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Smart Kids, Bad Schools: 38 Ways to Save America's Future Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 22, 2008
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One in every five Americans either attends or works in a public or private elementary or high school. For that reason alone, Americans should be concerned about the current sorry state of education and interested in making improvements. With 20 years of experience teaching English and journalism, Crosby offers 38 suggestions that include no homework and the abolition of teachers’ unions. He begins with an appeal for physical structures that are roomy and engaging, and moves on to advocating smaller class sizes, no summer break, later start times, no school bells, and all-day kindergarten. He also argues for more-nutritional meals and principals with MBAs. In separate sections, Crosby tackles changes in curricula (bringing back vocational education and reducing reliance on standardized tests), teacher training, school funding, and parental involvement. Crosby offers a comprehensive and radical overhaul of failing American schools that threaten to weaken every aspect of American life, from the economy to homeland security. This is a passionate and radical look at what ails America’s schools and how to make improvements. --Vanessa Bush
"Brian Crosby knows how vital it is that our kids get well-educated. Lots of people know that. But Crosby tells us what to do about it in a book that is at once cogent, readable, and provocative."
--Ben Wattenberg, host of the weekly PBS program Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg and author of Fighting Words
"Crosby, a California high school English teacher with 17 years experience, wants America to fix its ailing educational system. His earlier book, The $100,000 Teacher, focused on paying teachers better to encourage better performance; this latest proposes a broader range of changes, from student behavior to a basic rethinking of how quality education should be assessed. After explaining that he's arguing for a complete overhaul of the system, not some marginal tweaking of the rules, Crosby sets out his 38-point plan, in 38 brief chapters. He begins simply: building more inviting-looking schools, ending social promotion, enticing experienced teachers to troubled schools and reviving vocational education as an option for the non-college bound. These widely acceptable ideas buffer the shock from some of his more heterodox ideas -- banning teacher unions, recognizing excellence in teaching with merit bonuses, ending teacher tenure, cutting special education spending, ending compulsory education after the ninth grade and giving up on smaller class sizes, because there simply aren't enough great teachers to staff twice as many classrooms. Crosby speaks from a world of experience; his "political incorrectness" may bother some readers, but many will appreciate his honesty and his willingness to think outside the box."
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A few of his arguments I found unconvincing. I do not share his enthusiasm for a year-round calendar, a longer school day, and full-day kindergarten for all students. These may be appropriate for some children, but for others so much time spent in an institutionalized setting may actually be detrimental. I also disagree with his ideas for moving teachers rather than students from classroom to classroom; having a M-Th schedule for teachers with every single Friday devoted to professional development; and his bashing of private schools & homeschooling and his paternalistic attitude that parents should automatically defer to the teacher's "authority" and "expertise" without question.
Overall, however, I highly recommend "Smart Kids, Bad Schools" to anyone interested in improving the U.S. K-12 education system.
Most recent customer reviews
To come against homeschooling & non-public schools is revealing of his agenda.Read more