From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, whistle-blower extraordinaire ("The Wall Street Journal"), author of the best-selling "The Death and Life of the Great American School System"( Important and riveting "Library Journal"), "The Language Police"( Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating "The New York Times"), andother notable books on education history and policy an incisive, comprehensive look at today s American school system that argues against those who claimitis broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
In"Reign of Error," Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroypublic schoolsin this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they ve everbeen, anddropout rates areat their lowest point.
Shearguesthatfederal programs such as George W. Bush s No Child Left BehindandBarack Obama sRace to the Topsetunreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, andresult inteachersbeing firedif their students underperform, unfairly brandingthose educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
"Reign of Error"begins where" The Death and Life of the Great American School System"leftoff, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, andin a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserveand improve it. She makesclear what is right about U.S.education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, andhow we can fix it.
For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, aboutlearning, about developingcharacter, and about creating citizens for our society. It s abouthelping to inspireindependent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school educationis essential to our democracy, andits aim, since the founding of this country, has been toeducatecitizens who will help carry democracy into the future."