Nobel prizewinning physicist Wilson tries to illuminate the black hole that is the American educational system. Wilson and journalist Daviss begin where good science begins: defining the problem. US education, they argue, is based on a model—a 19th-century assembly-line model—that simply doesn't work any more. Tinkering, as in raising teachers' salaries or extending the school day, won't solve the problem. What will, among other things, is looking to the successes of corporations in what Wilson and Daviss call the redesign process. It begins with a ``compelling vision'' and continues in the pursuit of excellence through a process of ``research, development, dissemination, and refinement.'' Boeing, Apple, and the Union Pacific Railroad are examples of companies that have used that formula to advantage, involving customers and workers in the redesign. None of these ideas are new, nor are the components they suggest for redesigning education, including Total Quality Learning as demonstrated in Sitka, Alaska (based on Total Quality Management, it involves consulting the ``customer,'' in this case children, teachers, and parents); the idea of students learning from one another; and the more sophisticated and general use of computers as tools for both students and teachers. What is refreshing is the emphasis on relieving teachers of their classroom isolation and offering them professional support and opportunities for continuing development. The authors envision (and offer a budget for) a group of nationwide lab schools, that would draw teachers from surrounding districts to experiment with new programs, new systems, and new ways of managing and teaching. Teachers would then return to their districts to train their colleagues. Still another look at what's wrong with our schools, but one that that targets what makes educational reform so elusive: a continuing communications gap between the classroom teacher—the one who really matters—and the rest of the education profession.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 1994

ISBN: 0-8050-2145-0

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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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.


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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