Monday, August 08, 2011

Education policy-making as farce

STOP THE PRESSES!  Steve Brill, author of two seminal articles, Rubber Room in The New Yorker ( and The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand in the NYT Magazine (, has written a brilliant new book about the rise of education reformers and the ed wars called Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools (  I don't have time to review it right now, but will in the future once the book is out (within 1-2 weeks).  In the meantime, here's Jay Mathews's review:

I like writing about classrooms. I think state and national education politics, by comparison, are irrelevant and trivial. Steven Brill, in his new book "Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools," wants to prove me wrong. He may have done so.

The book is about the U.S. Education Department and school superintendents and teacher union leaders in New York, Denver, Florida, New Orleans and the District wallowing in regulations and legislation and memoranda of understanding. What a bore, I thought. I put it in the bathroom, my spot for stuff my job forces me to read. Within the first few pages, I was taking the book everywhere — the supermarket checkout line, the dinner table, the movies.

It is funny, exciting, surprising and deep. Brill is a remarkable person, a reporter who became a mogul, creating American Lawyer magazine, Court TV, Brill's Content magazine and Press+, a new business model for journalism online. But he still likes reporting.

Even his footnotes should not be missed.


Posted at 04:56 PM ET, 07/28/2011

Education policy-making as farce

By Jay Mathews

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