EDUCATION REFORM 3
This website contains
various summaries of some of the most important and influential books that
have been written on topics pertaining to education reform, and includes
reviews of books written by such prominent authors as John Taylor Gatto,
John Holt, and Alfie Kohn. These books elaborate upon some of the
major themes that arise in our education and school reform websites, and
will add to our readers' understanding of the current state of our school
system. Though it will be highly beneficial to read these reviews, we
recommend that, if a particular summary peaks your interest, you read that
book in its entirety. By doing so, the depth of your understanding
will be dramatically increased.
Different Kind of Teacher: According to John Taylor Gatto, the problem
with our schools is not that we have bad teachers, bad parents, or bad
administrators, but rather, that we have an underlying institutional flaw.
The present educational system is built upon a foundation of coercion and
Against Competition: Alfie Kohn exposes the "myths of competition" and
explains how such beliefs thrive in our classrooms, pitting one student
against another, bolstering insecurity, and damaging self esteem.
Down - The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling: John Taylor Gatto,
a former New York State Teacher of the Year, exposes the fallacies of
compulsory education. Remember, prior to 1850, mandatory 'schooling',
in the traditional sense of the word, didn't even exist in the United
Rich & Happy:
A review of the book entitled "If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don't Go to
School" by Robert T. Kiyosaki, which argues that our present school system's
claim that it helps young people grow into adults who will realize the
'American Dream' is bogus. Rather than evolve with the world, our
educational system clings to obsolete practices.
Rewards: Alfie Kohn explains how rewards systems destroy peopleís
intrinsic motivation for learning - i.e. the pure love of a subject - and
replace that with extrinsic motivation. This tool is used to control
students, and intensifies the imbalance of power that exists between
children and their teachers.
Freedom and Beyond:
In the book by this name, John Holt stresses that reforming our educational
system means changing our conception of education, rather than simply
modernizing schools and buying more equipment. In going beyond
educational reform, the book also addresses the issue of schooling and its
relation to poverty.
Learn: In this
book, John Holt rejects the idea that children are "monsters of evil"
who must be beaten into submission or computers whom "we can
program into geniuses." Neither are they the passive receptacles of
knowledge that can only learn in a schoolroom. Instead, he calls upon
parents and educators to "trust children."
Our Lives: Matt Hern presents a compilation of short essays by
deschooling parents, advocates, and educators. He discusses the
various aspects of alternative schooling, ranging from the philosophies of
its original supporters to representatives from modern alternative schools.
You Know What
They Say... : The Truth About Popular Beliefs Using humor
and armed with expert studies Alfie Kohn attempts to question some of most
basic beliefs on a variety of subjects. Kohn's synthesis and critique
of various studies whose attempts at science are often times dubious-prove
for some surprising results.
Matters - Why Home schooling Makes Sense: David Gutersonís case for home
schooling. Unlike the public school system, home schooling offers a
child-centered curriculum that promotes the childrenís pursuit of their
interests. Rather than impose their expectations of education on their
children, parents allow their children to take the initiative in the
learning process by guiding them in the right direction.
How Children Fail:
Drawing on his observations of modern education, John Holt concludes that
our school system produces feelings of boredom, fear, humiliation, and
confusion and predestine our children for failure.
Discipline: Kohn challenges traditional assumptions about classroom
management and control that have dominated the school system for decades,
and advocates a democratic classroom, in which students direct the course of
their own education.
Unschooling Handbook: A book by Mary Griffith that will teach you "How
to Use the Whole World as Your Childís Classroom." Present day
Americans have difficulty imagining an education that takes place outside of
the walls of the school. Griffith provides the blueprint for just
that: and education that isnít confined to the classroom.
Psychology of optimal Experience: A book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which
describes the concept known as flow. This term refers to the feeling
that makes an experience genuinely satisfying; or a state of concentration
so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity.
Basically, flow equates to happiness. At present, our present school
system all but prohibits students from experiencing this sensation.
All the Time: John Holt explains how the present school system treats
students as passive beings, who are waiting to be taught subject matter by
their teachers or other adults. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Children are naturally scientists, writers, thinkers, and problem solvers.
And living is a powerful learning process in itself. School impedes
Without Schooling: John Holt's compilation of the first twelve issues of
the publication "Growing Without Schooling" is a record of the grass roots
education movement, which includes information on relevant legal concerns,
home schooling methods, and studies of both current and past alternative
the Giant: This book by Mary Leue captures the unique characteristics,
the philosophy of independence, and the creative methods which have defined
the alternative education system for nearly four decades.