Praise for After the Education Wars:"After the Education Wars offers a series of powerful counternarratives that challenge the deeply flawed, corporate-based school reform movement. . . . this is a useful, and exceedingly timely, book."Democracy & Education"In her book After the Education Wars, Andrea Gabor shows how business reforms have hurt public education, impeded teaching and learning, and alienated students and families. Just as important, she highlights schools that have pushed back against privatization and the relentless focus on accountability by 'creating a climate of trust and respect' among educators and local communities."American Educator"The education wars have been demoralizing for teachers. . . . After the Education Wars helps us to see a better way forward."Cathy N. Davidson, The New York Times Book Review"This book belongs alongside Diane Ravitch's works on education, and Dale Russakoff's The Prize. It will appeal to serious readers seeking to understand the current state of education reform, how it's practiced, the pitfalls, and what does and doesn't work."Library Jounal (Starred Review)"[After the Education Wars is] a truly excellent and thoughtful book . . . that should be read by everyone with an interest in our schools."George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001"I hope you will buy and read Andrea Gabor's After the Education Wars . . . . Gabor's chapter on New Orleans is a masterpiece of journalism and investigative reporting."Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error and The Death and Life of the Great American School System"A must-read for educators, superintendents, and policy leaders."Rakesh Khurana, professor of leadership development, Harvard Business School, and author of From Higher Aims to Hired Hands "Gabor convincingly argues that teachers, principals, and community members have already answered many of the educational questions with which so many continue to grapple. Read this book. Again and again, read this book."Noliwe Rooks, director of American studies, Cornell University, and author of Cutting School "Drawing on a fascinating and diverse set of cases, Andrea Gabor reflects on how schools in the United States can provide a quality public education for all."Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of The Disciplined Mind "This book belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in genuine education reform."David L. Kirp, professor of public policy, UC Berkeley, and author of Improbable Scholars "A radical departure from the top-down models educational reformers have been imposing on schools for a generation."Peter Cappelli, professor of management, the Wharton School, and author of Will College Pay Off? "A seamless, searing critique of paradigm encroachment and an enlightened path forward."Samuel E. Abrams, director, National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, and author of Education and the Commercial Mindset "Compelling and highly readable."Richard D. Kahlenberg, author of Tough Liberal Praise for Andrea Gabor's The Capitalist Philosophers:"Well-balanced portraits…[Gabor] has a good eye for the revealing details."Harvard Business Review"A sweeping account of management in the twentieth century."Publishers WeeklyPraise for Andrea Gabor's The Man Who Discovered Quality:"Accessible and enjoyable."Business Week"A must for all business collections."Library JournalPraise for Andrea Gabor's Einstein's Wife:"Combines excellent research with lively writing."Publishers Weekly
Corporate reformers undermine public education.Joining the debate about school reform that has erupted in recent books enthusiastically for and passionately against charter schools, the Common Core, and assessment by testing, Gabor (Chair, Business Journalism/Baruch Coll., CUNY; The Capitalist Philosophers: The Geniuses of Modern Business—Their Lives, Times, and Ideas, 2000, etc.) mounts a strong argument for "a well-designed, collaborative, trust-based approach" to change. Citing reform efforts in Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana, and New York, the author takes aim at charter schools and the "handful of wealthy, unelected, mostly out-of-town organizations and benefactors" who champion them. In New Orleans, an already troubled public school system responded to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by turning to charter schools without ever engaging parents or teachers. Most charters, such as the much-touted Sci Academy, focused on test preparation and instituted a no-excuses policy that caused many students to be suspended or drop out; the charters were staffed largely by inexperienced teachers, trained "in highly regimented routines" designed to foster "order and security." Gabor criticizes the Common Core for favoring easily assessed subjects such as math and grammar, forcing schools to minimize civics and literature, two subjects that she believes are essential in a democracy. Moreover, rating and funding schools through their students' test scores has fomented corruption and cheating among administrators and teachers, whose jobs may be vulnerable to test outcomes. The "testing mania," Gabor asserts, "has dumbed down education." Among successful reform efforts, the author profiles Manhattan's Julia Richman High School, which adopted a small-school strategy of four schools within a larger complex. Teachers had decisive input, and the school established a trusted relationship with the teachers union. Similarly, at Central Park East, "open-classroom pedagogy and democratic governance" resulted in success. In Brockton, Massachusetts, the city's benighted high school was revived through the efforts of a strong local leader who marshaled widespread community cooperation. In 2016, Massachusetts defeated a ballot initiative to lift the cap on charter schools.A vigorous study of how school reform requires vigilance, collaboration, and a capacious definition of true learning.
In this extensively researched book, Gabor (journalism, Baruch Coll.; The Man Who Discovered Quality) examines corporate education reform by looking at systems thinkers such as W. Edwards Deming, the subject of the author's first book. Gabor feels that wrong business models are applied to school reform. By incorporating participative, collaborative, democratic, and continuous improvement approaches, schools and school districts will achieve meaningful progress. Bolstering Gabor's arguments are case studies of specific New York, Massachusetts, New Orleans, and Texas schools. Going beyond summarizing strengths and weaknesses, the author demonstrates outcomes by following up with graduates' successes and failures and doesn't shy away from analyzing the political climates that produced various attempts at reform. Throughout, Gabor stresses grassroots involvement, accountability, the importance of civics, active teacher participation, increased experimentation, reduced emphasis on standardized testing, and constructive decision-making. VERDICT This book belongs alongside Diane Ravitch's works on education, and Dale Russakoff's The Prize. It will appeal to serious readers seeking to understand the current state of education reform, how it's practiced, the pitfalls, and what does and doesn't work.—Jacqueline Snider, Toronto