TALES OUT OF SCHOOL by Joseph A. Fernandez


Joseph Fernandez's Crusade to Rescue American Education
Email this review


 An outspoken call to arms on behalf of America's children, by the chancellor of N.Y.C.'s school system. This kind of frank critique of political power-struggles is usually written after the author is out of the job. But Fernandez is still the man in charge, fighting to bring order, academic excellence, and clean bathrooms to the city's turbulent schools. Recruited from his job as superintendent of the Dade County schools, which include Miami's, he landed running in the Big Apple, immediately weeding out incompetent school principals and teachers and overturning corrupt local school boards. Fernandez is also the man who supported distributing condoms to high-school students. But most of his book is a defense of school-based management (the teachers, parents, and principal plan the program), community involvement, and creative solutions to educational dilemmas--all based on Fernandez's Florida experiences. With the help of former Sports Illustrated editor Underwood, Fernandez relates his history: birth and childhood in Harlem; truant; high-school dropout; drug abuser; rescue by the military (G.I. bill). An aptitude in math led him to teaching. In Miami, his formidable ego, intense commitment, and fierce energy propelled him to school administration and innovations that drew international attention. There are no real exposÇs here: Most of the opinions and information about Governor Mario Cuomo, Mayor David Dinkins, Board of Education politics, and Miami scandals have received coverage on the air and in print- -coverage that has led to Fernandez, with his forceful opinions and ways, being called a dictator, a martinet, and a man with his eye on the post of US secretary of education. Maybe so. What is most important here, though, is Fernandez's eloquent plea to remember what schools are about: educating our children in the best possible environment with the best possible teachers. (Twenty-five b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-316-27918-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1992