Winner of AERA Outstanding Book Award in 1998 "While she recognizes the necessity for school reform and the complexity of implementing it, Darling-Hammond remains optimistic that systemic changes to ensure access to a meaningful education for all children are possible. Her book is positive and hopeful and serves as a fascinating account of American education and its promise of 'the right to learn' for all children." --Washington Post "Darling-Hammond's central claim is well worth listening to. She argues that American students do so poorly by comparison with students in other industrialized countries not because we don't give them enough work, but because our teaching is less thoughtful, and because we are obsessed with bureaucratic processes rather than educational outcomes." --New York Times Book ReviewOne of the nation's most respected educators provides a vision of exceptional, learner-centered schools and describes the policies and practices that are needed to create these schools on a system-wide basis.
In recent years, education has become a battleground upon which different factions have spilled ideological blood over issues such as school vouchers, teacher certification, and standardized testing. In The Right to Learn
, leading educational figure Linda Darling-Hammond weighs in with her own views on progressive education. Darling-Hammond is from the old school of liberal education theory--she emphasizes the process of learning rather than testing. She believes that what's wrong with public schools today can, in great measure, be attributed to excessive bureaucratization--administrative red tape--that leaves teachers with little time for teaching. American children do worse than students from other industrialized nations, Darling-Hammond suggests, because the American educational system is predicated on a "factory model" that processes students instead of teaching them.
To create what Darling-Hammond calls "schools that work," she believes teachers must be prepared to collaborate more often and spend more time "teaching for understanding." This means a less programmed curriculum than the one most American schools currently follow, with more time for in-depth interaction between teachers and students, and students and subject matter. Darling-Hammond believes that educational reform starts with allowing teachers to get back to what they do best: teaching.