Books: New in Print
Challenge to American Schools: The Case for Standards and Values, edited by John H. Bunzel (Oxford University Press, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016; 248 pages, $19.95).
In 11 essays written specifically for this collection, educators and policymakers look at issues ranging from the implementation of reform strategies to the role of the family in education. In one essay, Joseph Adelson, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and author of a position paper for the National Commission on Excellence in Education, argues that the bureaucracy and ideological interests that lead to current problems in education are still firmly in place and that school reform will come slowly, if at all. In another, the historian Diane Ravitch looks at the implications of the current reform movement for secondary-school curricula and puts today's improvement efforts into the context of the historical development of high-school curricula. Other topics covered in this collection are the influence of teachers' unions on the quality of schools, the future of private education, and the effects of federal-court intervention in public schools. Mr. Bunzel is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and former president of San Jose State University.
For Our Children: A Different Approach to Public Education, by Frank Macchiarola and Thomas Hauser (The Continuum Publishing Company, 370 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; 117 pages, $11.95).
Mr. Macchiarola, former chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, and Mr. Hauser, a New York lawyer and author, citing the high rate of functional illiteracy among both high-school graduates and dropouts, criticize the "widely held notion" that certain groups of children are not educable and contend that the failure to properly educate large numbers of youths has left the country badly prepared to compete economically. They argue that effective and lasting education reform must come from outside the profession because educators have a commitment to the system as it now stands. Parents, the business community, and state and local officials must become part of the reform process, they say. And the process's focus must shift from the amount of money spent on schools to what they actually accomplish. The authors also examine the increasing need for schools to provide children with support services as well as education, the political forces that influence schooling, and ways that schools' day-to-day operations can be improved.
Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality, by Jeannie Oakes (Yale University Press, 92A Yale Station, New Haven, Conn. 06520; 231 pages, $21.50).
The "very American ideal" of equality has been undermined by tracking in today's public schools, argues Ms. Oakes in an analysis of how tracking has been used to segregate poor and minority students and to reinforce existing inequalities. Ms. Oakes looks at the history of tracking, the effect it has had in desegregated schools with students of varying ethnic backgrounds, the legal and philosophical questions surrounding the practice, and provides guidelines for teachers working with students of wide-ranging academic abilities. She asserts that students with average or below-average abilities learn better in heterogeneous classes while higher-achieving students learn no less well in classes with mixed abilities. Ms. Oakes concludes that heterogeneous grouping should replace tracking. Her work is based on data about student achievement and attitudes from the 25 schools examined in the research project, "A Study of Schooling." She is senior research associate in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Guides and Directories
Experiencing Adolescents: A Sourcebook for Parents, Teachers, and Teens, edited by Richard M. Lerner and Nancy L. Galambos (Garland Publishing Inc., 136 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016; 422 pages, $45).
This book offers a comprehensive look at the issues and problems faced by adolescents, and their families, teachers, and school guidance counselors. The first chapter provides a general overview of adolescence, and the following 10 chapters, written by different authors, look in detail at such topics as: the psychological and social ramifications of puberty and emerging sexuality; adolescents' relationships with family, teachers, and peers; substance abuse; medical problems; religious and moral development; and career options. Each chapter includes a list of agencies and professional resources that deal with the topic covered; an annotated bibliography of related books, articles, and reports; and a list of references used by the chapter's authors. Mr. Lerner is professor of child and adolescent development at Pennsylvania State University and Ms. Galambos is research assistant in the department of individual and family studies at Pennsylvania State University.
Managing Limited Resources: New Demands on Public School Management, Fifth Annual Yearbook of the American Education Finance Association, edited by L. Dean Webb and Van D. Mueller (Ballinger Publishing Company, 54 Church St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. 02138; 287 pages, $28).
Includes 12 chapters written by educators and school business officials on a range of current finance issues. Among the subjects covered are: accounting, budgeting, investments by public-school districts, traditional and alternative ways to finance the building and maintenance of facilities, alternative sources of revenue, insurance, the financing and management of transportation, food services, planning for future facilities needs, methods schools can use to purchase more with limited resources and make their purchasing departments more efficient, and ways to integrate the use of computers in business management. Each chapter inludes a list of references. The American Education Finance Association is an independent, nonprofit organization of individuals and groups concerned with issues relating to the financing of education. Ms. Webb is professor of educational administration at Arizona State University and a former public-school teacher and administrator. Mr. Mueller is professor of educational adminstration at the University of Minnesota.
Tapping Potential: English and Language Arts for the Black Learner, edited by Charlotte K. Brooks (National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Rd., Urbana, Ill. 61801; 330 pages, paper $13).
The editor has compiled 43 essays written by teachers, college professors, administrators, and researchers. The book is divided into four sections that examine the education of black students from the preschool to the postsecondary level. Among the topics covered in the sections on language and reading are: the principles of language acquisition, linguistic patterns often associated with "black English," early-childhood development and beginning reading instruction, black learning styles that can be applied to reading instruction in elementary schools, and ways in which minority students can be prepared to compete with others on standardized tests. The sections on writing and literature include essays on the need for more research and information on black students' writing styles; how graduate students are taught to teach writing to speakers of black dialects; the origins of the oral and written black literary tradition; and the use of African literature in the curriculum. Ms. Brooks, an educational consultant based in Washington, D.C., is a former president of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Dictionary of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Second Edition, by Leo J. Kelly and Glenn A. Vergason (Love Publishing Company, 1777 South Bellaire St., Denver, Colo. 80222; 212 pages, paper $12.95).
This dictionary of words and terms used in the field of special education was compiled for parents, students, educators, and other professionals from more than 100 current texts and professional books on the education of the handicapped. Key terms are italicized and cross-referenced. The book also includes a listing of the names and addresses of associations and national centers concerned with the education of the handicapped, English-language periodicals and journals covering the field, organizations that provide legal assistance on special-education issues, and microcomputer and technical centers and clearinghouses that offer information on education of the handicapped. Mr. Kelly is professor of education at Valdosta State College in Valdosta, Ga., and Mr. Vergason is professor of education at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Educational Microcomputing Annual: Volume 1, 1985, edited by John H. Tashner (The Oryx Press, Suite 103, 2214 North Central at Encanto, Phoenix, Ariz. 85004-1483; 184 pages, paper $24.50).
Written for educators and parents, this book is intended to be the first in a series of yearly volumes dealing with the uses of microcomputers in education. Essays in five sections cover general trends and problems, such as finding appropriate curricula to use with the new technology, questions relating to the development of hardware, educational software and changes in computer languages, the integration of microcomputers into the broader curriculum, and trends in training students and teachers in the use of microcomputers. Each section also includes an annotated bibliography of recommended readings. The book concludes with two appendices that list journals, national associations, and association publications dealing with the use of computers in education, as well as a glossary and index. Mr. Tashner is professor of secondary education and director of the computer laboratory in the College of Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
The Private Sector in the Public School: Can It Improve Education? edited by Marsha Levine (The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1150 17th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; 77 pages, paper $4.95).
This monograph presents the results of a conference sponsored by the National Institute of Education and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a nonprofit, Washington-based research and educational institution. The six participants commissioned to write papers for the conference include the former superintendent of the Arlington (Va.) County Public Schools, the former director of the National Institute of Education, and the director of academic affairs for Control Data Corporation. Starting with the premise that public education is a public responsibility, the conference participants, in summaries of their presentations, address the question of the appropriate role for the private sector in public education. The book also provides recommendations made for further research and the text of conference discussions. Ms. Levine is an education consultant with the aei, a former policy fellow in the U.S. Education Department, and a former teacher.