One of the '70's' most sweeping and plausible proposals for educational reform, elaborated by the Dean of Education at the...

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PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF CHOICE

One of the '70's' most sweeping and plausible proposals for educational reform, elaborated by the Dean of Education at the New Paltz branch of the State University of New York. Parents would select from a range of open-to-conventional classrooms, or whole schools within schools, all of which would remain public schools, officially forbidding racial or IQ discrimination. Fantini makes it sound marvelous. Yet critics will raise any number of questions. Fantini insists that education must make do with its present funds, but use them better. At the same time, he is quite rapturous about the ethnicity emphasis of various existing alternative schools. So why wouldn't Chicano parents battle, for instance, black parents for more of the shrinking budget? Also, parents worried about our high unemployment, which Fantini fails to mention, would be eager to get their children into the work-study programs he recommends. Wonderful, says Fantini: poor white Oregon kids are building houses for school credit -- but what are their construction-worker uncles and jobless older brothers supposed to do, sit home and read Euripides? How much care will actually be given to teaching the kids to read anything but manuals? Fantini describes foundation-funded pilot projects like the one in the Berkeley school system in terms of a college-catalogue rainbow. At your home-town junior high without Ford money the ""open"" plan might simply speed vocational tracking and racial division. Undoubtedly, regimented public schools should be shaken up, but there are grounds for thinking that, in practice, Fantini's plan would move away from the goal of first-rate education for every citizen.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973