Tilting at Windmills

Tilting at Windmills School Reform, San Diego, and America’s Race to Renew Public Education

Richard Lee Colvin
cloth, 296 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-565-7
Price: $49.95

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Pub. Date: April 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-566-4
paper, 296 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-564-0
Price: $33.00

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A book that draws equally on Richard Lee Colvin’s deep acquaintance with contemporary education reform and the unique circumstances of the San Diego experience, Tilting at Windmills is a penetrating and invaluable account of Alan Bersin’s contentious superintendency.


Change is complicated, especially when it involves power politics, a defensive status quo, and a bona fide attempt to significantly transform teaching and learning throughout an entire school district. Richard Lee Colvin looks at the reforms unleashed by San Diego Schools Superintendent Alan Bersin from the perspective of the change-agent leader. It is a fascinating vantage point that sheds tremendous light on how things really work within public education. — Joe Williams, director, Democrats for Education Reform

Anyone interested in knowing what education reform and the struggles to achieve it actually look like at the ground level should read this book. Most everything else I read is baloney; this is the real deal. — Michael Casserly, executive director, Council of the Great City Schools

Colvin provides a comprehensive account of the events contributing to public education reform in San Diego through an evaluative lens. The resulting San Diego endeavor is evaluated with an objective lens across many levels and offers readers a clear opportunity to appraise the reforms independently. — G. Moreno, Choice Magazine

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About the Author

Richard Lee Colvin is a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He is the former executive director of Education Sector, and previously directed the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University. Under his leadership, the Institute created the Hechinger Report, a source of in-depth, nonpartisan journalism about education.

Previously, he wrote about national education issues for the Los Angeles Times, where he was a reporter and editor for fourteen years, and also wrote for the Associated Press. Additionally, he reported on education for the Oakland Tribune and the Hayward Daily Review in California.

E-book available through online booksellers

Table of Contents

Interview with Author

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