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The Right to Learn: A Blueprint for Creating Schools That Work

ISBN: 978-0-7879-5942-5
420 pages
August 2001, Jossey-Bass
The Right to Learn: A Blueprint for Creating Schools That Work (0787959421) cover image
Winner of AERA Outstanding Book Award in 1998

"While she recognizes the necessity for school reform and the complexity of implementing it, Darling-Hammond remains optimistic that systemic changes to ensure access to a meaningful education for all children are possible. Her book is positive and hopeful and serves as a fascinating account of American education and its promise of 'the right to learn' for all children."
Washington Post

"Darling-Hammond's central claim is well worth listening to. She argues that American students do so poorly by comparison with students in other industrialized countries not because we don't give them enough work, but because our teaching is less thoughtful, and because we are obsessed with bureaucratic processes rather than educational outcomes."
New York Times Book Review

One of the nation's most respected educators provides a vision of exceptional, learner-centered schools and describes the policies and practices that are needed to create these schools on a system-wide basis.

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Preface

Acknowledgments

The Author

1 The Right to Learn 1

2 The Limits of the Education Bureaucracy 37

3 What Matters for Teaching 69

4 Teaching and Learning for Understanding 96

5 Structuring Learner-Centered Schools 148

6 Staffing Schools for Teaching and Learning 177

7 Creating Standards Without Standardization 210

8 Ensuring Access to Knowledge 261

9 Building a Democratic Profession of Teaching 293

10 Conclusion: An Agenda for Re-Creating Public Education 330

References 339

Name Index 377

Subject Index 385

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LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, and executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. She lives in Stanford, California with her husband and three children.
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"In The Right to Learn, Linda Darling-Hammond gives readers a comprehensive, thoughtful look at the condition of American schooling and sets forth proposals for its improvement . . . . This well-organized and meticulously documented book presents an agenda for re-creating public education." (Washington Post)

"Darling-Hammond's central claim is well worth listening to. She argues that American students do so poorly by comparison with students in other industrialized countries not because we don't give them enough work, but because our teaching is less thoughtful, and because we are obsessed with bureaucratic processes rather than educational outcomes." (The New York Times Book Review)

"This is a very fine work-well argued, comprehensive, and authoritative. It will be treated as a Bible-or, more properly, a Constitution-by those seriously engaged in the improvement of American public education." (Howard Gardner, professor of education, Harvard University, and author of Leading Minds)

"If only I could get every American who claims to be concerned about our schools to read this thorough, readable, and brilliant book. Linda Darling-Hammond knows our schools as no one else does-as a scholar, hands-on researcher, practitioner, concerned citizen, and parent. She crosses all the boundaries that so often divide us. And all sides of her diverse strengths show in her work and in this extraordinary book. As a reader you'll love it, and you'll come away wise as well." (Deborah Meier, senior fellow, Annenberg Institute of School Reform, author of The Power of Their Ideas, and principal, The Mission Hill school, Boston)
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