Article written by

David Hursh

For the last decade David Hursh’s writing and political organizing has focused on the dangers of high-stakes testing. His most recent book, High-Stakes Testing and the Decline of Teaching and Learning: The Real Crisis in Education (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008), situates the rise of high-stakes testing in states like Texas and New York, and at the federal level with No Child Left Behind within larger debates about the purposes of education and the nature of society. Marilyn Cochran-Smith, John E. Cawthorne Professor at Boston College, wrote: "In this unusual book, David Hursh combines rich recollections of classroom teaching with trenchant analysis of the "real crisis" in education today-the neoliberal package of high stakes testing, accountability, markets and privatization. The result is a deeply disturbing but compelling and original book that puts democratic education back where it should be--at the center of discussions about schools and schooling.” In 1998 Hursh helped start the Coalition for Common Sense in Education, a group of parents, students, and educators working to changed education policy through lobbying in Albany and hosting forums. Some of the speakers the Coalition has funded include Jonathan Kozol, Angela Valenzuela, Deborah Meier, Peter Sacks, Monty Neill, and Susan Ohanian. Since the publication of his book in March, Hursh has delivered invited talks to numerous groups, including the Rochester Teachers Association, Monroe County School Board Association, and in the Arts and Lectures series at SUNY-Cortland. This upcoming academic year he has been invited to present at universities across the United States. David Hursh is a Professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester.

3 Responses

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  1. Doug Aigner
    Doug Aigner at |

    As a teacher, another piece of the whole neoliberal educational puzzle that needs to be de-constructed is the whole DuFour school of educational management, that incessantly has advocated bringing “market forces” to bear on teachers and schools. It seems to be wholly inspired by Milton Friedman-esque thinking, and should therefore be ripe for attack just about now…

  2. David Hursh
    David Hursh at |

    Thanks for responding. Tell me more about where I can learn about the DuFour school of education management. I’m not familiar with it. It does sound worth deconstructing!

  3. Brian D. Barrett
    Brian D. Barrett at |

    Hi David:

    Well, apparently I haven’t followed the advice of my musical hero, Neil Young, to “keep on bloggin’ ‘til the lights go out,” because I have been meaning to reply to this for post a long time! While the current administration’s words and deeds concerning education are indeed disappointing, they certainly are not surprising. In fact, in a bit of social forecasting, I anticipated some of this disappointment in my response to your very first post here before the 2008 election ( We have seen this sort of thing before as, for example, Tony Blair more or less pushed Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal education reform (most particularly in England and Wales) even further following his election last decade. We are likely to continue to see it here in the United States and, maybe especially, here in New York where David Steiner’s recent excuses (which I believe are a cause for concern) for failing to secure first round Race To The Top funds include the legislature’s unwillingness to raise the cap on charter schools or to tie teacher evaluations to student “performance.”

    On a brighter note, though, what ultimately reminded me to respond to this entry was a recent article indicating that we might finally be doing something to address the economic inequalities that we know are so closely related to inequalities in educational outcomes and opportunity nationwide and that depress our educational achievement compared to other industrial nations (where the gap between rich and poor is most often not nearly as large as it is in the USA: So, while the educational policies currently being promoted may not hold the promise we’d like them to, health care reform might be expected to lead, in a roundabout way, to some positive results in education by at least beginning to address some of the root inequalities in the U.S. (though the promotion of standards, accountability and markets in education will of course get credit – by politicians from both major parties – for any of these positive results)!

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