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Michelle CH

Currently reading

Death Comes for the Archbishop
Willa Cather
Progress: 200/297 pages
Possession
A.S. Byatt
Progress: 17/555 pages
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally
Alisa Smith, J.B. MacKinnon
Progress: 45 %
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education - Diane Ravitch Some excellent arguments for educational change are made, although overall this book has to be taken with a grain of salt. Ms. Ravitch is highly controversial having supported/constructed Bush's disastrous No Child Left Behind policy. I do give her credit for changing her viewpoint and in seeing how destructive this policy certainly has become for children in the USA.

Some of her arguments were right on point, especially in terms of how we measure proficiency in education. No one has proven many of the arguements around education that we all take for granted. For example, there is much made about Teach for America and funds are diverted to support this program. It is an excellent idea in theory but it doesn't allow for participants to truly become skilled in their work as they most often transition out of teaching right when they have gotten their bearings. Two years being the maximum enrollment period for TFA'ers.

I also appreciate her delving into research that isn't complete. To date, the idea that effective teachers can transform a school has not been proven. So many other variables come into play when we think about transforming a school such as poverty and effective school leadership. It doesn't make sense to focus energy exclusively on one area alone.

As she goes through her arguments I could agree with most and it helped me broaden my thinking and I looked at others and their writings around education just to confirm or review what she was saying.

One area that I did not agree with was her insistence that Catholic schools have always outperformed in terms of academic achievement with low-income students of color. I would have appreciated more information or data for her broad claims.

For anyone in education, it is definitely a worthy read.