Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at NYU. Her newly revised book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education will be published in June. (March 2016)


Solving the Mystery of the Schools

Cory Booker, then mayor of Newark, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with eleventh-grade math students at the KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy, a charter school, September 2010

The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?

by Dale Russakoff

Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It, and the Students and Teachers Who Made It Triumph

by Kristina Rizga
In recent years, American public education has been swamped by bad ideas and policies. Our national leaders, most of whom were educated at elite universities and should know better, have turned our most important domestic duty into a quest for higher scores on standardized tests.

The Myth of Chinese Super Schools

A boy watching pro-democracy demonstrators from a school bus near a protest site in Hong Kong, October 2014

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World

by Yong Zhao
Yong Zhao’s new book tells us that China has the best education system because it can produce the highest test scores. But, he says, it has the worst education system because those test scores are purchased by sacrificing creativity, divergent thinking, originality, and individualism.

In Mitt Romney’s Schoolroom

Mitt Romney participating in a sixth-grade class at Universal Bluford Charter School, Philadelphia, May 24, 2012

A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education

a white paper by the Romney campaign, with a foreword by Jeb Bush
On May 23, the Romney campaign released its education policy white paper titled “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education.” If you liked the George W. Bush administration’s education reforms, you will love the Romney plan. If you think that turning the …


The Lost Purpose of School Reform

One-room schoolhouse near Selma, Alabama, 1965

Fifty years ago, Congress passed a federal education law to help poor children get a good public education. As the House and the Senate now debate a reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, it is crucial to understand the law’s origins and how it has evolved over time.

Making Schools Poor

A first-grade class of thirty children at the Willow Glen Elementary School in San Jose, California, where budget cuts have led to larger class sizes, January 24, 2013

Last week’s court ruling against job protections for California school teachers has distracted us from the genuine inequalities that harm minority children. It does not address the dire overcrowding of classes or the lack of resources for basic needs, including libraries, counselors, after-school programs, and nurses. Nor does it address segregation or poverty— root causes of poor academic performance.

New York Schools: The Roar of the Charters

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reading Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Northside Center for Child Development, New York, December 3, 2013

New York City’s charter schools enroll only 6 percent of the student population. Contrary to popular myth, they are more racially segregated than public schools and performed no better on state tests. How, then, did a privately managed school franchise that serves a tiny portion of New York families manage to hijack the education reforms of a new mayor with a huge popular mandate?

Holding Education Hostage

For weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have been battling over the issue of teacher evaluation. Governor Andrew Cuomo set a deadline for them to reach an agreement, but they failed to do so, potentially costing the city schools hundreds of millions of dollars. The state education commissioner, John King, jumped into the fray by threatening to withhold over a billion dollars in state and federal aid if there was no settlement between the parties. Now, Governor Cuomo says that he may intervene. What’s going on here? Why can’t the mayor and the union reach an agreement? Why does Commissioner King intend to punish the city’s children if the grown-ups don’t agree?