From Publishers Weekly
If general readers recognize Kohn's name, it's thanks to his campaign against standardized testing (The Case Against Standardized Testing
). Educational professionals will recall Kohn's insights into classroom management (Punished by Rewards
) and school reform (The Schools Our Children Deserve
). This collection of essays, written from 1999 to 2003, proves the author is one of America's most astute critics of current educational policies. Kohn revisits the standards and testing mania, but also takes on other controversial issues: grade inflation, school violence and how educators can deal with the aftermath of 9/11. "Turning Learning into a Business" is an informative and incisive critique of the many ways in which Kohn sees the corporate world exploiting kids and profiting from schools through the marketing of tests, advertising in schools and textbooks, and turning schools into for-profit businesses. Kohn carefully links these issues to larger social concerns: "one of the most crucial tasks in a democratic society" is "the act of limiting the power that corporations have in determining what happens in, and to, our schools." Kohn is unapologetic and articulate about the advantages of a progressive approach to education that values students' interests, focuses on understanding (rather than the acquisition of isolated facts) and assesses student work authentically (rather than by single, standardized measures). True to his educational philosophy, he asks readers to consider big questions, such as: What's important to know? What are the qualities of a good school? And perhaps most vital, Who gets to decide and who benefits?
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The most energetic and charismatic figure standing in the way of a major federal effort to make standardized curriculums and tests a fact of life in every U.S. school. --Washington Post
"Of the dozens of 'experts' on what's wrong (and right) in U.S. schools, only a handful are truly worth reading; Kohn has long been one of the soundest. His willingness not simply to challenge conventional answers but also examine whether we're asking the right questions gives his work a genuinely eye-opening quality." --Booklist
"Kohn cuts against the grain and takes on adversaries without fear, and yet with a mature and rational sophistication. He draws upon a rich tradition, citing the work of Dewey, Bruner, Piaget, and Holt, among others, but he now takes his proper place within their ranks." --Jonathan Kozol