Eva Moskowitz loves to fight. She is doing it “for the kids.” She loves to defy authority. She enjoys facing off against the mayor and knocking him flat. She likes to break dishes and make noise. She sees herself as the ultimate rule-breaker, the epitome of defiance against the people in charge.

Writing in the New York Times, Lisa Miller of “New York” magazine reviews Eva’s memoir and puts her finger on the central paradox of the woman and her charter chain: How could Eva celebrate her own defiance while running schools built on the principle of unquestioning obedience to authority? How long would Eva have lasted in one of her own schools?

Miller finds the author unable to reflect on her life or her work. She is right and her critics are wrong, and she has the test scores to prove it.

“The Education of Eva Moskowitz” advertises itself as memoir, but it does not deliver on what memoirs promise, which is to say, self-revelation. Indeed, it hardly offers any kind of revelation at all. This is a shame, because the super-politicized world of education policy could use a sympathetic interpreter right now. Are charter schools the ultimate evil or the optimal solution? Do teachers’ unions protect kids or preserve entitlements? Are standardized tests useful, or are they racist, classist and corrosive to morale? There are no right (or single) answers to these questions, but a smart memoir from a passionate and iconoclastic advocate for children might serve as one insightful guide through the morass.

“Moskowitz is not the person for this job. Her instinct is to be adamant (and the inverse, thin-skinned). She is adamantly in favor of standardized tests. She is adamantly against teachers’ unions. She believes that a recent movement toward “community schools,” in which poor kids can get medical, nutritional and other services at school, is “nonsense,” and she rebuts the whole concept with an example of a Success student who was “hospitalized with a stroke but able to do her homework….”

“The Success Academy schools have been very successful in certain ways for certain kids, but unless their founder can talk clearly and sympathetically about the tangle of dysfunctions besetting public schools — including segregation, poverty, class, inequality, the effects of wealthy donors and unions on the education system and the disparate expectations of the stakeholders within it — she will always be just a local crusader with a chip on her shoulder.”