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Has Education Reform Gone Too Far?

A TNR symposium.

Has education reform failed America's children? According to outspoken education historian Diane Ravitch, the answer is yes. In her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, the one-time supporter of No Child Left Behind explains why she thinks the biggest attempt to overhaul U.S. education in recent memory has floundered. She also castigates today's reform movement--which counts President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan among its followers--for focusing too heavily on test-based accountability and charter schools, at the expense of helping children really learn. But is she right? In this TNR symposium, which starts today and will continue for the next week or so, some of the most important thinkers in the education world respond to Ravitch, pointing out the merits of her argument, as well as the flaws. Below, you’ll find responses from both Ben Wildavsky, senior fellow in research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and guest scholar at the Brookings Institute, and Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and former education columnist for The New York Times. But, first, Ms. Ravitch herself. 

By Diane Ravitch: The country's love affair with standardized testing and charter schools is ruining American education.
By Ben Wildavsky: Why Diane Ravitch's populist rage against business-minded school reform doesn't make sense.
By Richard Rothstein: Ravitch’s recent ‘conversion’ is actually a return to her core values.

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