The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch
How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

92%

10 Critic Reviews

...she remains fiercely committed to high standards, including the teaching of good behavior, but particularly to the Western cultural canon, the common vocabulary essential to all good education and the capable, dedicated teachers who can impart it.
-LA Times

Synopsis

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.
 

About Diane Ravitch

See more books from this Author
Diane Ravitch 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.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by Basic Books. 354 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Young Adult, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Death and Life of the Great American School System
All: 10 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Wolfe on May 14 2010

Ravitch ends with a call for a voluntary national curriculum, and believes that a consensus around better education is possible.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre... | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Glenn Altschuler on Mar 16 2010

...leaves virtually no educational icon unscathed. Despite an impressive and idealistic corps of volunteers, Ravitch cites studies indicating that Teach for America may not improve the quality of education in poor and rural school districts.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre... | See more reviews from NPR

LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Peter Schrag on Feb 28 2010

...she remains fiercely committed to high standards, including the teaching of good behavior, but particularly to the Western cultural canon, the common vocabulary essential to all good education and the capable, dedicated teachers who can impart it.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre... | See more reviews from LA Times

Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Bob Blaisdell on Mar 16 2010

We have to appreciate, though, how clearly and pointedly Ravitch writes, as most of the chapters unfold like first-rate public lectures or lengthy but rather good Op-Ed pieces.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre...

Dallas News

Excellent
Reviewed by Fred Bortz on Apr 25 2010

The subtitle of Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, leaves no mystery about where the New York University and Brookings Institution education policy expert stands.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre...

Slate

Excellent
Reviewed by Sara Mosle on Mar 11 2010

She's arguing for humility...and a healthy skepticism about silver-bullet notions of reform. The dirty dark secret of NCLB is that we may know how to identify the worst performing schools, but no one (yet) knows how to turn them around...

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre...

Forbes

Below average
Reviewed by Chester Finn Jr on Mar 03 2010

I think that, while her analyses of past failures are often spot-on and frequently aligned with my own, her prescription for the future is guided by wishful thinking, nostalgia and unwarranted faith in an antiquated institutional arrangement...

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre... | See more reviews from Forbes

Austin Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by RICHARD WHITTAKER on Sep 28 2012

Instead, she uses cold, hard numbers to expose the Big Lie: that the education reforms of the last two decades – from No Child Left Behind to high-stakes testing and the ongoing...have done much, or anything, to fix American public education.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre...

Washington Monthly

Excellent
Reviewed by Richard Kahlenberg

Throughout her fascinating book, Ravitch appropriately defines the promotion of democratic citizenship as a central mission of public schools, an important corrective to the corporate-driven reformers who focus only on test scores and satisfying "consumers."

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre...

The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Valerie Strauss on Feb 26 2010

Marshaling a mountain of facts that she reported over years, Ravitch tells through riveting stories and sharp analysis why she no longer believes that public schools should be operated like businesses.

Read Full Review of The Death and Life of the Gre...

Reader Rating for The Death and Life of the Great American School System
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 183 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×