What: Books Sandwiched In: Dr. Nissa Dahlin-Brown about Education Reform
When: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 12:00pm
Where: East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street

Dr. Nissa Dahlin-BrownSchool reform has been on the top of minds for decades, but the needle hasn't seemed to move much. While No Child Left Behind gets its share of the blame, new movements crop up with fanfare, only to be shot down by a large critics' circle. So what is the solution? Join Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy Associate Director Nissa Dahlin-Brown for a look at The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How testing and choice are undermining education by Diane Ravitch in this month’s Books Sandwiched In series, co-sponsored by Knox County Public Library and the City of Knoxville.

“This book looks at education reform efforts over the last few decades and the author’s evolving opinion regarding this reform,” Dahlin-Brown says. “Dr. Ravitch has come full circle from one embracing No Child Left Behind to one questioning whether this is the right way to go.”

In The Death and Life of the Great American School System, former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum, Diane Ravitch examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril.

“Join me and let’s discuss the book, what we can learn from it and what we feel from our own readings, our own experiences, what might add to the education discussion for the Knoxville region,” Dahlin-Brown says. “Are we on the right track or not? Is testing the answer? Are charter schools or vouchers the answer? What about community schools? Join me and let’s share and discuss as we learn from one another and this reading.”

The public is invited to join the conversation. Bring your favorite sandwich or pick up something from a downtown restaurant. Copies of the books are available at the Library if you'd like to read one before the program.

The series will continue on June 19, when Knoxville News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy discusses by Jared Diamond.

For more information, please call Emily Ellis at (865) 215-8723.

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