October 13, 1999 3 min read
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Communicating With the Public: A Guide for School Leaders, by Anne Meek (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311-1714; 144 pp., $22.95 list price, $18.95 ASCD member price). Urges educational leaders to move beyond the “crisis communications” approach and to establish “proactive communications” programs within schools and between schools and their communities. Chapters address the communication roles of educators working in schools and those working in central offices. Resources include a school climate checklist, tips for working with the news media, guidelines for conducting focus groups, and help with creating news releases, videotapes, and World Wide Web sites.

Victory in Our Schools: We Can Give Our Children Excellent Public Education, by John Stanford (Bantam, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036; 256 pp., $13.95 paperback original). Completed by Mr. Stanford, the retired major general-turned-superintendent, shortly before his death last November, the book explains how the author’s experiences as a commanding officer in the U.S. Army gave him the perspective and tools necessary to turn around the Seattle public schools. He writes: “People wondered when I was hired how someone with no background in education could possibly fix the schools. ... But Seattle didn’t need an educator. ... Seattle needed a leader to galvanize the entire city into action.”


Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America,by James W. Fraser (St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010; 278 pp., $24.95 hardcover). Looks at the difficult question of how private issues of faith can be reconciled with the public nature of schooling. At the most basic level, the author argues, the debate over religion and public education is a debate about the nature of democratic culture: Who defines the dominant culture of the nation? and how are minority rights and traditions protected?

Controlling Public Education: Localism Vs. Equity, by Kathryn A. McDermott (University Press of Kansas, 2501 W. 15th, Lawrence, KS 66049-3904; 208 pp., $17.95 paperback, $40 hardcover). Argues that existing local control is not only inequitable, but also fails to live up to its reputation for guaranteeing public participation. The author draws upon democratic theory and the results of field research in New Haven, Conn., and three suburbs to contend that our education system can be made more democratic by: (1) centralizing control over funding while decentralizing most authority over schools to the level of schools themselves; and (2) enacting public school choice controlled for racial balance.

The Tracking Wars: State Reform Meets School Policy, by Tom Loveless (Brookings Institution Press, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20036-2188; 194 pp., $16.95 paperback, $39.95 hardcover). Counters the argument that tracking--grouping students by ability or prior achievement into different classes--is and always has been about race, class, and inequality. Despite the adoption of “tracking reform” in California, Massachusetts, and other states, the author argues, the effectiveness of such change remains unproven.


Teaching as the Learning Profession: Handbook of Policy and Practice, edited by Linda Darling-Hammond & Gary Sykes (Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 426 pp., $49.95 hardcover). An overview of the issues and challenges facing the teaching profession. The authors present case studies of innovative approaches to school improvement, principles for better staff development, proposals for the reform of teachers’ unions, and practical advice on recruitment, licensing, career development, diversity, leadership, networks, and other forms of teacher-to-teacher learning.

A Guide to College Programs in Teacher Preparation, by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 560 pp., $24.95 paperback original). A guide to nationally accredited institutions that prepare teachers. The book is designed to help prospective teachers, career advisers, recruiters, and employers get the newest information about preparation programs that have met NCATE standards. It lists: degrees and programs offered; enrollment information; tuition and financial aid; institutional resources and addresses; standards and licensing information; and student-teaching opportunities.


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