SCHOOLS THAT WORK

AMERICA'S MOST INNOVATIVE PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Wood (Education/Ohio Univ.) visits schools and classrooms that are concerned with teaching children, not with satisfying bureaucrats. The children and teachers in N.Y.C.'s pioneering Central Park East Secondary School seem to be so often visited by journalists, researchers, and education specialists that it's hard to imagine they have time for schooling. In this case, Wood spent time at CPESS, as well as at elementary and high schools in New Hampshire (where students of the Thayer School mobilized to head off a toxic- waste site and honed reading, writing, science, and math skills in the process); Georgia (where students produce the renowned Foxfire magazine); Illinois (where parents are an integral part of the workings of Hubbard Woods), and less heralded institutions in Wisconsin and Ohio. The author reports his conversations and observations with warmth—and with the strong conviction that schools should not be factories to assemble future workers, but centers where children can learn to function as informed and thoughtful citizens. His theme is that less is more—less stricture, less structure lead to more flexibility in the classroom and to the skills crucial to a democracy: how to question, how to analyze, how to develop an idea, how to work with one another. Not new (and for a more perceptive report, see Edward B. Fiske's Smart Schools, Smart Kids, 1991), and repetitious at times, but, still, an upbeat, child-centered view of bright spots in American education.

Pub Date: April 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-525-93421-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1992

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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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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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