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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Moderate underlining. Else Very Good in Fine dust jacket. Recommendations by the former U. S. Secretary of Education.
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Our children and our country: Improving America's schools and affirming the common culture Hardcover – 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Secretary of Education since 1985, Bennett has been a visible and vocal advocate of school reform, urging a return to basics and mastery of the classics. In this collections of addresses delivered during his tenure, he focuses on " what works in education." In sections that focus on effective schoools and educators from elementary through college levels, Bennett calls for reaffirmation of common cultural beliefs, which he identifies as "our Western tradition of learning," and advocates the "three C's": content, character and choice. While his pragmatic stance, espousal of political conservatism and role as spokesperson for the Reagan administration have provoked criticism, Bennett illuminates in graceful prose possibilities for redesigning public education to ensure accountability. Bennett has also written (with Terry Eastland) Counting by Race. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067167062X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671670627
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,889,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
While serving as Secretary of Education, William Bennett delivered a variety of speeches, 24 of which were edited to constitute a volume entitled Our Children and Our Country: Improving America's Schools and Affirming the Common Culture (New York: Simon and Schuster, c. 1988).
Given the enormous success of the anthology Bennett recently published, A Book of Virtues, it's helpful to ponder his own views as espoused in these talks. In a sense, Bennett's underlying theme is summed up in a profound statement by William James who, speaking of Harvard a century ago, declared: "'The only rational ground for pre-eminent admiration of any single college would be its preeminent spiritual tone'" (p. 139).
Bennett's first chapter proposes that we add to the traditional Three R's an equally important Three C's: "content, character, and choice" (p. 15). Character especially needs attention. Long ago, Frederick Douglass declared: "'What we want . . . is character. . . . It is a thing we must get for ourselves. We must labor for it. It is gained by toil--hard toil. . . . It is attainable; but we must attain it, and attain it each for himself. I cannot for you, and you cannot for me'" (p. 56).
Schools, as well as individuals, may or not have character. "Orderliness," Bennett insists, "must prevail in a school aspiring to transmit good character. Only a school run in a disciplined manner can teach self-discipline to students" (p. 19). Such discipline, he stresses in other speeches, includes simple strategies such as the orderly arrangement of chairs in classrooms and dress codes for students. The "good" schools he visited, many of which lacked lauded funds and facilities, were mainly distinguished by discipline.
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