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Horace's School: Redesigning the American High School Reprint Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-6442755344
ISBN-10: 0395755344
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sizer is without question one of the most interesting current thinkers on educational reform. His Horace's Compromise ( LJ 2/15/84), a landmark study of 80 high schools nationwide, stimulated considerable debate. The fictional character Horace Smith, a dedicated English teacher in the also fictional (but typical) American high school, is now a chair of a Committee on Redesign of his school, allowing Sizer to put his themes into concrete form. His is a grassroots reform proposal that "all education is local." Sizer emphasizes minimum testing, maximizing student work into individual exhibitions and portfolios, and expecting lots of hard work and commitment from all parties. He rejects the "shopping mall" approach to schools, instead proposing that students concentrate on an in-depth study of a few themes rather than attempting passively to absorb the whole gamut of the so-called comprehensive education. Humanistic, rational, and very appealing, this is one of the best educational reform books yet to have appeared. Recommended for all libraries.
- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A portrait of what an ideal American high school might be like, as envisioned by respected educator Sizer (Education/Brown Univ.). Sizer's earlier Horace's Compromise (1984) was based on intimate knowledge of US high schools. It followed the painful struggle of a fictional teacher, Horace Smith, to work within the restrictions imposed by the system--large classes, dated curricula, bureaucratic halls of mirrors--and still educate his adolescent students. Horace is here again, still a teacher but now also chairman of a committee formed not merely to reorganize but to re- create his high school. The committee includes teachers, students, parents, a school-board member, and, as influential observers, the principal and a consultant wise in the ways of the politics of education. Sizer details in lively fashion the struggles of the group to reform a system that more and more resembles an old- fashioned assembly line. The reform derives from the principles of Sizer's real-life and influential Coalition of Essential Schools. The Coalition's proponents seek to refocus the efforts of education on the student rather than on the system, and to redefine the ends of education before adjusting the means. One controversial innovation: evaluate students through ``Exhibitions''--i.e., independent but far-reaching projects--rather than standard tests. Sizer is not sanguine about the prospects for change, but he sees hope in the pressure that is being put on schools from an evolving culture and technology. A guide, not a blueprint, this is must reading for those who want to be reminded what education should be about. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 9, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395755344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395755341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
as a framework for understanding the coallition of essential schools (a type of restructuring which changes the school into a place that works for students, not against them) this book is amazing. looking at the flaws of america's public school system, this book is one that offers suggestions for change in a way that anyone can understand. horace, a characiture of many teachers, leads the way for his high school to be the best it can be. a must read for anyone who is interested in education.
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Format: Paperback
As a product of American schools, a history major, and a fan of both institutional revisionism and reform, I picked up Horace's School looking for new ideas. Here are a few thoughts of what I read. I believe Dr. Sizer does a fine job presenting his argument for the decentralization of school power and for his Coalition of Essential Schools. Likewise, he takes the care and time to present the counter arguments and concerns that might arise during a very real and difficult reform process.
At the same time, I left the book with some serious questions and concerns. If Horace's School, as presented in the book, is not every school, how can it be subtitled the redesign of THE American high school? Considering this framework, the book lacks serious discussion or concern for the issues of race, class and gender that infuse less 'privileged' schools- ones that struggle even for basic funding equity and public notice. Horace's School is a worthwhile read. The questions just keep coming.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was trying to use this book to discover nuggets concerning school reform. Book was a little to specific and not helpful to me.
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