John Thompson Reviews John Merrow’s “Addicted to Reform,” and Loves It!

By dianeravitch

John Thompson, historian and teacher in Oklahoma, Reviews John Merrow’s ADDICTED TO REFORM:


In “Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education”, John Merrow lets it all out. Merrow, the winner of the George Polk Award and two George Foster Peabody Awards, leads us down “Memory Lane,” republishing his astonishing journalism that predates “A Nation at Risk,” and its warning against “a rising tide of mediocrity.” He also recalls successful innovators such as James Comer, E.D. Hirsch, Deborah Meier, and Henry Levin.
ADDICTED TO REFORM by John Merrow | Kirkus Reviews
But Merrow shows how high stakes testing dramatically increased our output of mediocre and even worse lessons for our kids. He tells us how the bubble-in reform “mania” got to a point where a principal told his teachers to “motor down,” to stop teaching 11th grade material to high-performing freshmen in order to prepare for the 9th grade test. Even more despicable was cancelling an annual kindergarten play so five-year-olds could spend more time becoming “college and career ready.”

The veteran reporter, with four decades of experience at NPR and PBS, reviews the way that test and punish “went into high gear during [the] Bush and Obama” administrations, when “‘regurgitation education’ became the order of the day.” Accountability-driven, competition-driven reformers turned schools into dreary places for “parroting back answers, while devaluing intellectual curiosity, cooperative learning, projects, field trips, the arts, physical education and citizenship.”

Merrow recalls the legacies of “blindly worshipping test scores.” Under Arne Duncan, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, et. al and with funding by the “Billionaires Boys Club,” test scores became more than “the holy grail.” Merrow concludes, “Test scores are their addiction, the equivalent of crack cocaine, oxycodone, or crystal meth.”

Given Merrow’s influential coverage of corporate reform abuse in Washington D.C., it is no surprise that his …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core