From Publishers Weekly
Comer (Maggies American Dream), a child psychiatrist who founded the School Development Program (known for many years as the Comer Process) at the Yale Child Study Center in 1968, reiterates the wise assumption behind his decades of educational work: that "development and learning are inextricably linked." He reminds teachers and administrators that some children have experiences that hinder school readiness and eagerness to learn; schools must therefore strive to encourage emotional growth, not just better test scores. And especially for low-income students, Comer argues, higher scores arent enough: these students "need... skills that are gained through meaningful interactions with meaningful caretakers from birth through maturity." If educators must address problems they did not create, Comer says, they need more training in how to "read" children as individuals and thus better teach them. Comer also calls on parents to provide environments in which children feel valued. He shows how his prescribed marriage of child development and pedagogy worked in a series of pilot schools, and he warns of the great social cost of failing to better educate our students. (Studies show that educational achievement has a bearing on everything from civic participation to substance abuse). Amid the loud chorus of cries against standardized testing, Comer offers a clear and confident voice of change.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This book takes its name from the ideals of the Children's Defense Fund, not the controversial school-reform policy. Comer, child psychiatrist, professor, and creator of the highly regarded School Development Program in New Haven, applauds the focus on higher standards and accountability but criticizes emphasis on test scores and curriculum. What is needed, he asserts, is a more comprehensive approach that considers the cognitive, psychological, social, and ethical development of children. Comer, who grew up in a low-income black family, points to his success reforming troubled inner-city schools as an example of the kind of concerted effort needed to provide disadvantaged children with high-quality education. At the same time, he notes that school reform is tinged with an ideology that ignores the socioeconomic factors behind low academic achievement. Comer encourages a "no-fault" approach to get beyond blaming and finger-pointing and emphasizes community involvement in building character and instilling the skills necessary for full participation in a modern democracy. This is a clear, passionate perspective on the need for real educational reform beyond empty slogans. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved