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Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms By Diane Ravitch,

  • Title: Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms
  • Author: Diane Ravitch
  • ISBN: 9780684844176
  • Page: 251
  • Format: Hardcover
  • For the past one hundred years, Americans have argued and worried about the quality of their schools Some have charged that students were not learning enough, while others have complained that the schools were not in the forefront of social progress In this authoritative history of education in the twentieth century, historian Diane Ravitch describes this ongoing battleFor the past one hundred years, Americans have argued and worried about the quality of their schools Some have charged that students were not learning enough, while others have complained that the schools were not in the forefront of social progress In this authoritative history of education in the twentieth century, historian Diane Ravitch describes this ongoing battle of ideas and explains why school reform has so often failed Left Back recounts grandiose efforts by education reformers to use the schools to promote social and political goals, even when they diminished the schools ability to educate children It shows how generations of reformers have engaged in social engineering, advocating such innovations as industrial education, intelligence testing, curricular differentiation, and life adjustment education These reformers, she demonstrates, simultaneously mounted vigorous campaigns against academic studies Left Back charges that American schools have been damaged by three misconceptions The first is the belief that the schools can solve any social or political problem The second is the belief that only a portion of youngsters are capable of benefiting from a high quality education The third is that imparting knowledge is relatively unimportant, compared to engaging students in activities and experiences.These grave errors, Ravitch contends, have unnecessarily restricted equality of educational opportunity They have dumbed down the schools by encouraging a general lowering of academic expectations They have produced a diluted and bloated curriculum and pressure to enlarge individual schools so that they can offer multiple tracks to children withdifferent occupational goals As a result, the typical American high school is too big, too anonymous, and lacks intellectual coherence.Ravitch identifies several heroic educators such as William T Harris, William C Bagley, and Isaac Kandel who challenged these dominant and wrong headed ideas These men, dissidents in their own times, are usually left out of standard histories of education or treated derisively because they believed that all children deserved the opportunity to meet high standards of learning.In describing the wars between competing traditions of education, Ravitch points the way to reviving American education She argues that all students have the capacity to learn and that all are equally deserving of a solid liberal arts education Left Back addresses issues of the utmost importance and urgency It is a large work of history that by recovering the past illuminates a future.
    Left Back A Century of Failed School Reforms For the past one hundred years Americans have argued and worried about the quality of their schools Some have charged that students were not learning enough while others have complained that the sch

    One thought on “Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms”

    1. Everyone involved in education should read this book and it should be mandatory reading for all first year teachers in training Ravitch traces the real roots of all of the fads and labels we hear today and puts the entire history of school reform in historical perspective What this book does is reveal how little those who peddle reform ideas today really know about the people and ideas they celebrate This book will have you thinking about how we ought to reform the schools of education.

    2. Education is an incredibly complex topic that many don t understand This book is an outstanding journey through the history of the last 150 years of education It looks in depth at the battle between progressives and traditionalists This book is a must read for any educator and I would highly recommend it to any parent who has a child in or entering public education.

    3. Crazy school reform has been around for a long time Remember Auntie Mame Every few years you read some article about the new school reform that s going to change everything It turns out that these new ideas have been tried since the 1920s and 30s, and they have a history of not working This book explains the history of school reform since about 1899.

    4. Ugh I FINALLY finished this Diane Ravitch, I love you but you are a dry, dry writer.So much to say about this book, though I think it should be required reading for every education reformer, everyone who thinks they have any idea about how they can fix education Before you have solutions or the answers, you need to take the long view of the problem see it for how complicated it is, its historical context.s humbling, and if there is anything that reformers activists of all stripes need or everyon [...]

    5. I am going to say I finished this one even though I didn t read every word I read the first few chapters about the huge early 19th century changes This wasn t altogether new to me because I had read the works of several authors who were either contemporaries of the reformers and deplored the novelties Charlotte Mason, Pope Pius XI, Robert Schwickerath would be some contemporaries Cardinal Newman would be someone who saw the beginnings of the movement in Britain and Europe Also, I had read recen [...]

    6. Diane Ravitch s Left Back is a painstakingly thorough history of pedagogical trends in American public education The book is, without question, a lot of work, but the careful reader will be rewarded with a much deeper understanding of the fascinating, infuriating, and often outrageous debates among pedagogical experts and the ways that public schools have been affected by some of the most pivotal social, economic, and political changes of the 20th century e.g the great migration, the civil right [...]

    7. As a good work of history should, this book gave me the immense benefit of learning that 1 The current struggles in education reform aren t that new People have been arguing for two hundred years about how to educate in America The debates through the centuries echo our debates today child directed vs curriculum driven, vocation oriented vs liberal arts focused, controlled by parents vs by pedagogical experts etc.2 Every struggle has a historical context rather than exists in an abstract, unbend [...]

    8. I can never say too much about Ravitch What I can say is this She needs to read Larry Cuban s publication How Teachers Taught which was written BEFORE this, yet addresses so much of what Ravitch is missing She only looks at how ideas were spread and the links between progressive education and how certain ideas were implemented She fails to acknowledge racism altogether, and she also neglects addressing all the other factors that may have impacted implementation of progressive education Ravitch w [...]

    9. A really well done and comprehensive book about school reform over the past century or so in the American school system While tedious and dry at times it does a wonderful job of illustrating how there have been constant battles inside and outside the schools over the purpose and goals of school and while the names and times change the arguments have stayed eerily similar over the course of our limited history.

    10. Ravitch does an excellent job laying out the path of progressive education, as well as its many shortcomings The book suffers a bit from not having a lot of data to back up the superiority of her prferred liberal education even though I agree with her I m looking forward to reading her next book and seeing how her thinking has evolved.

    11. Well researched, cited, and written I found it gripping, and best of all, I have perspective to continue reading about the various pedagogical movements within their historical context.

    12. A well researched history of our public education system Ms Ravitch knows her subject and is quite thorough Can public education be repaired She seems to think so I m not so sure.

    13. I really wish Ravitch had given us of her own opinions throughout this book While it is valuable information, it is terribly dry.

    14. This book makes you think about what money and hubris have been doing and continue to do with our children s education and future.

    15. Very thorough history of education in the United States Very sad to see the cyclical decisions that continue to be made despite the obvious failures of the past.

    16. This book is a research review The writing is dry and unengaging, but if you suffer through it there is a complete and thorough history of American schools to be learned.

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