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February 22, 2011

Book review: The Language Police.

How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (Diane Ravitch)

This intensely thought-provoking book from educational historian Diane Ravitch takes a look at the politicization of not only the textbook industry but of education itself.

Through her research, Ravitch indicts both right wing and left wing groups for watering down the education of American children with the apparent intent of raising test scores, but with the result of making education bland, boring, and seemingly meaningless. Affecting not only English and literature textbooks, but also social studies, science, and even math, censors and those with a political agenda manage to turn education into a banal exercise in rote memorization while discouraging critical discourse and discovery.

Highly recommended for teachers, parents, students, writers, editors…for anyone with even a passing interest in the education of American youth. From Alfred A. Knopf and available from your local, independent bookstore. (Shop local, shop independent, and tell ‘em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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