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The Flat World and Education: How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  672 ratings  ·  55 reviews
As America enters the 21st century, U.S. students continue to slip behind in the worlds rankings in science and math. Yet, at the same time, state prison budgets are increasing nearly three times as fast as budgets for education. In her new book, Linda Darling-Hammond, a chief education advisor to President Barack Obama, a bestselling author, and a nationally recognized le ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Teachers College Press
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Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
I found this a very hard book to read. Not that its style is difficult – it is quite beautifully written in parts and invariably very clear. But this is a book likeThe Death and Life of the Great American School System that I read at the start of this year or more recently Stop High-Stakes Testing. This is a book that causes a deep sense of despair about the American system of education and government and a fear that we may head down the same deeply wrong path.

The American education system is a
Robert Owen
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education, race
In “The Flat World and Education”, Linda Darling-Hammond makes the case for a radical rethinking of American public education. She advocates replacing the “factory” model schools originally designed to train students to function as laborers within an industrial / manufacturing context with “thinking” schools whose aim is to prepare students with the skills necessary to compete in the modern world’s information-driven economy.

She advocates a flexible, broad-based approach that deemphasizes stand
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book. It gives more statistics than you'll ever need, and makes the same points several times in several different ways. Although this makes it a long read, it gives lots of fodder for research papers!I love that I got a really clear picture of what really great education looks like and where the U.S. stands in relation to other countries. ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is another must read book...I even bought a copy of it. I think it is very important to understand the whys behind so many things. This books gives a comprehensive and understandable "why" behind why we should all care about the equity all American students should/must have. ...more
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
7: The part on all the problems the US education system has is too long, but I largely agree with her on the solutions.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a stake in American education
Recommended to Matt by: Dr. Troop
Chapter 1:

This is the book on American education I've been looking for! In 26 pages, Linda Darling-Hammond lays out the conditions of a system beleaguered with inequity. Chock full of shocking statistics and pulling no punches, this chapter serves as a wake-up call to a nation willingly turning its back on entire generations of American schoolchildren. Darling-Hammond tackles apartheid schooling, dismal test scores, Reagan's draconian budget cuts, decades of failed school reform policies, Americ
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve been reading this book for a grad school class, and I have to say that there are some wonderful ideas for reforming an education system that most believe has lost its way. From School leadership to policy at the highest level, Darling Hammond leaves no stone unturned. However, her reliance on charter schools as a solution is telling of when the book was written, as they were at the height of their trendiness. I am not saying that all charter schools are a bad idea, but at this point we all ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot of good information, and the thesis is solid, but after the fifty-seventh acronym for some school board committee or whatever, it can get a little dry.
Brian Condit
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must read for all teachers, administrators, and education policy makers
Connor Oswald
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful framework for improving learning systems across the country. I still have some issues but this has given me much to think about
Alyssa Greenberger
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overload but very important.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
It was an interesting read for anyone who is sincerely concerned about Equity in both the American and Global education system.
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Societies all over the globe are undergoing reform, jobs require more education now than ever before. In the 1900s only about 5% of jobs were knowledge work jobs in 2000 70% of jobs were knowledge work jobs. More teachers are having to prepare children for much more challenging work, as the demand for skills has changed drastically. These jobs require non routine jobs, not so many manual labor jobs.

Between 1999 and 2003 there was more new knowledge created in the world than in the years proceed
Abbi Dion
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended reading for everyone who lives in the United States. The section on Finland will blow your mind. As Darling-Hammond says, we know what needs to be done, and it isn't magical -- we just aren't doing it. FYI: In 1989, President George HW Bush and the 50 governors announced a set of national goals that included ranking first in the world in mathematics and science by the year 2000. However, by 2006, on the most recent international assessments conducted by the Program in International S ...more
Victoria Young
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In The Flat World and Education, professor Darling-Hammond questions our "Testing Without Investing" strategy and sets before the reader the idea of a "reciprocal accountability system" based on standards of practice, standards of learning, opportunity to learn standards (or school delivery standards), and standards for the system.

