"Ensuring a rigorous liberal education for all is asking a lot in a contentious democracy like ours. Is it possible to educate every child to the same high standards? Is it politically feasible? Will raising standards help or hinder poor minority children? Ravitch sees where these land mines are buried and her book provides an indispensable diagram for getting around them."—The Wall Street Journal
"A simple message lies at the heart of Diane Ravitch's new book.... If clear and consistent goals of learning could be set for all American children, rich and poor, gifted and ordinary, then all of these children would end up better educated than they now are likely to be."—The New York Times
"No one could be more qualified to write a book about national standards in education than Diane Ravitch."—The Washington Times
"The ongoing debate about national education standards and assessment in the U.S. has created as much confusion as it has solutions. What has been needed is an examination of the educational, historical, political, and social issues related to the development of such standards. Ravitch provides such a foundation."—Choice
Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Educational Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, is the author of numerous books, including The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (Knop
While the idea of national standards has been widely supported, many respected educators doubt their value from fear that such standards will institutionalize the lowest common denominator. Others cite the poor performance of U.S. students on international tests and insist that the U.S. will suffer because of this poor performance. The debate becomes even more intense when the question of assessment is posed. Is it possible to develop a national examination system tied to new standards? Should such tests be used to influence entry to colleges and jobs? Would the motivation of students to learn be increased if they knew that their performance would be reviewed by colleges and employers? Is it fair to set standards for students without setting standards for schools?
To address these and other questions, this book, the result of a Brookings conference, brings together representatives of various viewpoints on the utility and equity of increasing the use of tests for students, teachers, and schools.
The contributors are Chester Finn, Jr., the Edison Project; Daniel Koretz, RAND; Andrew Porter, Wisconsin Center for Education Research; Lauren Resnick, University of Pittsburgh; Roy Romer, Governor of Colorado; Albert Shanker, American Federation of Teachers; Theodore R. Sizer, Brown University; Marshall C. Smith, U.S. Department of Education; and Donald M. Stewart, The College Board.
Brookings Dialogues on Public Policy