In the Name of Excellence: The Struggle to Reform the Nation's Schools, Why It's Failing, and What Should Be Done
by Thomas Toch
In the Name of Excellence is the first in-depth report card on the nation's vast drive during the past decade to reform its troubled public schools. ... Show synopsis In the Name of Excellence is the first in-depth report card on the nation's vast drive during the past decade to reform its troubled public schools. Written by Thomas Toch, one of America's leading educational journalists, it offers an informative, revealing, and provocative commentary on a topic essential to the nation's economic and social well-being: the crisis in our schools. Drawing on a rich store of research that includes visits to nearly sixty public schools nationwide and hundreds of interviews conducted from the classroom to the White House, Toch has produced a book of impressive breadth, offering readers the full story of today's school reform movement, from its early political battles in the states to the current debate over restructuring the schools. He measures the movement's progress in clear and compelling prose, explaining which reforms have worked and why, on balance, the so-called educational excellence movement has failed to achieve its primary goal: teaching tough academic subjects to a far broader range of the nation's high school students. Toch provides a host of important insights into the reform movement. He reveals, for instance, that there is strong opposition within the ranks of public educators to the movement's academic aims, that the damage inflicted on the nation's students by standardized testing is far greater than has been generally reported, and that new graduation requirements have failed millions of students. Toch also provides a detailed account--the first since the onset of the reform movement--of the role played by the powerful National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, while shedding new light on controversial topics such as school choice and why students drop out of school. Finally, and of crucial importance to all who are committed to improving our schools, the book proposes a further agenda for the nation's school reformers. Public education today stands at a crucial crossroads. In the Name of Excellence explains why, and reveals the prospects for the nation's schools in the years ahead. It is essential reading for parents, educators, and policymakers alike.