Book Review

EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon

by Diane Ravitch, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2007, 245 pp., $29.95 hardcover, $23.95 softcover

Diane Ravitch’s book EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon is a great resource for educators to use as they work to help noneducators understand the language of education.

Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has defined more than 500 terms in her book, successfully translating the jargon often used by educators into plain English.

Ravitch presents a detailed definition of dropout followed by a more thorough discussion of dropout rate. That discussion incorporates three possible ways the rates are calculated: event rate, state’s rate and cohort rate. Educators involved with determining their districts’ dropout rate should find these discussions useful.

Breaking down the barriers to clear communication by educators is one vital way to gather more support for education endeavors. Although Ravitch expresses concern about omitting some key terms, she also invites readers to submit new terms to her for future editions.

A suggestion I’d offer for future updates: Be more consistent in cross-referencing terms. For example, when discussing the Drop Everything and Read strategy, Ravitch does not mention a similar term, Sustained Silent Reading. However, in her discussion of the latter, she refers to the former.

Through EdSpeak, she has prepared a useful resource for educators to use in their communications with each other and with noneducators.

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas, professor of educational leadership, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.