The Death and Life of the Great American School System
- How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
- Narrated by: Eliza Foss
- Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 03-05-12
- Language: English
- Publisher: Writers' Representatives LLC
Regular price: $24.95
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The bipartisan No Child Left Behind program ("NCLB") implemented with a heavy political hand nationwide, has failed to improve education. It has turned our schools into testing factories to train children how to take standardized tests instead of giving them the knowledge and skills that are necessary components of a good education. The federal "sanctions" and "remedies" now mandated nationwide have unfairly stigmatized thousands of schools, putting them at risk of being closed and privatized.
The "miracles" touted by districts under the new policies vanish on close examination. Test scores in many states and districts are inflated by statistical game-playing and lowered standards. The over-emphasis on testing has all but eliminated the essential elements of a solid education, including history, civics, science, the arts, geography, literature, physical education, health education, and foreign languages. Privatization and deregulation has led predictably to some good and some bad but, on average, charters do not get better results than regular public schools-just new federal subsidies. Teacher evaluation by student test scores is a deeply flawed approach to hiring and job tenure that is driving good teachers out of public education.
The future of public education is at stake. A democratic society needs a healthy, vibrant public education system with good public schools in every neighborhood. On our current course, the schools will be privatized, deregulated, and turned over to entrepreneurs. Based on a careful review of the evidence, Ravitch says that this course of action is unlikely to improve American education.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By NYNM on 05-14-12
Good content excellent narrator
I originally read this in hardcover and found Ravitch gives a detailed, well-thought-out and valuable critique of new "educational initiative." However, the highest credit goes to Eliza Foss who is superb at narrating a relatively dry text, filled with facts, statistics, etc. I am impressed at how well she aries her voice and holds the listeners interest in the fact based non-fiction work.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Mark on 12-12-12
Finally, a reality check on teaching and learning
If you could sum up The Death and Life of the Great American School System in three words, what would they be?
Realistic, Refreshing, Thought-provoking
What did you like best about this story?
Exposing the politics of education, sharing the important role that demographics play in learning, describing the real-life challenges that educators face, the sequence of the story.
Which scene was your favorite?
The chapters on District 1 in NYC and the part about the failure of the San Diego public schools that recruited the business person to be their superintendent.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The author's admission that she was caught up in the accountability movement associated with NCLB and her revelation that the system is flawed and that it disadvantages low-wealth schools.
Any additional comments?
Great book for policy makers and educators!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful