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Let's Kill Dick and Jane: How the Open Court Publishing Company Fought the Culture of American Education Hardcover – September 28, 2006
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In 'Let's Kill Dick and Jane' the author gives a historical, yet personal, portrait from the beginning of Open Court Publishing Company through all the financial and cultural travails and its sale in 1966 to McGraw-Hill. It shows how a company of idealistic pragmatists can chip away at the edifice of mediocrity that has become American education.
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The author traces the efforts of a small educational publisher to base his books for teaching reading and mathematics on the results of statistically sound research rather than on the "new" but unproven theories that have been coming out of educational professors at teachers' colleges in the U.S.
It is a fascinating summary of one (but not the only)reason why our children are, by recent evaluations, slowly losing our previous position atop the newly competitive global competition for growth.
By way of full disclosure, I am very familiar with the problems Open Court faced in trying to fulfill its mission of improving the teaching of reading. My first wife was a researcher and an author mentioned in this very well written book, which is important more for what it teaches us about the need to come to grips with the basic problem of how we are teaching than with Open Court's specific efforts to improve elementary education. In addition, it is an "easy read", and often engrossing just for its descriptions of the situations Open Cpourt encountered in it effort to help our children read and understand, and enjoy doing it it the process.
James A. Hughes, Jr. West Chester, PA