Essays, speeches and interviews also come from students, parents and government officials, providing a comprehensive guide...

A collection of writings about and against the educational model of standardized testing.

In the foreword, Diane Ravitch (Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools, 2013, etc.) discusses the policies that she helped shape, which would lead to the need for this book. In her position as a top-ranking official in the Department of Education, she channeled years of research into the creation of solutions to fix what was perceived as a substandard education system. Higher standards, measured by tests reflecting teacher success, were thought to be the way forward. As the standards were implemented, Ravitch’s research into the results pointed toward a different outcome—that the only things truly “fixed” by these new standards were, in fact, the parts that weren’t broken. As educators have spoken out about the failings of the approach, the criticisms have coalesced into a unified discontentment. In this collection, editor and history teacher Hagopian pulls material from a wide range of sources; his contribution stems from his role at Garfield High School, the site of the boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress testing in 2013. Other teachers from schools across the nation, with varying backgrounds (those backgrounds often provide the impetus for their essays), also share anecdotal stories, hard data and compelling arguments against a system that rewards teachers for narrowing their efforts toward achieving the all-important test score and punishes them for the outside-the-box thinking that was once considered essential for being able to reach the greatest number of students. Alfie Kohn provides the introduction, and other notable contributors include Alma Flor Ada, Phyllis Tashlik and Carol Burris.

Essays, speeches and interviews also come from students, parents and government officials, providing a comprehensive guide to the pitfalls of standardized testing, with arguments to win over even the most skeptical school reformer.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1608463923

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Haymarket Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014




American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992



The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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