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By John Thompson. David Callahan’s The Givers begins with the first politicized think tanks of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the American Enterprise Institute. Callahan may be right and the AEI may have been one of the more intellectually honest of the conservative alternatives to academic research, but still it …

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By John Thompson. When Dale Russakoff conceived of The Prize, she “viewed education reform from a distance but as a movement full of promise.”  She was eager to follow the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million matching gift to the Newark schools.  The subtitle, “Who’s in Charge of …

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By John Thompson. When Dale Russakoff conceived of The Prize, she “viewed education reform from a distance but as a movement full of promise.”  She was eager to follow the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million matching gift to the Newark schools.  The subtitle of this invaluable book is, …

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By John Thompson. With The Game Believes in You, Greg Toppo joins the ranks of great authors like Anya Kamenetz and James Paul Gee, who articulate a new, dynamic, creative, and holistic path to 21st– century schools. Like Kamenetz, Toppo shows how assessments embedded in computer games could inform …

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By John Thompson. The famed novelist, Toni Morrison, writes: I’ve been wondering who might fill in the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. …

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By Jameson Brewer and Sarah Matsui. What are counter-narratives? And why are they significant in the conversation?     Counter-narratives are essentially “little stories” of individuals and groups of people whose knowledge and histories have been excluded from the telling of official narratives (Giroux, …

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By John Thompson. The 50th anniversary of Jonathan Kozol’s Death at an Early Age comes as we confront the horror of the Charleston, S.C. massacre and the epidemic of police killings of unarmed blacks. At a time like this, it is best to read Kozol’s masterpiece on its own, without using it as evidence for any …

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By John Thompson. Anya Kamenetz’s The Test comes from the conversation she’s had again and again with parents. She and they have “seen how high-stakes standardized tests are stunting children’s spirits, adding stress to family life, demoralizing teachers, undermining schools, paralyzing the education …

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By John Thompson. Yong Zhao’s Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? is a wake-up call. Zhao warns of a “rising tide of authoritarianism” which test-driven reformers have released on American education. He explains how “high-stakes testing is America’s Faustian bargain.” It risks our greatest democratic …