A useful gathering of solid assessments of young children and the educational systems available to them.

YOU, YOUR CHILD, AND SCHOOL

NAVIGATE YOUR WAY TO THE BEST EDUCATION

How to ensure the best education possible for school-age children.

Educational reform expert Robinson (Emeritus, Arts Education/Univ. of Warwick) and Aronica team up again (Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education, 2016, etc.) to provide common-sense advice and helpful tactics, based on research and interviews with parents and educators, that will guide parents in the process of making the right educational choices for their children. The authors begin by outlining what options currently exist, including public schools, charter schools, home-schooling, and online learning, and they discuss how parents can become more involved via more frequent interactions with teachers, working on the school board, etc. The authors strongly advise parents to know their child’s learning methods and interests prior to assessing any type of school scenario, stressing the importance of this topic in finding the optimum environment for learning. Some things to look for in schools include the type of curriculum taught, whether educators adapt their teaching styles to accommodate differences in learning styles, and the prevalence of practical work as well as desk time. By answering these and many more questions, parents can evaluate the options intelligently and maintain their child’s interest in learning. The book also addresses the many difficulties children face in school—among others, stress, bullying, excessive homework, and being prescribed medications that might not be necessary. The authors delve into alternative learning scenarios such as art and dance programs, which have helped pull children and young adults back from the brink of rage and despair. Well-rounded explorations of the many learning methods currently in use will help parents tone down their own anxiety, exasperation, and worries over schooling, and this will enable them to make the best choices for their child, providing a far more enjoyable and productive learning experience for all.

A useful gathering of solid assessments of young children and the educational systems available to them.

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-670-01672-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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