Book List: What Faculty colleagues are reading and recommending:
Diane Ravitch. Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. Knopf: 2013. - Anyone in public education and/or concerned about its future in the US should peruse Ravitch’s book. It focuses on the privatization of K-12 schools. The dramatic shift to charter schools and vouchers is diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to private, often for-profit, schools. This is coupled with the testing mania forced from Washington under the rubric of the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind” and President Obama’s “Race to the Top.” Teachers and administrators are being fired and entire schools labeled as “failed” based on these very limited, often invalid, measures of performance. Teaching to the test has narrowed the curriculum, and in many cases, led to the elimination of the arts, history, science, literature, etc. According to the author, the destruction of unions is part of this movement’s agenda. The author presents ample, though often redundant, evidence to document these changes. She also ties them to the increasing class and racial segregation in our society.
I have been teaching social stratification classes for almost half a century and I have never seen less equality of opportunity in the US. In addition, during my 20 years on local school boards and beginning just before Prop. 13, I personally and painfully witnessed the erosion of local community control over schools and its transfer to Sacramento. Ravitch makes a powerful case regarding the further centralization of power to the federal government and private organizations and corporations. She debunks many popular myths regarding K-12 education but suggests solutions as well. I strongly recommend this book (though you might want to skim some of the repetitive data.) Those of us in higher education, especially in the CSU, struggle with the products of these disintegrating pre-collegiate, non-publically controlled, “public” schools. (Bill Blischke, Professor Emeritus, CSU Dominguez Hills; ERFA Liaison to the ASCSU)
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