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Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform download ebook

by Diane Ravitch

Left Back: A Century of Battles over School  Reform download ebook
ISBN:
0743203267
ISBN13:
978-0743203265
Author:
Diane Ravitch
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster; Edition Unstated edition (August 7, 2001)
Language:
Pages:
560 pages
ePUB:
1378 kb
Fb2:
1656 kb
Other formats:
mobi azw rtf lrf
Category:
Schools & Teaching
Subcategory:
Rating:
4.2

Diane Ravitch's "Left Back" is both a history and a polemic

Diane Ravitch's "Left Back" is both a history and a polemic. In Left Back, Ravitch demonstrates that the concept of justifying education in utilitarian terms (how useful it is to students' lives) may have been an interesting idea at one point, but, like many ideas, it was pushed too far.

Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform

Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform. In Left Back, Diane Ravitch explodes pervasive myths of how American schools developed in the last hundred years: "The conventional story of the twentieth century told by historians of education is about the heroic advance of the progressive education movement, how it vanquished oppressive traditionalism in the classroom, briefly dominated American schools, then lost its vitality and withered away in the. mid-1950s. Ravitch, herself an eminent historian of education and the author of The Great School Wars, calls this so much malarkey.

Diane Ravitch and her BookTalk book, Left Back We live now with decisions and policies that were made long ago, said author Diane Ravitch in Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform.

Diane Ravitch and her BookTalk book, Left Back. We cannot understand where we are heading without knowing where we have been. We live now with decisions and policies that were made long ago, said author Diane Ravitch in Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform. Before we attempt to reform present practices, we must try to learn why those decisions were made and to understand the consequences of past policies. History doesn't tell us the answers to our questions, but it helps to inform us so that we might make better decisions in the future.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Ravitch's first book The Great School Wars (1974) is a history . Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform (2000).

Ravitch's first book The Great School Wars (1974) is a history of New York City public schools. It described alternating eras of centralization and decentralization  . And handing the schools in low-income neighborhoods over to private entrepreneurs does not, in itself, improve them. There's plenty of evidence by now that the kids in those schools do no better, and it's simply a way of avoiding their - the public responsibility to provide good education.

In Left Back, education historian Diane Ravitch describes this ongoing battle of. .LEFT BACK: A Century of Failed School Reforms. Her landmark books deeply influenced the national discussion of education standards in the 1980s and 1990s.

In Left Back, education historian Diane Ravitch describes this ongoing battle of ideas and explains why school reform has so often disappointed. She recounts grandiose efforts to use the schools for social engineering, even while those efforts diminished the schools' ability to provide a high-quality education for all children. Пользовательский отзыв - Kirkus. She has been a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and at New York University.

Left Back : A Century of Battles over School Reform. In Left Back, education historian Diane Ravitch describes this ongoing battle of ideas and explains why school reform has so often disappointed. By illuminating the history of education in the twentieth century, Left Back points the way to reviving American schools today. Simon & Schuster.

Left Back by Diane Ravitch - For the past one hundred years, Americans have argued and worried about the quality of their schools. A Century of Battles over School Reform. Price may vary by retailer.

For the past one hundred years, Americans have argued and worried about the quality of their schools. Some charged that students were not learning enough, while others complained that the schools were not furthering social progress. In Left Back, education historian Diane Ravitch describes this ongoing battle of ideas and explains why school reform has so often disappointed. She recounts grandiose efforts to use the schools for social engineering, even while those efforts diminished the schools' ability to provide a high-quality education for all children. By illuminating the history of education in the twentieth century, Left Back points the way to reviving American schools today.
Reviews:
  • Pryl
This book includes a lot of points that aren't being discussed by the policy-makers for education "reform". Ravitch expresses points of view that are contrary to the main stream pundits, and she exposes the faulty workings of teachers' unions. A must-read for anyone concerned about the status of or education system, but you won't find it on the curriculum list for any teaching university.
  • monotronik
This book does a good job of covering the last hundred years of the debate about education in America. A seemly simple question has been at the root of this debate: "What is the purpose of education?"
Through the 1800s for most teachers the answer was to teach children how to read, write, and do arithmetic. This was called the academic curriculum. By the late 1800s there was almost universal schooling.
Starting in the early 1900s, some education leaders thought it was best to prepare children for the job market, and especially once the IQ tests become popular, children were tested and slotted for a college track, or other tracks, as early at age six and seven. Some people pushed to improve self-esteem as the only real goal of education. Additionally many leaders of education started seeing schools as a place to "improve" society, and they wanted to go behind the backs of the parents and mold the children.
Over the years there has been a wide variety of programs, some of which have been a bit useful or effective, most have been destructive. For example in the 1920s and 1930s there was a push to be efficient in education, and that by figuring out where children would be working as adults and giving them only the education they would need, the schools could be good use of resources. There was a belief by some of the experts that students had little ability to transfer knowledge. As an extreme example of what this belief mean, just because students had been taught the basics of addition, they would have to learn from scratch the basics of subtraction. Because of this belief there was little interest in teaching children more than they really "needed" to know.
The questions people asked about the purpose of education are good questions to ask. It is helpful to know why children are going to schools. The author clearly feels that many of the leaders of education make big mistakes, and millions of children have suffered from an inadequate education. For example many people in the 1950s and 1960s felt that black children would grow up to have the menial jobs, so it was best to only teach them the basics; that it would be bad to try and force them to learn more than they would ever use.
And on the flip side, in the 1980s many experts felt that self-esteem was the only thing that matter, once children had good self-esteem, they would learn what they needed to know. So there were whole programs designed to help children have a strong positive self-image. Out of these schools came large numbers of children with little knowledge, but they felt good about themselves.
The author mentions program after program that were inflicted on children. The author goes over some of the various types of damage the children suffered. Then a group of education leaders would come up with a new program, lead another national movement, and a new group of children would suffer.
This is a good book for anyone who is trying to understand the current set of problems schools in our nation are facing. One of the fascinating things is how many of today's proposals have been tried in the past, and sometimes they have been tried several times.
  • BlackBerry
Diane Ravitch's "Left Back" is both a history and a polemic. As the subtitle suggest, Ravitch does not only cover the history of educational ideas over the past century, but the history of "failed" educational ideas. As other review rs suggest, Ravitch's book is a history of, and argument against, progressivism in education.

