A Parent's Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century by Russ Walsh

A Parent's Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century

Navigating Education Reform to Get the Best Education for My Child
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Walsh (There’s a Giant in My Classroom and Other Poems from Around School, 2013, etc.) describes the current landscape of American public schools in this informative guide.

Public education is a remarkable feature of the American experience, one that can prove transformative in the lives of children. Unfortunately, a number of factors have led to a system that’s anything but uniform: a patchwork of thriving or failing school districts that offer very different qualities of education. Walsh’s book, structured as a Q-and-A and divided into sections by topic, strives to answer questions, obvious and otherwise, that parents of a potential public school student should ask themselves. The author covers the current state of the education-reform movement (including its history, motivations, and achievement gaps) and looks at how to spot the qualities of a good school, how to prepare and assist one’s child outside the classroom, and the nuances of teacher quality, Common Core, standardized tests, and the charter school movement. Walsh’s questions are highly specific, such as “What does a developmentally appropriate middle school program look like?” and quite comprehensive. One can read the book straight through, but the format encourages readers to skip around to find answers to the questions that most concern them. As a parent, teacher, literacy specialist, and public school advocate, Walsh is well-versed in the practicalities and politics of public schools. Although the book is a nuts-and-bolts manual meant to address the realities of the system as it currently stands, Walsh makes a point of editorializing on movements and solutions that he thinks would improve schooling for everyone. The first thing to keep in mind, he notes, is that education is not a solution to poverty. Rather, he says, poverty is the main impediment to education: “If we can make significant strides in improving the economic outlook of the 24% of American children living in poverty, improved educational opportunity will be the joyous and very predictable outcome.” Until then, parents tasked with navigating this inequality will have Walsh as their guide.

An extensive, well-organized work on the current state of public education.

Pub Date: March 14th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-942146-33-9
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: Garn Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016


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