Everything in New York is locked,"" this regrettably accurate book begins, and ""Schools are no exception."" Betts, a...

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ACTING OUT: Life in Big City Schools

Everything in New York is locked,"" this regrettably accurate book begins, and ""Schools are no exception."" Betts, a fugitive after ten years as teacher and administrator, suggests that Acting Out is appropriate in a system that won't pass any test, and his humorous, anecdotal observations will easily slide into place, alongside roll books and lunch debris, in urban teachers' rooms. For Betts knows what teachers' colleges rarely mention: that the head custodian and payroll secretary carry more clout than the principal, that tenure now is an endurance test, that PA systems are as disruptive as classroom fights, and that in some schools the Board of Education is a wooden paddle. Furthermore, he justly gives bathrooms and corridors their extracurricular credits, and devotes whole chapters to daily preoccupations like clothes, smells, and the teachers who never get air time: rookies (""Beginning to teach is like coming into puberty a second time"") and substitutes, including the near-legendary West Side wonder, No Drawers. Albert Shanker is fingered for unionizing inflexibility, both by Betts and admiring Introduction writer John Holt, but this essentially is exasperated recapitulation rather than outraged expose. A sad/funny view of Kotter country, keen-edged and, like all those kids who can't read on grade level, likely to be passed along.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 1978

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1978