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Download The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Diane Ravitch
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (19 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Diane Ravitch Narrator: Eliza Foss Publisher: Writers' Representatives LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN:
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In this best-selling expose of national policy gone wrong, America's foremost historian of education, Diane Ravitch, renounces her support for reform policies implemented over the past decade that she says are wrecking America's cherished tradition of public education. Strategies like accountability schemes based on questionable standardized tests, merit pay for teachers based on gains on the same unreliable tests, vouchers, and charter schools have been oversold as solutions for our educational problems. Policymakers pushing a market model of reform and charter schools are on the wrong track, ignoring classroom realities. The more they push these policies, Ravitch says, the more they will harm our nation's school system and undermine the quality of education.

The bipartisan No Child Left Behind program (NCLB) implemented with a heavy political hand nationwide, has failed to improve education. It has turned our schools into testing factories to train children how to take standardized tests instead of giving them the knowledge and skills that are necessary components of a good education. The federal sanctions and remedies now mandated nationwide have unfairly stigmatized thousands of schools, putting them at risk of being closed and privatized.

The miracles touted by districts under the new policies vanish on close examination. Test scores in many states and districts are inflated by statistical game-playing and lowered standards. The over-emphasis on testing has all but eliminated the essential elements of a solid education, including history, civics, science, the arts, geography, literature, physical education, health education, and foreign languages. Privatization and deregulation has led predictably to some good and some bad but, on average, charters do not get better results than regular public schools-just new federal subsidies. Teacher evaluation by student test scores is a deeply flawed approach to hiring and job tenure that is driv... Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April Helms | 2/19/2014

    " A very depressing book. Ravitch, who once supported the concept of national testing and No Child Left Behind, speaks out against such philosophies in her book as time passed and they proved ineffective. She divides the issues -- testing, restructuring the schools, charter schools and how they are set up now, relying on grants and funds from a few powerful men to set educational change -- by chapter. The book is easy to follow and the data seems concrete and supported. There were few surprises in here, although the impact of the charter schools on the nation's Catholic schools was surprising to me. I guess the depressing thing is that the bulk of her arguments have been what educators and those who follow education have been saying for the past several years. I do have to give Ravitch credit for admitting she was wrong. Her solutions at the end make for a good start, but aren't anything concrete, beyond focusing on a range of topics, smaller class sizes and doing more hands-on activities. Don't get me wrong -- it's a must-read for those who follow education topics. The arguments are well-presented. For the most part, I agreed with Ravitch and the few times I disagreed were on minor points (I think at one point, she expresses concern that the effect of NCLB might be to privatize the bulk of the educational system. She mentions she is certain the legislators didn't mean for this unintentional result. Call me cynical, but I say baloney -- I think there are legislators whose aim is to do just that). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mj | 2/15/2014

    " I found this book very upsetting. Ravitch worked in the Dept. of Education for both Bushes' and Clinton's administrations. She was a supported of No Child Left Behind. As a classroom teacher of some 20 years, I have never been a fan of NCLB. Now, that Ravitch in no longer working for the government, she has decided that NCLB was a big mistake. This is something that classroom teachers and administrators with years of experience tried to tell officials when the law was being written. No one listened. Ravitch's book describes the failure of program after program based on the importance of test scores as a measure of teachers success. She even laments the fact that her most inspiring teacher from her public high school education would not fit the NCLB description of a good teacher. If one looks at the book for its research and writing, I guess the rating should be higher, but from my perspective this is all too little, too late and does nothing to rectify the unwarranted harm done to the teaching profession by NCLB. I just can't give it more than 3 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becca | 2/14/2014

    " "Our schools will not improve if we continually reorganize their structure and management without regard for their essential purpose ... Our schools will not improve if elected officials intrude into pedagogical territory and make decisions that properly should be made by professional educators ... Our schools will not improve if we continue to focus only on reading and mathematics while ignoring the other studies that are essential elements of a good education ... Our schools will not improve if we value only what tests measure ... Our schools will not improve if we continue to close neighborhood schools in the name of reform ... Our schools will not improve if we entrust them to the magical powers of the market ... Our schools will not improve if we expect them to act like private, profit-seeking enterprises ... Our schools cannot be improved by blind worship of data ... Our schools cannot be improved if we ignore the disadvantages associated with poverty that affect children's ability to learn ... Our schools cannot be improved if we use them as society's all-purpose punching bag ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chalida | 2/13/2014

    " What a great read. So much data and case studies of NYC and San Diego to show why standardized tests are awful, charter schools and Teach for America are not the solution and why businesses should not be managing education. A must read in the face of Waiting for Superman and our current administration. Common sense backed by data! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher | 1/13/2014

    " Great points and good arguments in general, but extremely repetitive and poorly organized. This would be easier to overlook if there were some clear, promising agenda, but Ravitch offers so little in that department. Still, it's worth any educator's time to read the nice history of education reform and current hot topics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Curtis | 12/31/2013

    " Great book on what's wrong with data, assessment, merit pay, and running schools like a business. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Kosar | 12/31/2013

    " Diane Ravitch was one of my dissertation advisers at New York University, and I think very well of her. That doesn't mean we are not without our differences on education policy. A student does a teacher no honor by being an adulatory disciple... See my full review here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda | 11/26/2013

    " Every teacher and future teacher should read this! As should politicians, parents, administrators...basically everyone! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacob | 10/12/2013

    " equal parts informative history of the past 30 years of school reform movements and fads, and impassioned plea for sanity and reason in developing new solutions to our nation's continuing crisis in education. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joan | 9/26/2013

    " Was reading this as part of my book club and there was not enough participation. While interesting, it was not a fun read so I am not going to suffer through the final four chapters. Too many fab YA novels out there yet to read and I'm not getting any younger! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Drew Jameson | 9/2/2013

    " Diane Ravitch elegantly shits on No Child Left Behind for two-hundred-plus pages "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 7/28/2013

    " great read but gets me fired up! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin | 6/30/2013

    " To little to late Diane, your damage is done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zane Scott-Tunkin | 3/7/2013

    " Very well researched and thought provoking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bekah | 2/4/2013

    " I am glad i finally finished the book--months after the main "storm" of popularity. I have always enjoyed Diane Ravitch, and it was nice to see someone who was once a fan of vouchers and choice realize that the solution is far more complex than that. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave Conway | 11/12/2012

    " I hate how negative she is in this. She never seems to give any credit to positive results. The research is great, and the book covers some very interesting holes in past educational reform, but her tone is incredibly negative. Ravitch has frustrated me more than any other author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 9/28/2012

    " This was avery enlightening book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alison Kenney | 6/6/2012

    " Everyone should read this! Her arguments make sense and are backed up by loads of data and real-world recent examples. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valli | 5/30/2012

    " Everyone with any kind of a stake in public education should read this book! Now! Thank you. "

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