As US Commissioner of Education, Bell has been at the center of the traditional American school movement and his comments deserve a hearing although they're dry as a government manual. He knows the typical bureaucracy and tries to prepare parents for facing it; he can also rattle off ten characteristics of a family with high educational potential or twelve attributes of a healthy personality (one of which is frugality). Stressing the relationship of a child's self-image to his school performance, he urges ""incidental teaching"" at home from the earliest years (""success is contagious"") and reiterates the importance of parental attention to daily school life--big test dates, curriculum projects, peer group pressures. But along with the useful information about public school financing and what to expect from an understaffed guidance facility are statements that are either obvious (what a true/false test is) or controvertible (the necessity for ""clean speech"" in the home a cultural preference he fails to acknowledge). High marks for the effort but no extra credit.