A welcome operator’s manual for parents of school-age children, inside or outside the K-12 paradigm.



A manifesto with a lesson plan: home-schooling champion Bauer (The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory, 2015, etc.) continues her case for educating outside the system.

“When an artificial system classifies and segregates people (as opposed to cell phones, say, or sewage), some people will inevitably fit into the system better than others.” So observes the author, who goes on to say that she was one who didn’t—and managed to get through a doctorate without the high school diploma that we all supposedly require, having gotten into college in the first place with a “mom-generated transcript.” Some children need the K-12 system, writes Bauer. Others don’t and can actually be harmed by what is, after all, something geared to “a Platonic child, one who doesn’t suddenly melt down, or get overwhelmed by a tidal wave of hormones, or unexpectedly need fourteen hours of sleep.” In any event, Bauer urges, the parent has to take charge: if a child remains in school but has problems, then it’s up to the parent to figure out why Johnny can’t read or Jenny is bored. The possibilities are manifold when it comes to why: autism may be at work, or giftedness, or otherness that the system isn’t able to accommodate. Bauer writes in a steadily reassuring tone before really broaching the subject of home schooling, which, she notes, is not for everyone—but then, she adds, if you’re battling the system because your child is lost, bored, buried, or bullied, “then you’re already spending tremendous amounts of energy fighting to change those things” and might as well take on the task of teacher yourself. On that point, Bauer offers much of practical value, urging, for instance, that we misinterpret the Common Core to mean that certain courses be part of the curriculum when it’s really certain skills that need to be mastered.

A welcome operator’s manual for parents of school-age children, inside or outside the K-12 paradigm.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-28596-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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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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