Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education

Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education

by John Merrow


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The prize-winning PBS correspondent's provocative antidote to America’s misguided approaches to K-12 school reform

During an illustrious four-decade career at NPR and PBS, John Merrow—winner of the George Polk Award, the Peabody Award, and the McGraw Prize—reported from every state in the union, as well as from dozens of countries, on everything from the rise of district-wide cheating scandals and the corporate greed driving an ADD epidemic to teacher-training controversies and America’s obsession with standardized testing. Along the way, he taught in a high school, at a historically black college, and at a federal penitentiary.

Now, the revered education correspondent of PBS NewsHour distills his best thinking on education into a twelve-step approach to fixing a K–12 system that Merrow describes as being “addicted to reform” but unwilling to address the real issue: American public schools are ill-equipped to prepare young people for the challenges of the twenty-first century.

This insightful book looks at how to turn digital natives into digital citizens and why it should be harder to become a teacher but easier to be one. Merrow offers smart, essential chapters—including “Measure What Matters,” and “Embrace Teachers”—that reflect his countless hours spent covering classrooms as well as corridors of power. His signature candid style of reportage comes to life as he shares lively anecdotes, schoolyard tales, and memories that are at once instructive and endearing.

Addicted to Reform is written with the kind of passionate concern that could come only from a lifetime devoted to the people and places that constitute the foundation of our nation. It is a “big book” that forms an astute and urgent blueprint for providing a quality education to every American child.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620972410
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 08/15/2017
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Merrow recently retired as education correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. He founded and until 2015 was the president of Learning Matters, a nonprofit media company. In 2012 Merrow became the first journalist to win the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education. He lives with his wife in New York City and his books include Addicted to Reform (The New Press), Choosing Excellence, Declining by Degrees, and The Influence of Teachers.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: Before Entering Treatment xxv

Step 1 Own the Problem 1

Step 2 Calculate the Cost of Reform 21

Step 3 Don't Pay the Price 53

Step 4 Ask the Right Question 67

Step 5 Make Connections 83

Step 6 Start Early 105

Step 7 Expect More 119

Step 8 Embrace Technology (Carefully) 133

Step 9 Embrace "Outsiders" (Enthusiastically) 151

Step 10 Embrace Teachers (Respectfully) 161

Step 11 Measure What Matters 195

Step 12 Choose a New Path 223

Acknowledgments 231

Notes 235

Index of Names 273

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