- Can Working Families Ever Win? by Jody Heymann (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; 142 pp., $16 paperback).
Describes the failure of public- and private-sector policies designed to meet the needs of working families. This examination of the problem by the founder and director of the Project on Global Working Families at Harvard University’s school of public health demonstrates the plight of two-income working families that need to care for dependents such as preschool-age children, children out of school for vacation or due to illness, and elderly parents. The author discusses the types of help working families need, including access to public transportation, extended-day programs, and reformed labor policies. But she also asserts that reforming the social structure and workplace laws will have universal benefits, including the provision of equal opportunity and breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Without reform, the book argues, gaps between poor, middle-class, and rich children will continue to grow. Fifteen contributors respond to the author’s lead essay, including Anne Alstott, Jean Bethke Elshtain, James P. Comer, William Galston, and Frances Fox Piven.
- Family-Institution Interaction:
New Refrains by Cynthia Wallat (Peter Lang Publishing, 275 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001; 136 pp., $24.95 paperback).
An attempt to present the lessons learned from decades-long study of the cognitive and social behaviors that are associated with successful learning and development in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The author keys her analysis particularly to what has been learned about language and interaction from studies “across family and public organizational settings.” Provides a base for practitioners, researchers, family members, and policymakers to, as the author writes, “develop new ways to think about the interaction of upbringing functions across family and public institutions.”
- How Communities Build Stronger Schools: Stories, Strategies, and Promising Practices for Educating Every Child by Anne Wescott Dodd and Jean L. Konzal (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, U.K.; 348 pp., $29.95 hardcover).
Two professors of education ask readers to suspend disbelief as they propose an ideal—what they call “the new paradigm” of schooling, described as a “seamless” and “synergistic” connection between home, school, and community. They emphasize the relationships between parents and educators, while considering community members essential, as well, to creating good, democratic schools for all children. Part one of the book details the challenges of parent and community involvement in today’s schools. Part two presents a new way of thinking about these relationships, and part three offers practical ways to reach the ideal.
- School as Community: From Promise to Practice ed. by Gail Furman (State University of New York Press, 90 State St., Suite 700, Albany, N.Y. 12207; 312 pp., $24.95 paperback).
The editor, a professor of educational leadership and counseling psychology at Washington State University, argues that little is known about the “practice” of community in schools. The contributors, most of whom are teacher-educators, explore the nature of school community, how it is achieved and sustained in public schools, and the place of leadership in this “practice.” Addresses the challenges of community-building in highly diverse K-12 public schools.
- Improving Schools for African-American Students: A Reader for Educational Leaders ed. by Sheryl J. Denbo and Lynson Moore Beaulieu (Charles C. Thomas, 2600 S. First St., Springfield, IL 62704; 266 pp., $63.95 hardcover, $42.95 paperback).
A collection of essays examining a wide variety of policies, programs, practices, and research findings that may provide educational leaders with insight into what it takes to improve the education of African- American students. Part one looks at “institutional racism” in the context of American public schools and offers suggestions on eliminating harmful policies and practices. Part two is a discussion of the kinds of institutional and instructional changes that are needed for African-American students to be successful. Part three describes the challenges African-American students face in today’s high-stakes testing environment. The editors also provide a review of the literature on schools that have succeeded in their efforts to narrow the achievement gap at all school levels.
- High Stakes: Children, Testing, and Failure in American Schools
by Dale D. Johnson and Bonnie Johnson (Rowman and Littlefield, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706; 248 pp., $22.95 paperback).
Written by two teacher-educators who left the university to return to the classroom and teach in a poor rural school district. This record of life in two classrooms at Redbud Elementary School in Redbud, La., over the course of an academic year is an eye-opener. The writers demonstrate how excessive state-mandated monitoring, high-stakes testing, and inequities in public school funding impede instruction, particularly that of poor students, that teachers are able to offer.
- In Search of Wholeness: African-American Teachers and Their Culturally Specific Classroom Practices ed. by Jacqueline Jordan Irvine (Palgrave Macmillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010; 192 pp., $18.95 paperback).
This collection, edited by a professor of urban education at Emory University, “assumes that teachers cannot become fully functional persons and competent professionals if their cultural selves remain denied, hidden, and unexplored.” Contributions are both theoretical and practice-oriented and explore how culture and race influence African-American teachers. Divided into two parts, the book first reviews the literature related to teachers’ race and culture. In part two, research studies about teachers confronting issues of culture and race in their personal and professional lives are presented. A final chapter gives the responses of three of the teachers profiled in the book. Topics discussed include: multicultural professional development for African-American teachers, black teachers’ view of their professional roles and practices, a comparison of effective black and white teachers of African- American students, and discussions of culturally specific pedagogy.
- Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children ed. by D. Kimbrough Oller and Rebecca E. Eilers (Multilingual Matters, Frankfurt Lodge, Clevedon Hall, Victoria Road, Clevedon BS21 7HH, England; 312 pp., $29.95 paperback).
This study of bilingual education in the Miami schools reports research on the effects of bilingual learning on the ability to speak two languages and to attain full literacy in both languages. Looks at the interdependence of linguistic knowledge in bilinguals, the role of socioeconomic status, and the effect of different language-usage patterns in a student’s home, and compares schooling by single-language immersion with systematic training in the target language (English) and the student’s home language.
- Lessons From Turtle Island: Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms by Guy W. Jones and Sally Moomaw (Redleaf Press, 450 N. Syndicate, Suite 5, St. Paul, MN 55104; 176 pp., $29.95 paperback).
This guide to exploring Native American issues with children is concerned with the need for honest representation of American Indian culture in early school settings. Written by two educators, one Native American and one white, it focuses on five crosscultural themes, including children, home, families, community, and the environment. The book offers ways to help children identify and dismantle cultural stereotypes aimed at the America Indian and other communities.
More information is available from the publisher or your local library or bookstore. Many of these books can be ordered by calling (888) 887-3200, or at www.edweek.org/products/boo kshelf.htm.