From Publishers Weekly
According to Murnane, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Levy, professor of urban economics at MIT, schools are failing because they are not teaching children the "new basic skills" that must be mastered to earn a middle-class income. Those skills are defined by the authors as "hard" skills such as math and reading, "soft" skills including the ability to work in groups and make presentations and, finally, the ability to use personal computers. The authors argue that the best way to teach these skills is for schools to retrain their teachers by adopting principles used by businesses to motivate their managers. Although the authors' lengthy explanations of those principles have some interesting points, Murnane and Levy are occasionally unclear about how to apply them. They also make the controversial assumption that schools are for training students to earn a living, and they do not address the complexities of a shrinking job market.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
John S. Reed Chairman, Citicorp This is an important book. It is an optimistic book and can make a difference. It should be read by anyone interested in what is going on in our country today...by those of us who are parents, teachers, administrators, or others who care about our schools...and importantly by business people who will better understand how to link the needs of the workplace with the changes that need to take place in our schools.
Roy Romer Governor, State of Colorado Teaching the New Basic Skills
provides compelling arguments -- using lessons from the private sector -- about what will need to change in the classroom and in schools if more students are to reach higher standards...This book will be a useful tool for its readers.
William F. Weld Massachusetts This book will serve as an important guide in the creation of a school-to-work continuum that prepares all students for success. The New Basic Skills here defined are the fundamental tools necessary to compete in our global economy.
Dr. Rudolph F. Crew Chancellor, New York Public Schools Teaching the New Basic Skills
provides important ideas for helping all schools, including those in New York City, better prepare students to prosper in a changing economy. Educators will resonate with the descriptions of problems in today's schools and be heartened by the case studies showing that schools can improve markedly. The authors' Five Principles provide a powerful framework around which to organize strategies for improving our schools.
Ed Richardson State Superintendent of Education, Alabama As an educator in the midst of educational reform, I especially enjoyed your fifth principle of perseverance and the lack of a "magic bullet"...Thorough and common sense books like yours will assist us in our efforts.
Linda Darling-Hammond 1995-1996 President of American Educational Research Association The book illustrates that improvements in our schools will not come easily, but that real progress is possible when teachers, students, and parents persevere in making schools places where all children learn.