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Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0807749395
ISBN-10: 0807749397
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Editorial Reviews

Review

''I devoured Class and Schools ... it seemed an urgent call for our nation to address out-of-school factors holding poor children back.''
-- Boston Review May/June 2009

''A superb and provocative analysis of where we've gone wrong on accountability and what we need to do to fix it. The book is a must-read for those seeking answers for reducing our nation's tragic achievement disparities.'' --- Susan B. Neuman

''Grading Education is ready to provoke a deep, thoughtful, and complex discussion about where we as educators, policy makers, and a nation historically concerned about education tied to key American values for all students go from here. With No Child Left Behind almost two years overdue for reauthorization in 2009, Rothstein's energetic and relatively dispassionate discussion is most timely.'' --Teachers College Record, January 2009

About the Author

Co-published by the Economic Policy Institute and Teachers College Press.

The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy. The Institute stresses real world analysis and a concern for the living standards of working people, and it makes its findings accessible to the general public, the media, and policy makers. EPI's books, studies, and popular education materials address important economic issues, analyze pressing problems facing the U.S. economy, and propose new policies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press & Economic Policy Inst. (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807749397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807749395
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is on my short list of books about education that everyone should read. I presume that EPI has put it in the hands of everyone in Congress, but it might be worth, after reading it yourself, passing it on to a local school board member. Whereas a lot of criticism of NCLB amounts to little more than an unbalanced rant and I would say that most criticism is unconstructive, Grading Education offers a comprehensive, compelling, and constructive critique. It's comprehensive in that it places NCLB within a (very interesting) discussion of the history of evaluation of schools, and constructive, not in the sense that it suggests a way to fix NCLB (that, the authors say, is impossible) but rather by offering a sensible alternative framework for "getting accountability right". The authors believe (rightly) that accountability is important, and (again rightly) that the particular method of democratic accountability through locally elected school boards simply doesn't work. (They do not ask whether NCLB, with all its flaws, when superimposed on a system of local democratic control is superior to local democratic control on its own, which I suspect it might be, but their aim is to influence future policy). The book ought to have a lot of influence over the debates around the re-authorisation, revision, or tacit abandonment of NCLB which, presumably, we'll start to have at some point.

I hesitate to say too much about it, for fear of releasing you from the obligation of reading it. But the basic argument is as follows.

Whereas NCLB has focused very narrowly on reading and math test scores, not only have Americans historically cared about a much richer set of goals for education, but they (including parents, school board members, and politicians) still do.
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