The Death & Life of the Great American School System

The Death & Life of the Great American School System: How Testing & Choice are Undermining EducationThe Death & Life of the Great American School System: How Testing & Choice are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch, published by Basic Books, 2010. 334 pp.

This book examines public school reform ideas over the last 30 years. It explains why these reform ideas failed and how some may have been harmful to the American education system. Diane Ravitch goes in depth discussing the implementation of vouchers, charter schools, test-based accountability, No Child Left Behind and how businesses have tried to step in and implement a business model of performance and merit-based pay for faculty and administration in the public school system. She discusses the successes and failures of each of these implementations through her own experiences from her career in education.

Diane Ravitch does a great job explaining where our education system has been, where we are now and where we are going. It does not give answers as to how we need to make the changes but it does address what changes she thinks are needed in order to make our education system successful for all students.

– Reviewed by Lori Smith