Dec 4, 2013
Facing the Beast: What Broke American Education?
Posted on Sep 20, 2013
Beyond problems with funding, which we pointed out earlier Friday, public schools also are being pulled in opposite directions by those who believe in community-focused ways of improving the education system, and those who think it ought to be done by test score-driven reforms. At the New York Review of Books, Columbia University professor and author Andrew Delbanco offers an essay review of two recent books that lay bare the conflict.
One of the books, “Radical: Fighting to Put Students First,” is by Michelle Rhee, the darling of the reform movement, who has parlayed her mixed experience running the Washington, D.C., school system into a national platform. The other is “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools” by Diane Ravitch, who, much like Arianna Huffington, had a mid-career turn of political views and now finds significant fault with the “No Child Left Behind” approach to education that she once espoused.
Look at Rhee and Ravitch as locked in a verbal cage fight over the future of public education—and of the root causes of its problems. As Delbanco writes:
Then there’s Ravitch who is “outraged by the persistence of poverty and its terrible effects: low birth weight with the associated risks of cognitive deficit, asthma, and the neurological effects of lead poisoning, among other debilitating conditions.” Delbanco notes that this fall children in Chicago’s violence-plagued south side walk to school under police protection from a raging gang war.
If you’re scoring this fight at home, the point goes to Ravitch.
—Posted by Scott Martelle.
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