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Review on The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch - Book Report/Review Example

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Instructor The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch Diane Ravitch worked as the Assistant Secretary of Education in the early 1990s and effectively was a staunch supporter of the choice and accountability movements on education…
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Book Review on The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch
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"Review on The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch"

Download file to see previous pages Hence, Ravitch feels entitled to explain the reasons she “had returned to her roots as a partisan of American education” (13). In the process of explaining these reasons, Ravitch uses a three-stage process in her analysis. First, she explains the country’s history to a high-stakes testing of the education system. Secondly, she organizes a well-built case on the country’s failure to involve itself actively in the democratic functions of the public education system essentially explaining why a strong curriculum is the bedrock to a country’s success. In the third stage, she presents a thought-provoking case on the “public” slow erosion form the public education system. While assessing the federal education legislation, like the “No Child Left Behind”, she calls such measures high-stakes testing environment responsible to ensuring that every child understood everything taught without considering individual student’s needs. Eventually, Ravitch’s assessment is that the situation paints a scenario whereby education’s concern is on students answering multiple-choice questions rather than focusing on what they learn in class. In addition, she notes that schools in most states in the country focused mostly on teaching mathematics, English, and science albeit occasionally. This focus, she notes, is an area of concern since the nation-wide budget focuses its cuts towards the arts, foreign language, and physical education. It is important to note that, at this particular stage of the book, she fails to give a clear argument. In effect, she leaves the reader with the option of creating a national set of values that are open-minded in nature as they dismiss the characterized curriculum that gives students little room for inspiration and imagination. This is a major flaw in the book in which, Ravitch spends much of her time explaining the problems in the education system while on the other hand; she spends less time to give the solutions. Case in point, she connects the Balanced Literacy movement to the shunning of parents from discussions at the schools in New York’s District 2. In the case of the Balanced Literacy program in New York, she focuses and points out the opposition towards this program set for implementation by the District 2 Superintendent and the support to its expansion by Mayor Bloomberg. Through interviews with education stakeholders, Ravitch captures the powerlessness and futility amongst the parents and the teachers in the implemented program. Although she mainly focuses in New York, to her credit she expands her horizon in the geographical analysis and notes that, the Superintendent’s move to San Diego was a result of the apparent success of the Balanced Literary program. However, she notes that this program was not responsible for the rising scores in District 2. Nevertheless, she notes that the results were a result of the change in the schools demography where, “nearly 90 percent of the new enrollment in District 2 consisted white and Asian students, groups that tend to score higher on standardized exams” (44). In addition, Ravitch captures the situation of hopelessness in all stakeholders participation by Bloomberg’s control of the Board and keeping away any dissenting views and effectively, “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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