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One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School Paperback – September 5, 2012
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"Goyal paints a fairly clear picture as to what his ideal educational experience looks like."
"What a wonderful book! I nominate Nikhil Goyal for the U.S. Secretary of Education!"
"Nikhil Goyal is a leader among young people who are changing the world of education. Once you read this book, you will never view education the same way. Goyal represents the future -- which looks nothing like the past."
About the Author
Nikhil Goyal is an activist and author. He lives in New York.
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Top customer reviews
Nikhil tackles his subject with equal parts passion and research. When he calls BS on standardized testing, pay for performance, NCLB/RttT, and other modern "education" practices, he not only tells you how much they stink, but why.
I hope Nikhil hasn't "gotten it out of his system," and that this book represents only the beginning of him helping us find our way to a sane and effective approach to education.
Overall, I can's say I learned a huge amount from the book, but that is mostly a function of Goyal and I sharing a similar reading list. He is an extremely well-read young man - which I would of course say given the overlap of our interests :) - and interviewed many of these people for the book. For the kind of education reform that he describes in this book, there are a set of people who are truly worth listening to and/or talking with, and even if this book were just to introduce you to them, it would be worth reading.
However, what really makes this book is Goyal's inside perspective as a current high school student. Living through the tests, the teachers, the SATs and the standardized testing, and taking the AP classes, and then sharing his experiences with us makes this book a lens to examine what our kids are going through. And given that this is the experience of a very sharp young man in a high performing high school should give us pause when it comes to considering the experience of kids who are not in that kind of advantaged situation. In this way, he speaks not only to we adults who want to again look at education from our "customer's" point of view (and make no mistake these kids are our customers), but to students of all ages who might want to know that there are others out there who feel as they do. He lets them know that not only is it OK to have doubts, but that they can question the assumptions, push the boundaries, and make education into something valuable to each of them.
All that said, the book has the feel of solutions by a 17-year old - very simple, cut and dried, "of course we do *that*" types of actions. Please note that this is not a specific criticism of Goyal, because the depth and breadth his discussion puts many adults to shame. It's just that when dealing with large systems of interconnected parts - like education systems - solutions often need to more subtle and take into account a larger number of forces, which is where a lifetime of experience tends to be of help when creating solutions. That said, the education system, which often moves in geologic time, could use a kick from the young Goyals of the world, summed up in his paragraph: "In my life, I'm sick and tired of hearing excuses and whining and carping. Don't tell me you can do something. To be successful, sometimes you will need to step on some shoes, push over some people, and shun the non-believers." In that sense he reminds me of Roger Shank - willing to be prickly and politically incorrect to look at core changes to education.
If you want to truly think about questioning the assumption behind our educational system, then I can recommend this book highly. I'm look forward to more from Nikhil Goyal, because even at 17 (and *especially at 17) he's somebody worth listening to.
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