Books: New in Print
Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors, by Marian Wright Edelman (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108- 2892; 180 pp., $20 hardcover). Tells how the adults in the life of a Southern black girl—from her parents, to the women in the church of her youth, to famous and not-so-famous figures in the civil rights movement—taught her to always keep fighting for her beliefs. Ms. Edelman, the president of the Children's Defense Fund, illustrates the book with personal photographs and includes "Twenty-Five More Lessons for Life" as well as a list of "parent pledges."
To Honor a Teacher: Students Pay Tribute to Their Most Influential Mentors, collected by Jeff Spoden (Andrews McMeel, 4520 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111-7701; 229 pp., $14.95 hardcover). A collection of original prose and poetry by students about their most significant mentors—including teachers, coaches, college instructors, and members of the clergy. Contributors include Sylvia Boorstein, Pete Seeger, James Earl Jones, and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.
Our Labeled Children: What Every Parent and Teacher Needs To Know About Learning Disabilities, by Robert J. Sternberg & Elena L. Grigorenko (Perseus Books, 11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142; 288 pp., $25 hardcover). Urges readers to understand the full range of factors that contribute to learning disabilities—and sometimes their misdiagnosis—in order to improve the American diagnostic and educational systems. Both authors are cognitive psychologists and explore, among other issues, the biological bases of dyslexia and other disabilities; tests that do and do not accurately assess learning disabilities; and the social and educational pressures that contribute to misdiagnosis in this country.
Testing & Assessment
The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy, by Nicholas Lemann (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003; 406 pp., $27 hardcover). Chronicles how the SAT became "enshrined in U.S. culture." The questions and issues addressed include: who invented standardized testing, and why; how the Educational Testing Service rose to dominance in the assessment field; and why standardized testing has failed to make American society and education better.
Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do About It, by Peter Sacks (Perseus Books, 11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142; 320 pp., $26 hardcover). Argues that intelligence testing, from K- 12 to the college level, is an unhealthy and enduring obsession. The author suggests alternatives to standardized tests and explores the concept of "performance assessment," in which students and schools are assessed "by what they can actually do on activities that matter, rather than on abstract, multiple-choice tests."
Curriculum & Methods
The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide From Preschool Through Eighth Grade, by William J. Bennett, Chester E. Finn Jr., & John T.E. Cribb Jr. (The Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 688 pp., $30 hardcover). Outlines the fundamentals of a successful K-8 education in the disciplines of English, history, science, mathematics, geography, civics, and art. The authors cover issues of importance to parents—including testing, homework, discipline, and extracurricular activities—and address controversial initiatives such as outcomes-based education, charter schools, vouchers, and national testing and standards. The Educated Child is illustrated with excerpts from E.D. Hirsch Jr.'s Core Knowledge Sequence.
Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance, edited by Milla Cozart Riggio (Modern Language Association, 10 Astor Place, New York, NY 10003-2981; 503 pp., $40 hardcover, $22 paperback). Designed for teachers of both high school and college English courses who want to introduce performance strategies into their classrooms. This volume of the Modern Language Association's "Options for Teaching" series contains 31 essays and is divided into five parts: "Theory and History"; "Teaching Strategies"; "Exemplary Courses"; "Films and Electronic Resources"; and "Annotated Guides."
Becoming Good American Schools: The Struggle for Civic Virtue in Education Reform, by Jeannie Oakes, Karen Hunter Quartz, Steve Ryan, & Martin Lipton (Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 385 pp., $28.95 hardcover). Draws on longitudinal, comparative case-study research to tell the stories of 16 schools in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, and Vermont that sought to alter their structures and practices to improve students' academic outcomes. The authors followed the schools for most of the 1990s and reached the conclusion that better schools will come "only when policymakers, educators, and citizens move beyond technical and bureaucratic reforms to engage in the same educative, socially just, caring, and participatory processes they want for schoolchildren."
Coming Into Her Own: Educational Success in Girls and Women,
edited by Sara N. Davis, Mary Crawford, & Jadwiga Sebrechts
(Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 361 pp.,
$35.95 hardcover). Examines the progress of the educational
experience for girls and women since the 1960s. Written by experts in
the fields of education, psychology, and women's studies, the book
attempts to answer the question: What are optimal educational
environments for girls and women? Topics explored include
teacher-student relationships and the differing contexts of
coeducational and single-sex institutions.
Vol. 19, Issue 20, Page 32