Diane Ravitch’s New Book – The Death and Life of the Great American School System

Dear Commons Colleagues,

In early March, I posted on this blog a reference to a brief story that appeared in the NY Times describing how Diane Ravitch had made a major change in her thinking regarding school reform.   (see:  Ravitch Post )

Dr. Ravitch had been a staunch champion of a number of education policies related to school choice, charter schools, standards and testing. Earlier this year she reversed her position and now sees school choice and standardized testing as ringing the death knell for American public education. Her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, is a more extensive treatment of her present views. In Chapter I, in responding to why her views have changed, she referred to the economist, John Maynard Keynes, who had reversed himself on a major economic policy as follows: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” I have finished four chapters and so far it is good read and an important contribution to the school reform discussion.   Chapter Four on the New York City Public School System under Chancellor Joel Klein may be of particular interest to readers of this blog.


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