A telling investigation by the Sadkers (Education/American University) of why girls metamorphose from intellectually eager first-graders into socially compliant high-school and college students who score 60 points below their male peers on SATs and achievement tests. As a result of usually—but not always—unconscious gender bias, it seems that neither girls nor boys receive their educational due. The Sadkers have been examining gender equity in the classroom for some 30 years and—with the help of some refined observation techniques—have been able to track the behavior that sends girls' self-esteem plummeting. Classroom videos reveal teachers—even those who consider themselves sensitive to issues of gender—praising, challenging, and paying attention to boys far more than to girls. Boys excel in showmanship, waving hands wildly to get attention; girls retreat, becoming quieter, learning to hide intelligence and scholarly skills in order to be popular. Meanwhile, textbooks and standard visual displays—even those revised in the light of feminist pressure—show few if any role models for girls. Interviews with students uncover that boys would literally rather die than be girls, while girls find boys' lives attractive in many ways. Sexual harassment also becomes an issue in high school and college, when girls find they often have no recourse when they are touched, grabbed, or called ``bitches'' by male classmates. The authors include a sympathetic chapter on the pressures boys feel growing up in a world where women are creating new lives, and where men are resentfully reliving the old roles (``Today's school boys are learning lines from a play that is closing''). Powerful evidence that girls give up their intellectual potential as gender bias is perpetuated in the classroom. (Charts; illustrations—not seen.)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 1994

ISBN: 0-684-19541-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1993

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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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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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