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June 18, 2003 9 min read
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Choice | High Schools & Adolescents | Home Schooling
Psychology & Child Development | Memoir

CHOICE

The Economics of School Choice
ed. by Caroline M. Hoxby (University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637; 352 pp., $75 hardcover).

Edited by an economist who is a leading research voice in the field, this collection of essays on school choice looks at developments in Florida and other states that make use of charter schools and voucher programs. Described as combining “the results of empirical research with analyses of the basic education forces underlying local education markets,” the book presents evidence on the impact of choice on student achievement, school productivity, teachers, and special education. Its contributors tackle difficult questions, such as whether school choice affects where people decide to live and how choice can be integrated into a system of school financing that gives children from different backgrounds equal access to resources.

HIGH SCHOOLS & ADOLESCENTS

Adolescents at School: Perspectives on Youth, Identity, and Education
ed. by Michael Sadowski (Harvard Education Press, 8 Story St., 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138; 200 pp., $24.95 paperback).

This volume of essays examines the complex identities adolescents negotiate while confronting the challenges of school. In the introduction, the editor makes the case for “Why Identity Matters at School,” illustrating how young people’s answers to the question “Who am I?” can affect their schoolwork as well as their relationships with teachers, peers, and others. Subsequent chapters, written by educators, university researchers, and education journalists, are devoted to five specific identity-related issues that can have profound effects on adolescents’ school lives: race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ability/disability. The final chapter provides case studies of three students whose lives, like those of all young people, represent the intersection of multiple identities and experiences. The book’s practical implications, highlighting six ways educators can serve the diverse students in their schools more effectively, are presented in a afterword.

High Schools on a Human Scale: How Small Schools Can Transform American Education
by Thomas Toch (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; 144 pp., $15 paperback).

Written by the writer-in-residence at the National Center on Education and the Economy, this book explores a growing reform idea—the power of small schools to improve community and student achievement—as it is applied to America’s high schools. Thomas Toch takes us to four small high schools throughout the country, including the Urban Academy in New York City, High Tech High in San Diego, The Met School in Providence, R.I., and Minnesota New Country School in Henderson, Minn.

Quotable ‘Good teachers bring us to life. Literally. It’s as if they take us by the hand when we are unsure of just what life is, and they lead us to the fullness and beauty of what it means to be alive. I think the Latin educare means to bring out into the light. That’s the way I feel about good teachers; that they have brought me out of a great deal of confusion and suffering and ignorance. They have brought me safely to a place where I understand and have a great range of feelings about life. I connect more fully with it. They deserve our praise and our appreciation and our remembrance.’—The Pulitzer Prize- winning writer Alice Walker, from a conversation recorded in In Praise of Our Teachers: A Multicultural Tribute to Those Who Inspired Us, edited by Gloria Wade Gayles, with contributions from Maya Angelou, Lydia Cortes, Marion Wright Edelman, James Earl Jones, and many others. The collection was published last month by Beacon Press (25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; 140 pp.; $17.50 hardcover).

Shooting the Rat: Outstanding Poems and Stories by High School Writers
ed. by Mark Pawlak, Dick Lourie, Robert Hershon, & Ron Schreiber (Hanging Loose Press, 231 Wyckoff St., Brooklyn, NY 11217; 280 pp., $26 hardcover, $16 paperback).

The third volume in a respected series, this anthology presents poems and stories by 93 of the nation’s best high school writers. The students’ works collected here first appeared in Hanging Loose magazine’s high school writing section.

Teen Ink: What Matters (Written by Teens)
ed. by Stephanie Meyer, John Meyer, & Peggy Veljkovic (Health Communications Inc., 3201 S.W. 15th St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442; 368 pp., 12.95 paperback).

This fifth installment in the Teen Ink series of writing and other works by teenagers examines what is important to today’s teenagers worldwide. Anthologized are 110 personal stories told through prose, poetry, visual art, and photography. Contributors include teenagers from almost every corner of the globe, including China, India, Lebanon, the United States, New Zealand, and other countries. Royalties from the sale of the book will go to the Young Authors Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides reading, writing, and educational opportunities for young people.

HOME SCHOOLING

Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery: A Journey of Original Seeking
by David H. Albert (Common Courage Press, Box 702, Monroe, ME 04951; 288 pp., $17.95 paperback).

