"An outstanding book . . . full of riches."—Daily KosProponents of education reform are committed to the idea that all children should receive a quality education, and that all of them have a capacity to learn and grow, whatever their ethnicity or economic circumstances. But though recent years have seen numerous reform efforts, the resources available to children in different municipalities still vary enormously, and despite landmark cases of the civil rights movement and ongoing pushes to enact diverse and inclusive curricula, racial and ethnic segregation remain commonplace. Public Education Under Siege examines why public schools are in such difficult straits, why the reigning ideology of school reform is ineffective, and what can be done about it.
"The book's analyses of what are the limits and dangers of our current fascination with markets, testing, blaming and shaming teachers, anti-union sentiment, and similar things are powerfully stated. But just as importantly in terms of the role of 'public intellectual' efforts, they are refreshingly free of the kinds of overly academic artifice that is all too common in such critical work."—Education Review
"Most of the fire in the national debate over school reform has come from those in favor of high-stakes testing of students, charter schools, and weakening of teachers' unions—until now. The very timely essays in Public Education Under Siege challenge the assumptions and goals of the so-called school reform movement. If you want to understand why the movement will not bring serious change to the schools that need it most and may even make things worse, read this book. This is an extraordinarily valuable contribution to the national debate."—Michael K. Brown, Race, Money and the American Welfare State
Public Education Under Siege argues for an alternative to the test-driven, market-oriented core of the current reform agenda. Chapters from education policy experts and practitioners critically examine the overreliance on high-stakes testing, which narrows the content of education and frustrates creative teachers, and consider how to restore a more civic-centered vision of education in place of present dependence on questionable economistic models. These short, jargon-free essays cover public policy, teacher unions, economic inequality, race, language diversity, parent involvement, and leadership, collectively providing an overview of the present system and its limitations as well as a vision for the fulfillment of a democratic, egalitarian system of public education.
Contributors: Joanne Barkan, Maia Cucchiara, Ansley T. Erickson, Eugene E. Garcia, Eva Gold, Jeffrey R. Henig, Tyrone C. Howard, Richard D. Kahlenberg, Harvey Kantor, Michael B. Katz, David F. Labaree, Julia C. Lamber, Robert Lowe, Deborah Meier, Pedro Noguera, Rema Reynolds, Claire Robertson-Kraft, Jean C. Robinson, Mike Rose, Janelle Scott, Elaine Simon, Paul Skilton-Sylvester, Joi A. Spencer, Heather Ann Thompson, Tina Trujillo, Pamela Barnhouse Walters, Kevin G. Welner, Sarah Woulfin.
Michael B. Katz is Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History and Research Associate of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also author of Why Don't American Cities Burn? and The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State, both available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Mike Rose is Professor at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education.