"No citizen can afford to ignore this brave book by our premier historian of education.   


     Diane Ravitch shines a bright, corrective light on the exaggerated claims of school reformers on both the left ant the right, and offers an utterly convincing case for abandoning quick fixes in favor of nurturing the minds and hearts of our students from the earliest years with enabling knowledge and value." 

-- E. D. Hirsch. Jr.

     No time to read a 270-page book?  No problem!  Each week A4PEP will post excerpts from this book – highlighting the text and page number for each excerpt.  There are 11 chapters. We will add a chapter each week.  It will be quick and easy reading for you so be sure to check our website each week for the next enlightening chapter of this book.

     She criticizes reformers "for backing teacher evaluations based on student test scores, closing failing schools, and expanding charter schools." Ravitch turned her attention to poverty and racial segregation which she now considers the main causes of low student achievement.

To the book, written in 2010 but still so very relevant today…

Chapter 1

What I Learned About School Reform

Sanctions embedded in NCLB were, in fact, not only ineffective but certain to contribute to the privatization of large chunks of public education.  

   ---   Where once I had been hopeful, even enthusiastic about the potential benefit of testing, accountability, choice and markets, I now found myself experiencing profound doubts about these same ideas.  (p. 1)

   ---   Why did I now doubt ideas I once had advocated?  The short answer is that my views changed as I saw how these ideas were working out in reality.  The long answer is what will follow in the rest of this book. (p.2)

   ---   In education, the belief in market forces lets us ordinary mortals off the hook, especially those who have not figured out how to improve low-performing schools or to break through the lassitude of unmotivated teens.  One need not know anything about children or education.  The lure of the market is the idea that freedom from government regulation is a solution all by itself.  (p.11)


   ---   I grew increasingly disaffected from both the choice movement and the accountability movement.  I concluded that curriculum and instruction were far more important than choice and accountability.  Testing, I realized with dismay, had become a central preoccupation in the schools.  (p.12)


You can also follow Dr. Diane Ravitch on her blog here,

or visit her website here

You can purchase “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” from the publisher here.

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