Tue April 27, 2010
"The Death and Life of the Great American School System"
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On this edition of StudioTulsa, we chat by phone with the noted author, education advocate, NYU professor, and former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch. She's written a new book called "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education." At once thorough yet accessible, detailed yet engrossing, this work critiques this country's school reforms of the past few decades while also offering advice as to how we can create actual, meaningful change in our public schools. As a book reviewer for Library Journal has noted: "Ravitch . . . [who has] over 40 years of experience in educational policy, provides an important and highly readable examination of the educational system, how it fails to prepare students for life after graduation, and how we can put it back on track. Ravitch was once a passionate advocate for the conservative policies of testing and accountability, school choice, privatization, and business-style management, all of which she here powerfully shows leave students trained to take tests but not prepared to participate in the 21st-century economy. Changes she suggests include curricula that emphasize what students need to learn over test scores, having professional educators rather than politicians, business leaders, and philanthropists run the system, and using charter schools to help students most in need instead of allowing them to siphon off the best students from public schools. . . . Anyone interested in education should definitely read this accessible, riveting book."