Skeptics will argue that this is a pipe dream; despite a carefully outlined budget in the appendix, it’s a valid point....

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KIDS FIRST

FIVE BIG IDEAS FOR TRANSFORMING CHILDREN'S LIVES AND AMERICA'S FUTURE

A comprehensive, community-based plan for education and child development.

It's been 15 years since Hillary Clinton said that it takes a village to raise a child, but so far, no one's been able to figure out how to make that happen. Kirp (Public Policy/Univ. of California, Berkeley; The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics, 2007, etc.) provides five concrete action items for society to adopt to ensure that children don’t fall through the cracks. This isn't strictly an education book—in fact, as the author writes in his first point, starting in schools is too late. Rather, we need to equip parents with the tools they need to care for their children from birth. His second point focuses on early-childhood education, a crucial time in child development that Kirp argues is often overlooked. His answer to the traditional school model is a more community-based structure in which schools are fully integrated into a student's life. Fourth, the author argues for the value of volunteers and the impact that mentors and other adults can have on a child's life. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Kirp stresses the necessity of making sure children have a nest egg or savings plan to finance higher education. The author backs his theories with countless examples of successful private and publicly funded programs that have taken on separate pieces of this plan, from Big Brothers Big Sisters to the I Have a Dream Foundation. While these programs have proven fruitful for certain tenets of the plan for certain groups, the key to Kirp’s treatise is uniformity: All children should have access to all of these opportunities—without that, success is almost arbitrary.

Skeptics will argue that this is a pipe dream; despite a carefully outlined budget in the appendix, it’s a valid point. However, the author provides an important, well-researched wake-up call, and any part of it that educators and lawmakers take into account is worthwhile.

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58648-947-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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