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In Tough Love for Schools, Frederick M Hess calls for policymakers, educators, and citizens to get serious about doing what is needed to refashion American education for the twenty-first century. Taking a tough look at both public schooling and several popular reforms, he explains why pinched definitions of public schooling are unhelpful and offers principles for reform that will create schools that are receptive to initiative, entrepreneurship, and excellence. Hess embraces accountability, competition, and new flexibility but explains how many champions of reforms like accountability and school choice duck hard truths, embrace problematic policies, and undermine their own proposals. Among other topics, Hess proposes new principles by which to define public education in the twenty-first century, calls for largely eliminating the licensure of teachers and administrators, critiques conservative efforts to enlist the civil rights community in the quest for school vouchers, considers why accountability systems often fail and what is needed to make them succeed, and explains why school choice does not produce educational competition but how it can. ideas have been touted by the secretary of education and presented at the White House. This volume will be sure to influence the public debate about education policy.
Something is terribly wrong with America's public school system. For decades, we have seen test scores slide or stagnate (today fewer than twenty percent of our nation's twelfth graders are proficient in math, and our students rank near the bottom in science and math among the industrialized nations of the world) and achievement gaps persist or widen. So who's responsible for the ongoing failure of our education system? In The War Against Hope, former Secretary of Education Rod Paige pulls no punches in his critical analysis of America's crisis in the classroom. Without question, the greatest impediment to meaningful school reform is the enormous, self-aggrandizing power wielded by the teachers' unions. In this vital, well-documented book, Paige takes an unflinching look at the power-hungry union leaders who have consistently placed their ambitions ahead of the needs of the teachers and the students whom they claim to serve. He also traces the history of the National Education Association (NEA) from its humble beginnings as an advocate of education excellence to its early radicalization by left-wing ideology. The War Against Hope is a disturbing account of the corruption, greed, and skewed values that have assaulted our schools, betrayed our teachers, and forsaken our children for far too long.
Dissecting twenty years of educational politics in our nation’s largest cities, American School Reform offers one of the clearest assessments of school reform as it has played out in our recent history. Joseph P. McDonald and his colleagues evaluate the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge—launched in 1994—alongside other large-scale reform efforts that have taken place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They look deeply at what school reform really is, how it works, how it fails, and what differences it can make nonetheless. McDonald and his colleagues lay out several interrelated ideas in what they call a theory of action space. Frequently education policy gets so ambitious that implementing it becomes a near impossibility. Action space, however, is what takes shape when talented educators, leaders, and reformers guide the social capital of civic leaders and the financial capital of governments, foundations, corporations, and other backers toward true results. Exploring these extraordinary collaborations through their lifespans and their influences on future efforts, the authors provide political hope—that reform efforts can work, and that our schools can be made better.
In 2002 the No Child Left Behind Act rocked America's schools with new initiatives for results-based accountability. But years before NCLB was signed, a new movement was already under way by mayors to take control of city schools from school boards and integrate the management of public education with the overall governing of the city. The Education Mayor is a critical look at mayoral control of urban school districts, beginning with Boston's schools in 1992 and examining more than 100 school districts in 40 states. The authors seek to answer four central questions: • What does school governance look like under mayoral leadership? • How does mayoral control affect school and student performance? • What are the key factors for success or failure of integrated governance? • How does mayoral control effect practical changes in schools and classrooms? The results of their examination indicate that, although mayoral control of schools may not be appropriate for every district, it can successfully emphasize accountability across the education system, providing more leverage for each school district to strengthen its educational infrastructure and improve student performance. Based on extensive quantitative data as well as case studies, this analytical study provides a balanced look at America's education reform. As the first multidistrict empirical examination and most comprehensive overall evaluation of mayoral school reform, The Education Mayor is a must-read for academics, policymakers, educational administrators, and civic and political leaders concerned about public education.
A passionate plea to preserve and renew public education, The Death and Life of the Great American School System is a radical change of heart from one of America’s best-known education experts. Diane Ravitch—former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum—examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril. Ravitch includes clear prescriptions for improving America’s schools: leave decisions about schools to educators, not politicians or businessmen devise a truly national curriculum that sets out what children in every grade should be learning expect charter schools to educate the kids who need help the most, not to compete with public schools pay teachers a fair wage for their work, not “merit pay” based on deeply flawed and unreliable test scores encourage family involvement in education from an early age The Death and Life of the Great American School System is more than just an analysis of the state of play of the American education system. It is a must-read for any stakeholder in the future of American schooling.