She clarifies the role of the state in evaluating outcomes and in helping localities make wise educational investments. And her chapter, "A Tale of Three States," cont
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Linda Darling-Hammond is one of the most respected education researchers in the country. She has focused on inequalities in education as well as overall best policies for national and state education policies. She led Obama's education development team during his campaign and transition process and should have been given the Secretary of Education position. Unfortunately, big money backed the non-educator pro basketball player, Arne Duncan, and we were sold out. Oh what Darling-Hammond could hav ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Both depressing and inspiring, Darling-Hammond lays out step-by-step the main things that the U.S. is (and isn't) doing that is causing the achievement gap to continue to grow wider. It's not that we don't know what works. She describes several American schools, districts and states that have made changes that produce results, and --surprise-- it doesn't have to do with disempowering teachers, privatization or high-stakes testing. Made me want to move to Finland and see what a national education ...more
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ug. Decent book for folks who need data/research to understand that our school system is a mess (especially for students of color). As a teacher I know this to be true and I'm desperate to change this situation; however, this book doesn't do much for me. It successfully reminded me how futile me and my work is in the grand scheme of things, but didn't spend much time (if any at all) looking at the ways and means teachers can use to create positive change. This is a great book for anybody in need ...more
Mary Gillis
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dr. Darling-Hammond would make a great Secretary of Education.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good book that provides a strong argument for why our schools are not working for all students, but has worked for some. Although most of this information is not new, Darling-Hammond argues in a way that is often overlooked, underestimated, and/or ignored. As she states..."for the United States to make progress on its long-standing inequalities, we will need to make the case to one another that none of us benefits by keeping any of us ignorant...." ...more
Ashley Szofer
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent book with rational potential solutions to many of our nation's widespread education inequality issues. It is definitely data analysis-heavy and would be a dry read for anyone not already interested in education policy, but it makes several worthy points with significant evidence to support them. This book made me wish I was going to Stanford instead of Harvard so that I could take a course with her. (Not really... I just would love to take a course with her). ...more
Tammy Doty
Aug 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: professional
Very interesting and makes you really think about all children having access and opportunities to meet grade level standards in spite of the various factors we can list. I would have gave it more stars if there wasn't so much research to have to read through. I didn't have to be convinced and it didn't help me understand the overall message. (Overall message was good). ...more
Jul 03, 2012 added it
Shelves: education
I can't finish this. It is well written and thoroughly researched, but it is already outdated and I couldn't get into it without feeling completely depressed. It would be a good read to better understand the flaws of NCLB, but since we are moving into a new era (RTTT) it seems dated. I am sure Darling-Hammond will write (or has already) about Race to the Top. ...more
Alonda Williams
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Linda does a great job of providing a great amount of stunning research, examples and solid recommendations . The book is not easy to get through because the facts are sad. I felt angry that, as a developed country, there is little accountability for the state of our progress in education. Linda offers real solutions
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, education
This is an education book every teacher, principal, & politician ought to read. It starts with the premise that we must have good schools by having and supporting good teachers. It debunks most of the blatant conservative, political lies governing GOP views of competition, charter schools, breaking unions, & punishing teachers & schools. A must read & implement book for true educators!
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, teaching
My undergrads and I muscled our way through this very dense book; perhaps I even enjoyed it more than they did. If I teach this course again, I might defer to using excerpts as opposed to the whole thing. It was very overwhelming for some of them, even with scaffolded class discussion and supplemental materials.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very informative and eye-opening read. Darling-Hammond comes from a perspective I had not considered before and provides insight into the successful schools systems of Finland, Singapore and South Korea. My only concern is the reality of implementing a similar system in the US. Darling-Hammond explains what should be done but doesn't provide insight into the reality of making it happen. ...more
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Like a powerhouse trial lawyer, Darling-Hammond has marshaled a preponderance of overwhelming research, case studies, data, and testimonies about what works, what doeesn't, and what we need to do to ensure "education for the public good that serves the good of the public." ...more
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent. This book took me a long time to read. I kept having to put it down because the stats were so depressing during the first half of the book. Educators and policy makers, especially policy makers, need to read this.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this for class. Darling-Hammond kept the text moving, which is difficult when trying to impart as much research as she did. She has great perspectives on what needs to change in the educational community, but also seems to have an idealists view of how to make that happen.
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“Of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5,000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental…. The freedom to learn … has been bought by bitter sacrifice. And whatever we may think of the curtailment of other civil rights, we should fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn, the right to have examined in our schools not only what we believe, but what we do not believe; not only what our leaders say, but what the leaders of other groups and nations, and the leaders of other centuries have said. We must insist upon this to give our children the fairness of a start which will equip them with such an array of facts and such an attitude toward truth that they can have a real chance to judge what the world is and what its greater minds have thought it might be. —W.E.B. DuBois” 2 likes
“the nature of work will continue to change ever more rapidly. During much of the 20th century, most workers held two or three jobs during their lifetimes. However, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that many of today’s workers will hold more than 10 jobs before they reach the age of 40.2 The top 10 in-demand jobs projected for 2010 did not exist in 2004.3 Thus, the new mission of schools is to prepare students to work at jobs that do not yet exist, creating ideas and solutions for products and problems that have not yet been identified, using technologies that have not yet been invented.” 1 likes
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