The release of a half-dozen prestigious reports on schooling in America has initiated, according to Secretary of Education T. H. Bell, “the greatest, most promising development since the turn of the century.” Schools are, again, big news.
Diane Ravitch, a serious neoconservative historian and educational writer, provides an intellectually respectable description of the circumstances that have, presumably, necessitated these “promising developments.” This is what gives her new book, The Troubled Crusade,’ its importance today and explains its extensive and positive reception. Although modest in tone, it builds a case for Bell’s agenda and provides background for other official reports. To understand its impact, let us see how it fits into the current educational hoopla, and then examine it on its own merits....
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