In this genial and challenging overview of endless debates over school reform, Rick Hess shows that even bitter opponents in debates about how to improve schools agree on much more than they realize - and that much of it must change radically. Cutting through the tangled thickets of right- and left-wing dogma, he clears the ground for transformation of the American school system.
Whatever they think of school vouchers or charter schools, teacher merit pay or bilingual education, most educators and advocates take many other things for granted. The one-teacher–one-classroom model. The professional full-time teacher. Students grouped in age-defined grades. The nine-month calendar. Top-down local district control. All were innovative and exciting - in the 19th century. As Hess shows, the system hasn't changed since most Americans lived on farms and in villages, since school taught you to read, write, and do arithmetic, and since only an elite went to high school, let alone college.
Arguing that a fundamentally 19th-century system can't be right for a 21st-century world, Hess suggests that uniformity gets in the way of quality, and urges us to create a much wider variety of schools, to meet a greater range of needs for different kinds of talents, needed by a vastly more complex and demanding society.
"To say the book is thought provoking is an understatement. Each paragraph entices and envelopes the reader in both the philosophical issues as well as the value issues related to teaching and education…" (Michael F. Shaughnessy, EducationNews.org)
"Hess takes on virtually every convention of K–12 schooling... Hess is no centrist and has little interest in compromise. This is a very-well-done book with rich descriptions of contemporary efforts at school reform and some initial suggestions about the paths toward transformative change." (S.H. Miner, Choice)
"As close as the feverishly productive Hess is ever likely to get to a genuine magnum opus... He is unafraid to take on flaws even in policies he largely supports… The most critical lesson from the book is Hess's powerful theory about what makes schools succeed or fail." (Steven M. Teles, Washington Monthly)
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Wow - radical revisioing
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