Longtime Fordham friend and acclaimed education historian Diane Ravitch, author of last year’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System, has agreed to showcase here a brief excerpt from her next best seller, Ravitching: Loving Myself as an Immortal, to be published by the L. Ron Hubbard Press in September.

In the fall of 2010, I decided to completely revamp my home-entertainment system. Best Buy was refusing to special order VHS tapes for me anymore, and I was starting to understand the benefits of surround sound and a speaker set. As part of that transition, I went through all of my old videos, boxing them up for storage and making room for the newer DVDs (of course, I couldn’t just get rid of them!). When I came across my old favorite, Risky Business, I had to pop it in the player and relive the joys. Watching the familiar plot unfold, however, I was struck by how unactualized Tom Cruise was in that movie. As I watched him slide across the screen, I wondered what had changed so much for Cruise in the past thirty years. What was the turning point in his life? And, more importantly, how could I have a similar conversion experience?

Then I got it: Scientology. That was—that is—the missing piece in my life, the truth I needed to see the world more broadly and understand the issues in our education system more deeply. In this book, I describe my path to discovering Scientology and making it part of me and me of it. And although I was not able to produce a silver bullet in The Death and Life of the Great American School System, I am confident that now, dear reader, I can offer you education-reform salvation.

Diane Ravitch, Ravitching: Loving Myself as an Immortal (Galactic Confederacy: L. Ron Hubbard Press, 2011).

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor at New York University and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

In 1993-94, she was a Visiting Fellow in Governmental Studies at Brookings. From 1991 to 1993, she served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education and was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S…

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