University of Rochester

Hursh Releases Book on High-Stakes Testing; Signing and Reading Set for March 1

January 28, 2008

Author, educator, and education policy expert David Hursh has written his newest book, High-Stakes Testing and the Decline of Teaching and Learning: The Real Crisis in Education (Rowman and Littlefield, $24.95), which releases this week. A book signing and reading, hosted by Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Pittsford Plaza, will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 1.

Hursh, an associate professor at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education, has written the book as an autobiographical memoir of his 40-year career as an educator in both K-12 schools and in higher education. The book uncovers how over the last decade New York State and then the federal government, through No Child Left Behind, have imposed increased testing and other regulations on students and teachers.

Hursh discusses how these reforms have resulted in less, not more learning, as the curriculum has been made easier and how teachers are being deprofessionalized as they have less input into the curriculum. He also describes why such regressive reforms have occurred and what educators, parents, and community members can do to improve schools.

Gloria Ladson-Billings, Professor and Kellner Family Chair of Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, states that this book has given us the most compelling reason to challenge today's high-stakes testing mania. "By moving from his personal story of exploring the real meaning of schooling in a democracy, Hursh explores the impact of high-stakes testing and draconian accountability measures in the widening circles of local, state, and international schooling," says Ladson-Billings. "You must read this to understand the contours of this important debate."

Over the last decade, Hursh has been writing and speaking about the hazards of high-stakes testing and the impact it has had on teaching and learning. He co-edited the book, Democratic Social Education: Social Studies for Social Change (Falmer, 2000), with E. Wayne Ross, and has published more than 60 journal articles and chapters appearing in edited books.

In addition to his duties as a professor of teaching and curriculum, Hursh serves on several editorial boards, including both sections of the American Educational Research Journal and Policy Futures in Education, and on the board of reviewers for the Journal of Teacher Education. He is active in many local and international educational reform efforts, including Rochester's Coalition for Common Sense in Education, a grassroots coalition, which he helped start, of parents, teachers, administrators, and higher education faculty and researchers who are committed to critiquing and organizing against the use of high-stakes testing in schools.

Note to editors: A digital image of David Hursh and his book are available by calling (585) 275-0777 or e-mailing

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its Ed.D. programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.