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Topic: _LEFT BACK: A Century of Failed School Reforms._ by Ravitch
Replies: 7   Last Post: Aug 28, 2000 1:10 AM

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Registered: 12/3/04
_LEFT BACK: A Century of Failed School Reforms._ by Ravitch
Posted: Aug 27, 2000 12:08 PM
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Diane Ravitch's new book
_LEFT BACK: A Century of Failed School Reforms._
555 pp. Simon and Schuster, $30
is reviewed in today's NY Times Book review by Sara Mosle:

'.......As a matter of theory, Ravitch's case against the progressives is
persuasive. "Time and again," she writes, " experts urged the schools to
de-emphasize reading, writing, history, mathematics, and science; to drop
foreign languages; to replace history with social studies; to eliminate
high-quality literature and substitute for it uninspired scraps from
textbooks; and to teach only what was useful and immediately functional."
Her method is hang prominent theorists with their own words - often citing
excessively long passages from their writings (to avoid I suspect, charges
of quoting out of context) - as they describe, in sometimes shockingly
undemocratic terms, how the country's "army of incapables" can't be
expected to achieve even basic literacy or numeracy. Those most hurt by
these ideas, she argues, were disadvantaged children who had "the greatest
need for intellectual stimulation that schools were supposed to provide."

As a matter of practice, however, Ravitch is on shakier ground. As she
concedes, parents and teachers have always rejected reformers' whackier
notions. Periods of innovation have invariably been followed by
back-to-basics retrenchment......'

My order for the book goes in today.

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