An informative and enlightening appraisal of the regimented tests that American schoolchildren of all ages are subjected to...

THE TEST

WHY OUR SCHOOLS ARE OBSESSED WITH STANDARDIZED TESTING—BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE

New debates about the worthiness of standardized testing in schools.

Beginning with a comprehensive history of standardized testing, NPR education blogger Kamenetz (DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, 2010, etc.) shows how this method of analysis morphed into standard practice in the American school system to assess the abilities of students and teachers alike. The author identifies 10 major problems associated with this form of testing, including the fact that these tests analyze the wrong data, waste time and money, put undue stress on students, parents and teachers, cause teaching to the test and disregard the diversity of the test-takers. When the Common Core State Standards initiative takes effect in 2015, American students will be subjected to even more tests, which Kamenetz believes will only exacerbate the problems already identified with this method. Not only are standardized tests asking the wrong questions, but they are being used the wrong way: “as a single, stand-alone measure of the performance of teachers, students, schools, and districts.” Using thorough research and illuminating interviews, the author provides readers with effective solutions to implement on both the individual level—opt out of taking standardized tests or work on individual projects that emphasize a variety of skills, not just language arts and math—and the national level, where assessments of student performance should be used for the greater good of the community as well as the individual. With abundant data assembled in an accessible format, the book is a must-read for anyone in the educational system or any parent who has a child old enough to enter preschool. The author amply shows why the current process of evaluation must be upgraded to meet future needs.

An informative and enlightening appraisal of the regimented tests that American schoolchildren of all ages are subjected to taking on a regular basis.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1610394413

Page Count: 272

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after...

HOW NOT TO HATE YOUR HUSBAND AFTER KIDS

Self-help advice and personal reflections on avoiding spousal fights while raising children.

Before her daughter was born, bestselling author Dunn (Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask, 2009, etc.) enjoyed steady work and a happy marriage. However, once she became a mother, there never seemed to be enough time, sleep, and especially help from her husband. Little irritations became monumental obstacles between them, which led to major battles. Consequently, they turned to expensive couples' therapy to help them regain some peace in life. In a combination of memoir and advice that can be found in most couples' therapy self-help books, Dunn provides an inside look at her own vexing issues and the solutions she and her husband used to prevent them from appearing in divorce court. They struggled with age-old battles fought between men and women—e.g., frequency of sex, who does more housework, who should get up with the child in the middle of the night, why women need to have a clean house, why men need more alone time, and many more. What Dunn learned via therapy, talks with other parents, and research was that there is no perfect solution to the many dynamics that surface once couples become parents. But by using time-tested techniques, she and her husband learned to listen, show empathy, and adjust so that their former status as a happy couple could safely and peacefully morph into a happy family. Readers familiar with Dunn's honest and humorous writing will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at her own semi-messy family life, and those who need guidance through the rough spots can glean advice while being entertained—all without spending lots of money on couples’ therapy.

A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after the birth of their child.

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-26710-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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