The Death and Life of the Great American School System, How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

The Death and Life of the Great American School System, How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education Diane Ravitch, Basic Books, 2010   Review by Graham Mulligan   Two key ideas are presented at the start of this book, the collapse of communism and its corollary, the victory of the free market and “seeing like a state” policymaking, which is really planning for the future based on a theory of

The Price of Civilization – Economics and Ethics After the Fall

The Price of Civilization – Economics and Ethics After the Fall Jeffrey Sachs, Random House, 2011   Sachs says, “Much of this book is about the social responsibility of the rich” and about society’s shared values and the need to plan ahead to achieve common goals. The book is also a diagnosis of the failure of the American economy to achieve society’s common goals since the 1970’s and makes recommendations

How the West Was Lost, Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead

How the West Was Lost, Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead; Dambisa Moyo   “once an idea is out it can be used and improved upon by anyone, anywhere, an idea has a marginal cost of zero”   This quote is referring to the spinoffs from the magnificent technology that enabled the Apollo moon landing in July 1969. I was a vagabond watching it on

Class Warfare; Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools

Class Warfare; Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools Steven Brill, Simon & Schuster, 2011   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   This book is a blatant union bashing political rant masquerading as an insider look at America’s education struggles. I found it very awkwardly written with its eighty-plus ‘chapters’, which were sometimes a page and a half long. There is very little effort made by the author to present the

River Town

River Town – Two Years on the Yantze by Peter Hessler (2001) Reviewed by Graham Mulligan I left a copy of this book in the apartment in Xiamen for teachers to read. The book is about the author’s 2-year stay in Fuling, Sichuan Province, in 1996-98, as part of a Peace Corps project to teach English and American literature to prospective teachers at the local Normal School. Hessler’s book is