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The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them Paperback – August 17, 1999
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Those with a burning desire to hold well-informed opinions on education reform should know Gardner's work. They should also avoid the pitfall of allowing judgments on education to be informed solely by members of the education community; the science community has important contributions to make via research methodologies and the knowledge emerging from the Decade of the Brain.
The report of the National Reading Panel - and the grounds upon which some educators have discounted it - is instructive. The Panel felt charged by Congress to apply the standards of scientific evidence - methodological rigor, reliability, validity, replicability, applicability - to its review of the existing research on reading instruction. By that standard, only quantitative research was deemed valid in answering cause-and-effect questions as to the efficacy of various elements of reading instruction. That meant that the qualitative research often used to establish efficacy for `pure Whole Language' methods was found inadequate to that purpose. The Whole Language faithful saw these scientific standards as a mere reflection of `philosophical orientation' and bias on the part of the Panel's majority and attacked the relevancy of the Report.Read more ›
Regional accreditation groups have forced "authentic" assessment (as opposed to grades) into all coursework and programs. We are urged to teach processes rather than facts - students practice the scientific method without learning taxonomy in biology courses, writing without studying history, literature, or science - and traditional courses are replaced by "culturally appropriate studies."
Hirsch and his colleagues at exclusive institutions probably are unaware of the dangers; I doubt that Harvard or Duke deans talk about teaching "critical thinking skills" with their faculties. Since applications at these school exceed acceptances, they will probably resist pressures to change - at least for some time.
However, go into the middle grade public colleges, or especially into community colleges, and it's all there in force - endless agonizing over improving teaching strategies, watering down course content, improving student services,... These schools are desperate to maintain and/or increase enrollments, and to appease parents' and state legislatures' attacks. They will do almost anything to recruit and retain students, even if it means giving out meaningless degrees. I'd like to require all faculty members and administrators at the college where I teach to read this book; sadly, a lot of them probably lack the skills to do so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A thoroughly researched, thoughtfully organized, balanced, and, unfortunately timeless dissection of many of the underlying issues that plague education. Read morePublished 10 months ago by J. Fisher
E.D. Hirsch has some compelling arguments about embarking on ill-conceived curricular adventures distracting from the goals of learning, but I share others' criticisms. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mike R.
A must read for the education community, parents and school stakeholders. I highly recommend this book to any one that wants to see the lies we have been made to believe.Published on October 31, 2013 by J.R. Stalcup
The biggest mistake I ever made, was entering a masters program in education - without reading this book first. Read morePublished on September 11, 2012 by hell kitten
I have been fortunate to have been introduced to E. D. Hirsch Jr. ideas on education, through his essays and now this book, before my three year old daughter enters the New York... Read morePublished on April 22, 2012 by George Schifini
While this book is heavily seasoned with sarcasm, there is something to the highly confident presentation of the book as the actually traditional mindset of child-centered... Read morePublished on February 24, 2012 by Emily J. Morris