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Books  >>  Education

Diane Ravitch

Reign of Error

Diane Ravitch Reign Of Error The Hoax Of The Privatization Movement And The Da
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Series:

Vintage

Biographical note:

Diane Ravitch was born in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the Houston public schools, Wellesley College, and Columbia University. She is a research professor of education at New York University. She was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and 2001. Ravitch is the author of ten previous books. In 2011, she received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Ravitch lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Excerpt from book:

CHAPTER 2

The Context for Corporate Reform
 
Federal law and policy turned the education reform movement of the twenty-first century into a powerful force that no school or district dared to ignore.
 
Since the publication in 1983 of a report called A Nation at Risk, federal and state policy makers have searched for policy levers with which to raise academic performance. That report was the product of a commission—called the National Commission on Excellence in Education—appointed by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The commission warned that the nation was endangered by “a rising tide of mediocrity” in the schools; it pointed to the poor standing of American students on international tests, a recurring phenomenon since the first international test was offered in the mid-1960s. Its basic claim was that the American standard of living was threatened by the loss of major manufacturing industries—such as automobiles, machine tools, and steel mills—to other nations, which the commission attributed to the mediocre quality of our public educational system; this claim shifted the blame from shortsighted corporate leadership to the public schools. The commission called for better curriculum standards, higher graduation requirements, better teacher training, higher teacher pay, and other customary improvements. The commission said very little about testing, account- ability, and choice.
 
The first Bush administration, in which I served, had little appetite for an expanded federal role in education. It announced a program called America 2000, which relied mainly on voluntarism since a Democratic Congress would not consider any education bills sponsored by President George H. W. Bush. Congressional Democrats in the early 1990s wanted greater resources and greater equity in public schools, not standards and tests. The Clinton administration liked the idea of national standards and national testing, but when Republicans took control of Congress in 1995, that idea died. The administration settled for a program called Goals 2000, which offered money to states to set their own standards and tests.
 
Along came the George W. Bush administration in 2001, which proposed sweeping federal legislation called No Child Left Behind (NCLB). On the campaign trail, Bush spoke of “the Texas miracle,” claiming that testing and accountability had led to startling improvements in student performance. He said that test scores and graduation rates were up, and the achievement gap was narrowing, thanks to the Texas reforms. We now know that there was no such miracle; Texas made some increases on federal tests, like many other states, but its students register at the national average, nowhere near the top. In 2001, no one listened to those who warned that the “Texas miracle” was an illusion.1 Congress swiftly passed the law, which dramatically changed the federal role in education.
 
The law declared that all states must test every child annually in grades 3 through 8 in reading and mathematics and report test scores by race, ethnicity, low-income status, disability statusREIGN OF ERROR
 
“Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error takes the myths surrounding public education head on and provides her readers with logic and reasoning sorely missing from the current debate.  Diane is a fierce warrior against the so-called reformers whose ideology exacerbates the problems of poverty and inequity.  Reign of Error takes on each of the common myths and blows them up with the reformers’ own holy grail – DATA!! Data that disputes the miracle schools, the effects of poverty and myth of the dropout factors. Ravitch also takes on the Billionaire Boys Club with swipes at their handmaidens of destruction, including Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, and Wendy Kopp, and the book provides the solutions that will change the trajectory away from so-called destructive innovation towards equitable, high quality education for all children.”                                                                                          
—Karen GJ Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union

“American educational reformers have fashioned a narrative that has become so pervasive that it has effectively silenced alternative accounts.  In this courageous book Diane Ravitch persuasively challenges both the narrative's presentation and analysis of data and its underlying value system.”
—Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education,
 Harvard Graduate School of Education
 
 
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM
 

“Ravitch is our best living historian of education. In my view she is the best ever.”
—Jay Mathews, WashingtonPost.com
 
“For readers on all sides of the school-reform debate, this is a very important book.”
Booklist, starred
 
“No citizen can afford to ignore this brave book by our premier historian of education.
—E. D. Hirsch, Jr., author of Cultural Literacy, The Schools We Need, and The Making of Americans

“Diane Ravitch is the rarest of scholars—one who reports her findings and conclusions, even when they go against conventional wisdom and even when they counter her earlier, publicly espoused positions. A ‘must’ read for all who truly care about American education.”
—Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education,
 Harvard Graduate School of Education


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