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Assigning Blame: The Rhetoric of Education Reform

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9781612509723
Author(s): Mark Hlavacik
Format: Paperback
Year: 2016
Publisher: Harvard Education PR
Dimensions: 152 x 0 x 229 (w x l x h)
Pages: 216

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Despite a plethora of opinions on how to improve US education, a remarkable consensus 'from both the left, right, and center' has emerged that someone or something is to blame for the failures of the public school system, argues rhetoric scholar Mark Hlavacik in this new and insightful book examining the role of language and persuasion in the rise of the accountability movement. Analyzing five of the most prominent acts of public persuasion since the founding of the US Department of Education in 1979 - Milton Friedman's appeal for vouchers on national television; the National Commission on Excellence in Education's seminal Nation at Risk report; Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities; the No Child Left Behind Act; and also its repudiation by Diane Ravitch - Hlavacik concludes that 'blame has come to the fore as a chief means by which Americans dispute the future of their public schools'.
Hlavacik explores the implications of using blame to achieve policy goals, sounding a cautionary note for reformers and educators alike: while blame can be an effective, even positive tool for change, overuse can breed cynicism and undermine faith in the very institution that advocates seek to change. Hlavacik urges policy makers, scholars, educators, and the public to reconsider its favorite rhetorical tactic for pursuing education reform and offers alternatives to the overreliance on blame.

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