This book is not a memoir or a how-to or a home school curriculum. It is instead, according to the author, a “call to nurture and celebrate the magical uniqueness of every child—home-schooled or not.” Written by a columnist for Home Education Magazine, the book tries to bridge the worlds of those who home school for religious reasons and those more concerned with the secular. “It is sometimes forgotten,” Mr. Albert writes, “that home schoolers of all kinds home school for the same reason; that we can provide a quality education for our children beyond anything that is even conceivable in a public school setting.”

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling
by John Holt & Pat Farenga (Perseus Publishing, 11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142; 334 pp., $18 paperback).

An expanded and updated version of the book by the late John Holt that first helped launch the home schooling movement 22 years ago. In it, Pat Farenga, a writer who is the president of Holt Associates, adds to Mr. Holt’s earlier reference by providing “up-to-the-moment” legal, financial, and logistical advice. The book discusses possible reasons for removing children from traditional schools, suggests how to confront common objections, and provides advice on learning how to approach home schooling as a lifestyle.

PSYCHOLOGY & CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Between Their World and Ours: Breakthroughs With Autistic Children
by Karen Zelan (St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010; 320 pp., $26.95 hardcover.)

This book provides prescriptive advice and documents the ways that psychotherapy can assist autistic children in overcoming problems in socializing, communicating, playing, feeling, and thinking. The author, trained in psychoanalytic milieu therapy at the University of Chicago’s Orthogenic School, describes nine of the 45 autists with whom she has worked over the years, capturing what it is like to be autistic. She demonstrates the need for humane responses to the condition’s severe problems.

Bulletproof Vests vs. The Ethic of Care: Which Strategy Is Your School Using?
ed by Denise Smith (Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706; 144 pp., $17.95 paperback).

A useful tool for K-12 educators, this collection of essays focuses on teaching practices that promote safe and nonviolent educational environments for children. Specific attention is paid to teaching practices that reflect Nel Nodding’s theory of the ethic of care, as well as Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological models.

Educating Oppositional and Defiant Children
by Philip S. Hall and Nancy D. Hall (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311; 205 pp., $21.95).

Offers practical advice on what approaches work and don’t work in successfully teaching so-called “oppositional” students, stressing that the teacher’s own behavior can positively influence these difficult students’ reactions. Readers are told how to identify the risk factors that can trigger antisocial behavior; engineer the classroom environment, routines, and tasks to increase success; interact in ways that promote positive behavior; temporarily remove a disruptive child from the classroom while preserving the child’s dignity; work with the child’s parents to find the appropriate special education services; guide parents toward effective training programs; and develop a school culture with the values and beliefs to nurture oppositional students.

Kid Stuff: Marketing Sex and Violence to America’s Children
ed. by Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2715 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218; 288 pp., $29.95).

A book meant to raise public awareness of the “nature of the messages” conveyed by mass media and the ways these messages affect children. Experts from many fields examine how the popular media work to form today’s child-rearing environment and the impact this has on children, and they suggest ways parents and communities can protect children while also protecting constitutional rights. Contributors include Todd Gitlin, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Craig A. Anderson, and others.

Laughing Allegra: Raising a Daughter With Learning Disabilities—A Mother’s Candid Story
by Anne Ford with John-Richard Thompson (New Market Press, 18 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017; 240 pp., $24.95 hardcover).

This memoir by a great- granddaughter of Henry Ford who formerly chaired the board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities tells of the challenges she faced in raising to adulthood a daughter who struggled with serious learning disabilities. The book also includes a resource section on specific issues affecting children with learning disabilities, answers parents’ most commonly asked questions, and lists schools, camps, and organizations that parents can contact for further guidance.

Learning to Trust: Transforming Difficult Elementary Classrooms Through Developmental Discipline
by Marilyn Watson in collaboration with Laura Ecken (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158; 352 pp., $29 hardcover) .

A collaboration between an educational psychologist and a classroom teacher, this book is an in-depth case study of an inner-city classroom, told through the teacher’s voice. The authors use real-life examples to show the power and importance of caring, trusting relationships for nurturing children’s academic growth as well as their social and ethical development.

MEMOIR

The Road to Home: My Life and Times
by Vartan Gregorian (Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 368 pp., $29.95 hardcover).

A memoir by the current president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, a past president of Brown University, and the former president and chief executive officer of the New York Public Library. The book describes the journey from an impoverished childhood in a provincial Iranian town to the very top of cultural and academic life and tells how the protagonist “strived to understand and then help to lead the broader world he first read about in borrowed books.”


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