Tested by Linda Perlstein
One American School Struggles to Make the Grade

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The pressure is on at schools across America. In recent years, reforms such as No Child Left Behind have created a new vision of education that emphasizes provable results, uniformity, and greater attention for floundering students. Schools are expected to behave more like businesses and judged almost solely on the bottom line: test scores.

To see if this world is producing better students, Linda Perlstein immersed herself in a suburban Maryland elementary school. The resulting portrait -- detailed, human, and truly thought-provoking -- is marked by the same narrative gifts and expertise that made Not Much Just Chillin' so illuminating.

The school, once deemed a failure, is now held up as an example of reform done right. Perlstein explores the rewards and costs of that transformation, through the experiences of the people who lived it. Nine-year-olds meditate to activate their brains before exams and kindergartners write paragraphs. Teachers attempt to address diverse needs at the same time they are expected to follow daily scripts, and feel compelled to focus on topics that will be tested at the expense of those that won't. The principal attempts to keep it all together, in the face of immense challenges.

Perlstein provides the first detailed view of how new education policies are modified by human realities. Tested will be talked about, thought about, written about -- and will almost certainly play an important role in the national debate as the federal education law come up for renewal.

About Linda Perlstein

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Linda Perlstein spent six years covering education for The Washington Post and is the author of the acclaimed Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers. She speaks nationwide to educators and parents. She grew up in Milwaukee and now lives with her husband in Baltimore and western Virginia.
Published July 24, 2007 by Henry Holt and Co.. 326 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Tested

Daily Kos

When I set out in 2005 to write a book about how the standards and testing movement had changed the lives of children and teachers, I knew I needed to write about an impoverished elementary school in an affluent district.

Jul 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Tested: One American School S...

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