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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.

Tony

New Report Calls for New Initiatives in Graduate Education!

Dear Commons Colleagues,

Over the past year, we have read about the need for opening up community college opportunities for students in order for the United States to remain globally competitive.  Initiatives by the Obama administration and the Gates Foundation have put community college completion in the education spotlight.  Here is a  recently released report that calls for a major new initiative for graduate education to maintain U.S. competitiveness and innovation. The report concludes that the country must adopt a national strategy to increase degree completion and broaden participation in graduate education, or risk losing its position as the world leader in cutting-edge research and innovation.

The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States calls on the federal government, universities and industry to work together to ensure that U.S. graduate schools remain preeminent and that a growing number of U.S. citizens begin and complete graduate degree programs. The Commission on the Future of Graduate Education is a joint effort of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and Educational Testing Service (ETS). The 18-member Commission includes university and industry leaders.

Tony