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Book Review                                      Page 36

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools

by Diane Ravitch, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N.Y., 2013, 396 pp. with index, $27.95 hardcover

Review - Reign of Error 
In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch addresses many of the most controversial educational policies affecting public schools. Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University, was assistant secretary of education in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Each of the book’s first 20 chapters focuses on a different reform concept being pushed on public schools. The wide range of topics includes merit pay, high-stakes testing and the privatization of public education. “We need solutions based on evidence, not slogans or reckless speculation,” writes Ravitch. In contrast to the rhetoric surrounding claims that public schools are failing, she provides evidence-based solutions to help all students experience success.

Ravitch examines No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, asserting that neither policy has improved student achievement. Instead, she suggests, they have opened the door to the privatization of education, which often has more to do with making money than providing equal opportunities for all students. She sees protecting our public schools from privatization as the civil rights issue of our time.

Those interested in school reform will find this book well-researched, yet easy to understand.

Reviewed by Justin B. Henry, superintendent, Goddard Public Schools, Goddard, Kan.

 

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