From Publishers Weekly
Educator Kohn (Punished by Rewards) presents 19 essays (previously published in such newspapers and journals as the New York Times and Education Week) in this spirited and incisive probe of education today. Though Kohn can be witty and wry, his overarching message is quite sobering: he's convinced that "historians will look back at our era of ever-higher standards and increasingly standardized instruction as a dark period in American education." Kohn regards the one-size-fits-all approach as a serious mistake: instead of educating the "whole child" in an individualized manner that nourishes a love of learning, the trend is to produce students who can memorize facts that are soon forgotten. Along with standardized tests, Kohn debunks homework and grades, and in a piece entitled "How to Create Nonreaders" reveals that a sure way to destroy children's love of reading and writing is to require written reports, offer incentives, quantify assignments or focus on skills—all common practices in our classrooms. True "progressive education" is very hard to find, the author claims, which is one reason it can't be blamed for the failings of our educational system. With plenty of data to back up his contrarian views, Kohn asks readers to take a hard look at where America's classrooms are heading and do whatever is necessary to turn schools from "test prep centers" into joyful environments where kids learn to think for themselves. (Apr.)
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“Kohn cuts against the grain and takes on adversaries without fear, and yet with a mature and rational sophistication.” ―Jonathan Kozol
"[A] spirited and incisive probe of education today." —Publishers Weekly
“A philosophical, well-structured argument for viable progressive education from one of the movement's most prolific and well-regarded authors…A vital wake-up call to educators.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The reader will find much to reflect upon in Feel-Bad Education, and will be mindful of controversies that are still unexplored in this short but enjoyable volume.”—The School Administrator