-blower extraordinaire ("The Wall Street Journal"), author of the best-selling "The Death and Life of the Great American School System"( Important and riveting "Library Journal"), "The Language Police"( Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating "The New York Times"), andother notable books on education history and policy an incisive, comprehensive look at today s American school system that argues against those who claimitis broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
In"Reign of Error," Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroypublic schoolsin this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they ve everbeen, anddropout rates areat their lowest point.
Shearguesthatfederal programs such as George W. Bush s No Child Left BehindandBarack Obama sRace to the Topsetunreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, andresult inteachersbeing firedif their students underperform, unfairly brandingthose educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
"Reign of Error"begins where" The Death and Life of the Great American School System"leftoff, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, andin a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserveand improve it. She makesclear what is right about U.S.education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, andhow we can fix it.
For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, aboutlearning, about developingcharacter, and about creating citizens for our society. It s abouthelping to inspireindependent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school educationis essential to our democracy, andits aim, since the founding of this country, has been toeducatecitizens who will help carry democracy into the future."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Ravitch (The Death and Life of the Great American School System) offers a vital nonpartisan critique of the policies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the school privatization movement. Backed by abundant data, she distinguishes between these policies and their enactment, which demands that students master achievement tests, while educators face decreased funding, firings, and school closures. Meanwhile, unprecedented amounts of tax dollars flow into private charter school chains. Ravitch convincingly analyzes the rhetoric of Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, and other private/public school-choice advocates, whose campaigns and lobbying efforts for charter schools have created a network of corporations funneling millions of earmarked educational dollars into administrative salaries, rents, test-prep consultants, and textbook publishers. As Ravitch argues, the mission of public education—preparing young people to take part in a democracy—cannot be fulfilled by competition between private corporations and public schools to increase test scores in reading and math at the expense of other subjects. Her practical solutions include a return to localized school control, early-childhood education for all, better teacher training, mentoring, and retention, as well as better achievement metrics for students and teachers. Categorizing current policy as “educational malpractice,” Ravitch concludes with the suggestion that “protecting our public schools against privatization and saving them for future generations of American children is the civil rights issue of our time.” 41 graphs. Agent: Glen Hartley, Writers’ Representatives. (Sept.)