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Books

Legal Problems of Religious and Private Schools, by Ralph D. Mawdsley and Steven P. Permuth (The National Organization on Legal Problems in Education, 5401 S.W. Seventh St., Topeka, Kan. 66606; 120 pages, paper $11.45).


Like their public counterparts, private schools face the possibility of lawsuits, contend the authors of this monograph. For administrators and faculty members in such schools, the book addresses several legal issues that have generated substantial litigation and frequent questions. Among these issues are: tort liability, constraints on student and faculty discipline, governing-board liability, government regulation of nonpublic schools, federal anti-discrimination legislation, and copyright law as they relate to elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The authors describe relevant court rulings, cases, and statutes to illustrate common legal situations. Mr. Mawdsley is administrative counsel and professor of educational law at Liberty Baptist College; Mr. Permuth is dean and associate professor of education at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.


Necessary Lessons: Decline and Renewal in American Schools, by Gilbert T. Sewall (The Free Press, A Division of Macmillan Inc., 86 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022; 221 pages, $16.75).


The concept of excellence in academic performance can be regenerated by returning students to an "educational backbone" of basic skills, hard work, and an appreciation of the past, maintains the author of this book for school-board members, administrators, legislators, parents, and others. In the first section, Mr. Sewall traces the progressive educational philosophy of the first half of the 20th century, which, he contends, culminated in the relaxed standards of the 1960's and 1970's. In the second section, the author proposes initiatives to rekindle educational excellence in the 1980's and beyond. Drawing on recent research and examples of successful reform efforts in various schools, he stresses the importance of academic standards, structured teaching, proficiency requirements, and classroom discipline. Mr. Sewall is an author and journalist, a former education editor at Newsweek, and a former high-school teacher.


Successful Schools for Young Adolescents, by Joan Lipsitz (Transaction Books, Rutgers--the State University, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903; 240 pages, cloth $24.95, paper $9.95).


To be effective, middle-level schools must attempt to respond to the great individual differences in the development of early adolescents, contends the author. In case studies of four schools in North Carolina, Michigan, Kentucky, and New York, she defines effectiveness vis a vis young adolescents, analyzes the development of effective schools, studies their role in communities, and presents concrete models for programs. Ms. Lipsitz is the director of the Center for Early Adolescence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This book is based on research done as part of an assignment for the National Institute of Education.


Guides and Directories

Defusing Censorship: The Librarian's Guide to Handling Censorship Conflicts, by Frances M. Jones (Oryx Press, 2214 North Central at Encanto, Phoenix, Ariz. 85004; 240 pages, cloth $24.95, paper $18.50).


A librarian who has a sense of what may constitute censorship and knows how to respond to questions and complaints from patrons has a better chance of meeting challenges effectively than does a librarian who is unaware, suggests Ms. Jones. In this guide for school and public librarians, she presents a brief history of library censorship and outlines the rights and responsibilities of librarians, patrons, teachers, and parents, using court cases and providing sample policies and guidelines. Includes several associations' intellectual-freedom statements, information on inservice training, and a list of banned books. Ms. Jones is a public librarian.


Single Parents and Their Families: A Guide to Involving School and Community, by The National pta, Boys Town, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 700 North Rush St., Chicago, Ill. 60611; 35 pages, paper $5).


Single-parent families are now the fastest-growing household type in the country, numbering almost 7 million, according to this guide, which provides information on how community leaders can organize programs to help such families. The book presents instructions for planning a two-part presentation designed to involve interested groups in such activities as counseling services, child-care programs, and recreational after-school activities.


Other Resources

Tuition Tax Credits for Private Education: An Economic Analysis, by Donald E. Frey (Iowa State University Press, South State Ave., Ames, Iowa 50010; 129 pages, paper $10.50).


In light of the debate following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last summer to uphold the constitutionality of a Minnesota tax deduction for educational expenses, this book addresses a variety of matters related to educational tax credits. It includes an analysis of the anticipated federal-revenue loss from a tuition tax credit and discussions of the likely increase of racial concentration and segregation in the schools and the possible loss of voter support for public schools that would also follow, in the author's view. Mr. Frey teaches economics at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Anne Bridgman

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