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

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

NAVIGATING EDUCATION REFORM TO GET THE BEST EDUCATION FOR MY CHILD

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 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-942146-33-9

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Garn Press

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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