Most of this book centers around two recurring dualisms of 20th century educational theory: essentialism v. utilitarianism, and learning as transmission between teacher and student v. learning as natural student-led proces.
The debate between essentialists (like Bagley) and instrumentalists (like Dewey and Thorndike) was over whether educational learning was valuable in itself or whether its value derives from its utility. In Left Back, Ravitch demonstrates that the concept of justifying education in utilitarian terms (how useful it is to students' lives) may have been an interesting idea at one point, but, like many ideas, it was pushed too far. Not many people - even the eseentialists - would argue that education should not have utility to students lives, but the overselling of this idea by progressives resulted in everything from hastily done tracking (tailoring instruction to students' predicted 'station' in later life), to the stripping away of academic rigor (why take biology when one can take a class on how to grow plants?).

The debate between those who argued for teacher-led education versus those who argued for student-led education was an outgrowth of the previous debate. The 'student-led' advocates (William Kilpatrick, Carl Rogers) rediscovered and revamped the Rousseauian idea that the best education is a non-coercive process of letting the student explore what she likes, and fostering her creativity. By contrast, the 'teacher-led' advocates (Leon Kandel, Michael Demiashkevich), believed that learning was as often an artificial process that necessitated the teacher being a teacher, and that part of s good education was learning things beyond what one would learn on one's ow.

In each debate, the progressives (utilitarians, student-led believers) won the day, often in spite of public outcry against them. In fact, one ironic theme in Ravitch's book is that while the progressives constantly invoked the word "democratic" to support their various cure-alls, the movement was, at every turn, undemocratic. Progressives always saw themselves as superior to the clamor of "reactionary" parents (who audaciously wanted their kids to learn subject-matter), were constant enthusiasts of tracking students at an early age by their predicted 'stations' in life, and constantly spoke of "creating a new social order," rather than educating independently-thinking students.

The undoubted hero of the book is William Bagley (an education philosopher that may have been John Dewey's most serious rival that is unjustly all but unheard of today). For his part, Dewey is portrayed as an out of touch intellectual whose "innocence was [often] comical" [p. 207) Many will object to this characterization of an educational icon, but Ravitch is certainly not the first to suggest that Dewey was entirely too aloof to articulate a philosophy with any real clarity.

Some negative reviewers comment that Ravitch's characterization of the various progressive movements is an unfair and mistaken straw-man. While I have only read a handful of the plentiful original sources she cites, it is difficult to see how an author who quotes so frequently from primary sources can be said to have gotten them (many unambiguous in meaning) wrong. My thoughts are that this book is a fair portrayal of progressivism, and that the reviewers may be mad because Ravitch is not afraid to mix history and polemic.

All in all, this is a stunning work for anyone who wonders how we got here - social promotion, self-esteem movement, flexible standards - from "there." Ravitch may have mixed history with polemic, but the book is well-researched history and necessary polemic. Ravitch's conclusion:

"If there is a lesson to be learned from the river of ink that was spilled in the education disputes of the twentieth century, it is that anything in education that is labeled a "movement" should be avoided like the plague. What American education most needs is not more nostrums and enthusiasms but more attention to fundamental, time-tested truths." (p. 453)