Changing One’s Mind about School Reform

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The following post is an encore published nearly seven years ago. I have updated and added sections to it.

A few years ago, Diane Ravitch told (The Death and Life of the Great American School System) of her recent switch from championing school reforms (testing, accountability, and choice) as a federal policymaker, educational historian, and pundit to rejecting these policies. Ravitch’s turnaround got me thinking about what I had believed earlier in my career and believe now sixty years later.

I began teaching high school in 1955 filled with the passion to teach history to youth and help them find their niche in the world while making a better society. At that time, I believed wholeheartedly in words taken from John Dewey’s “Pedagogic Creed” (1897): “… education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

And I tried to practice those utopian words in my teaching in…

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