... a thought-provoking, painstakingly researched account ... offer[s] an insightful examination especially of the harmful and reverberating effects of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2002, and later, Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program, begun in 2009 ... Though the history of the school reform movement and its impact on schools and students are alarming, the story Ravitch sets out to tell is not one of hand-wringing despair. Rather, it is a heartening account of how teachers, parents and union leaders across the nation have been fighting against the damage caused by the Disrupters ... Ravitch’s message is not one of gloom and doom, but rather a rallying cry that shows how people everywhere are wising up and fighting back ... There is much to learn from this book, and much inspiration to be found. The book is not written as a how-to guide for the Resistance. It is a scrupulously thorough study of a tumultuous period in American education. However, the conscientious reader who seeks strategies to combat the pervasive damage done by the Disrupters will find useful information here, along with affirmation that fighting back is possible.
In this incisive, meticulously researched book, Ravitch...argues persuasively that the U.S. school privatization movement has resulted in poor test scores, the closure of public schools, and attacks on the teaching profession ... This extensive analysis is required reading for anyone concerned about American education.
Missing from these pages are the subtle insight and informed judgment for which she was once known ... Ravitch takes a defiant leap over the line separating reasoned case-building from empty sloganeering and ad hominem attacks ... she writes, adopting an imperious tone that is new to her books ... her portraits of these valiant fighters are curiously selective. Not included among them are the mothers and fathers, many of them people of color, who engage in activism ... In Ravitch’s rather cynical calculus, those who don’t agree with her on issues like charter schools have either been bought or been duped ... even if Ravitch has often been justified in raising alarms, it’s painful to see the absence of nuance she exhibits here ... Occasionally visible are flashes of the sharp but fair-minded writer from her previous works ... Ravitch has let go of some admirable intellectual practices and well-founded convictions. She would be wise to recover them.