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Cover image of The Great School Wars
Cover image of The Great School Wars
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The Great School Wars

A History of the New York City Public Schools

Diane Ravitch
with a new introduction by the author

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Named one of the Ten Best Books about New York City by the New York Times



Eases quietly into a ferociously angry subject... Diane Ravitch affirms her faith in the American dream despite a detailed narrative which suggests, if anything, that education in New York has fairly consistently failed those who needed it most... Meticulously detailed and strains for fairness and impartiality.

This volume fills an enormous gap in the city's educational history... Scholars are not likely to demolish her principal theme—that the city's educational history reflects its demographic, political, and social history.

Ravitch asks us to recognize that the public schools cannot solve all the problems of society, and asks us to reconsider catchwords of the moment by reminding us that they echo the slogans of past failures. An excellent work.

A detailed, absorbing history of the New York City public schools within the context of politics.

Ravitch's writing is clear, crisp, unadorned, and forceful. The cast of characters and their achievements are neatly and economically sketched, and the pages enlivened with provocative asides... The public will find The Great School Wars a relevant and informative overview of a critical period, while scholars will be encouraged to look anew at New York's educational history.

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Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor in the School of Education at New York University and holds the Herman and George R. Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution. She was an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education, and she serves on the National Assessment Governing Board. Her publications include Learning from the Past: What History Teaches Us about School...