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It Simply Must Be Said: A View of American Public Education from the Trenches of Teaching Paperback – July 10, 2009


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It Simply Must Be Said: A View of American Public Education from the Trenches of Teaching + Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (July 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440134006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440134005
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7.9 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas R. Cobb on July 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Why do American schools all too often fail to provide students with a quality education, the kind that broadens their minds, makes them think analytically, and be enthusiastic about learning, and which prepares them for the demands of the job market? Whose fault is it that this sad state of affairs has come about--is it that of our teachers, the society we live in, that of the parents of our nation's students, the media's, a sense of apathy among today's youth, or some combination of these potential factors? Also, how do teachers deal with the pressures inherent in their jobs, and still find within themselves the strength to come to work day after day, intent on trying to make a difference for the better in the lives of their students? These are some of the questions raised and topics explored in author Hank Warren's stimulating and thought-provoking book, It Simply Must Be Said.

There's definitely more to teaching than teaching. That may sound strange to anyone who has never been a teacher, but I was one, like Hank Warren. The author's wife is still a high school teacher, also. For instance, in the chapter with the very apt title "Learning to Swim by Drowning," the author mentions one of the most important factors one needs to succeed as a teacher in an anecdote he relates about a discussion his wife had with a new teacher "who had completed a brief alternative certification program,"-- that is, the ability to motivate the students to participate in the learning process. The new teacher complains: "These kids are completely unmotivated! They don't want to do a thing!"

What is a teacher to do in a situation like this?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Davis on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
As an involved mom of a third-grader attending public school, I knew I'd want to hear what author Hank Warren has to say in It Simply Must Be Said - A View of American Public Education from the Trenches of Teaching. As a teacher of 34 years, it is no surprise that Warren's writing voice is clear, concise, and grammatically correct, but even better, it is easily readable even for the layperson and is full of truth, great ideas, and a surprising amount of wit.

With the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind Act lingering and Obama pushing to reform education, this book is timely indeed. In sharp contrast, there is nothing current about today's classroom, which, as Warren points out, looks exactly the same as it did two centuries ago (give or take a computer or two). Wasn't it Einstein who said "Insanity is defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result?"

In many ways, modern public education has morphed into an over-legislated monster that is no longer in touch with reality. Warren's words hit home for me, as the public middle school to which every child in my neighborhood will be assigned, regardless of their ability, is an "all honors" school. Warren succinctly sums up this overly-ambitious new mentality when he states:

"While in the 50s and 60s it was commonly accepted that some kids would be auto mechanics, a select few would be doctors, and the vast majority would be in the middle, now the expectation is: They are all going to Harvard!
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Format: Paperback
In this thought-provoking work on the challenging environment of the public school in America, Hank Warren sets out to do the following: to separate the facts from the myths about teaching; to analyze the overwhelming differences between "educating" (teaching) and "education" (the entrenched bureaucracy); to examine crucial teaching, student and parenting issues; and to analyze the impact of legislation and case law decisions concerning children with disabilities on the school/learning environment.

Pivotal to the work are his five core recommendations aimed at improving the American Public Education system. His recommendations consist of the following: (1) All who wish to call themselves "educators" must be actively teaching in some capacity. (Warren believes that all school administrators should be intimately involved with the teaching process, unlike at the present, when they seem divorced from the process.) (2) Get class sizes down to ten students working with a properly paid professional. (Unlike at the moment, when classes tend to be more than twice that size, and where teachers are having to take on extra jobs in order to supplement their income.) (3) Eliminate grade leveling. (Warren believes that "allowing each child to move through the prescribed curriculum at his or her own pace would provide the ultimate incentive for students to work harder and progress faster.") (4) Allow students full access to college degree study at whatever point they qualify. (In other words, allow local community college credits to offset course requirements at four year colleges/universities.) (5) Develop a comprehensive, broad-based standard of evaluation that eliminates the use of letter grades entirely. (In this way, rote and relatively meaningless learning will be done away with.
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