"New Schools for a New Century" by Diane Ravitch

New Schools for a New Century The Redesign of Urban Education Diane Ravitch, Joseph P. Viteritti

Publication date:
11 Mar 1999
Yale University Press
336 pages: 235 x 156mm

As we cross the threshold of a new century, which approaches are likely to improve public education? In this book, distinguished scholars discuss recent innovations—charter schools, contracting arrangements, and choice—designed to liberate educators from burdensome bureaucratic controls and improve the level of opportunity for all children.

Focusing on the problems in cities, where far too many children have been denied access to quality institutions, the authors examine the lessons to be learned from Catholic schools, site-based management, private entrepreneurs, and specific developments in three cities—New York, Milwaukee, and Chicago. The authors, though realistic about the political and institutional obstacles that stand in the way of meaningful change, foresee the demise of the "one size fits all" approach to schooling. They envision a system of schools that is dynamic, diverse, performance based, and accountable; one that is supportive of professionals, responsive to creativity, intolerant of failure, and committed to high educational standards for all children.


Louann Bierlein

Anthony Bryk

John Chubb

Chester Finn

Paul Hill

Valerie Lee

Paul Peterson

Diane Ravitch

Joseph P. Viteritti

Priscilla Wohlstetter

Diane Ravitch is a senior research scholar at New York University and holds the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution. She served as assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education from 1991 to 1993. She is the author of six books, including The Great School Wars, The Troubled Crusade, and National Standards in American Education. Joseph P. Viteritti is a research professor of public administration at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He has served as special assistant to the chancellor of the New York City public schools and was a senior adviser to the superintendents of schools in San Francisco and Boston. He is the author of three books, including Across the River: Politics and Education in the City.

"An excellent book that presents a strong and consistent argument for major urban school reform."?Nathan Glazer, Harvard University

"The authors tackle the unenviable task of offering reasonable solutions to some of the seemingly intractable problems of urban schools, and in the process they make a series of significant contributions to the ongoing debate on urban school reform?.Taken as a whole [this book] provides a provocative and stimulating ride."?Kevin B. Smith, American Political Science Review

"The authors touch on virtually all the 'outside-the-box' innovations in schooling. . . . Taken together, the essays constitute a powerful argument that the schools will never change . . . unless they are challenged from the outside."?James Traub, New York Times Book Review

"[The authors] present a surprisingly upbeat compilation of the many efforts underway to redesign urban schools. . . . Common among all the experiments put forth in New Schools are the following conclusions: anonymous factory-style schooling doesn't work anymore; educators need autonomy to make decisions, as befits professionals; all parents should have a range of choices in selecting schools for their children; and, the ultimate goal of school reform is twofold?to strengthen public education and improve student performance."?Catherine Hill, Boston Book Review

"[The editors] have done a good job. If you're puzzled by education reformers, the book will give you a useful introduction to what these reformers are arguing about."?Martin Morse Wooster, Washington Times

"This thoughtful and well-balanced collection of essays is a powerful argument and practical guide for how American can reinvent and redesign not only its urban schools but all its schools."?Bruno V. Manno, Indianapolis, IN Star

"I strongly recommend this book to every student who is interested in the politics and policy of school reform in U.S. cities."?Kenneth K. Wong, Urban Affairs Review