News In Print

November 21, 1984 7 min read


Boys and Girls: Superheroes in the Doll Corner, by Vivian Gussin Paley (The University of Chicago Press, 5801 Ellis Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60637; 116 pages, cloth $12.50).

Arguing that “kindergarten is a triumph of sexual self-stereotyping,’' the author chronicles her involvement with a class of kindergarten students as they begin to define themselves in terms of sex roles. An elementary-school teacher for 25 years, Ms. Paley describes in journal-like style her attempts to understand the dynamics of her classroom and her struggle to accept the boys’ play as well as the girls’. She concludes that the boys’ fantasies represent “natural, universal, and essential play” and questions teachers that reward the quiet domesticity of girls over the adventurousness of boys.

Redefining General Education in the American High School, by Arthur D. Roberts and Gordon Cawelti (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 225 North Washington St., Alexandria, Va. 22314; 160 pages, paper $8.50).

Citing the need for a significant national effort to define the core areas, or “common learnings,” in which every American high-school student should be educated, the authors present the results of a two-year project involving a network of 14 high schools across the country that has attempted to define and implement general-education curricula appropriate to students’ different needs. Among the major conclusions of the book is that planning and implementation of changes are most effective and appropriate to a school’s individual character if they are generated by local faculty and administration rather than simply mandated at the district or state level. The authors also include appendices that describe four of the participating schools’ “common learnings.’' Mr. Roberts is a professor of education, curriculum, and instruction at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and Mr. Cawelti is the executive director of the ascd

School Context and School Change: Implications for Effective Planning, by H. Dickson Corbett, Judith A. Dawson, and William A. Firestone (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, N.Y. 10027; 206 pages, cloth $18.95).

Expressing concern that those who initiate school-reform efforts too often neglect to consider how schools differ from each other, the authors offer advice for planning for change within the context of a school’s individual character. The book looks at the question of why efforts to change work effectively in some schools and not in others, based on the authors’ three years of observations and interviews in 14 elementary, junior, and senior high schools. It considers both the influence of educators from outside the school, such as state education department staff members and district-level curriculum coordinators, and the participation of local administrative staff members and teachers. Three appendices offer case histories of the schools that participated in the study, an explanation of the research methods used, and suggestions for how educators might better assess the effect of individual school characteristics on desired change. The authors are researchers with Research for Better Schools, a federally supported research organization in Philadelphia.

Teachers’ Totter: A Report on Teacher Certification Issues, by Mary E. Dilworth (Institute for the Study of Educational Policy, Howard University, 2900 Van Ness St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; 123 pages, cloth and paper free of charge).

The author considers teacher-certification issues from the perspective of blacks in the profession. She argues that the increasing number of teacher-certification tests mandated by states threatens to reduce significantly the number of new minority teachers and seriously harm the historically black institutions of higher education that train teachers. Ms. Dilworth, a research fellow at Howard University’s Institute for the Study of Educational Policy, considers the development of teacher-training requirements, the history of blacks in the teaching profession, and the use of testing to provide accountability, and makes recommendations on how teacher training and testing could be reorganized to be more effective and more sensitive to the concerns of minority teachers.

Guides and Directories

How to Build Staff Involvement in School Management, by Donovan R. Walling (Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 07632; 196 pages, cloth $18.50).

Mr. Walling, a teacher, administrator, and author, presents school administrators with information on how and why to set up school work groups to build staff involvement. He provides suggestions on how to increase the level of effectiveness of staff meetings, advisory panels, and workshops for staff involvement, with the aims of strengthening the sense of professionalism among the school’s educators and fostering greater communication between administrators and staff members. The book contains appendices that outline meeting procedures and list additional resources.

International Students in the United States: A Guide for Secondary School Administrators, by the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs and the Committee on International Programs of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (nafsa, 1860 19th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009; 113 pages, paper $2).

Addressing both the benefits and the problems that can arise when foreign students attend American high schools, the nafsa offers suggestions on how to place and evaluate foreign students, recommendations for guidance and counseling--including information on U.S. immigration regulations and procedures--and information for principals, as well as brief cultural profiles of Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan.

The College Cost Book 1984-85, Fifth Edition, by the College Board (College Entrance Examination Board, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, N.Y. 10106; 235 pages, paper $10.95).

The College Board presents information for students, parents, and college counselors on financing college, including how students can determine the costs of attending college, how families can calculate their ability to pay, and where students can apply for assistance. The guide also offers advice on applying for financial aid and stretching personal resources. And it provides appendices with additional information on individual colleges and state and federal sources of financial aid.

Toward Better and Safer Schools: A School Leader’s Guide to Delinquency Prevention, by Amalia G. Cuervo, Joan Lees, and Richard Lacey (National School Boards Association, 1680 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22314; 234 pages, paper $14.95).

This guide looks at the relationship between effective schools and delinquency prevention, and offers numerous delinquency-prevention strategies for school officials. The authors also provide an annotated bibliography of relevant articles and books and a listing of resources for further information.

Other Resources

It’s Your Future: Catalyst’s Career Guide for High School Girls, by the Catalyst Staff (Peterson’s Guides, 166 Bunn Dr., P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, N.J. 08540; 322 pages, paper $9.95).

The staff of Catalyst, a national nonprofit organization that works with corporations and individuals on career- and family-guidance issues, presents a two-part guide for high-school girls to assist them in deciding on careers. The first section of the book offers information, interviews, exercises, and worksheets to help students determine their areas of interest and aptitude; the second section offers advice on how to get educational and professional credentials, and how to look for and find the right job.

Legal Aspects of Pupil Transportation, by Ralph D. Mawdsley (National Organization on Legal Problems of Education, Southwest Plaza, Suite 223, 3601 Southwest 29th St., Topeka, Kan. 66614; 47 pages, paper $9.95).

This monograph, written for school-board members, administrators, and school lawyers, addresses issues of student transportation, including choosing and funding transportation, the school’s responsibility for students, defense of the school board in litigation, transportation of special-education students, busing of students for the purpose of desegregation, and transportation of private-school students.

Selling School Budgets in Hard Times, by William Goldstein (Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, Eighth and Union, Box 789, Bloomington, Ind. 47402; 37 pages, 75 cents).

The author, superintendent of the Rocky Hill (Conn.) Public Schools, tells teachers, administrators, and school-board members how to prepare and present school budgets that persuade local taxpayers to provide more money to schools. He examines how a persuasive budget is put together and answers common questions that arise about financial planning for schools.

Teenagers Themselves: Teenagers Speak About ...,” by the Glenbard East Echo (Adama Books, 306 West 38th St., New York, N.Y. 10018; 270 pages, cloth $16.95).

The staff of the Glenbard East Echo, a high-school newspaper in Lombard, Ill., presents interviews with, and illustrations by, students across the country on topics ranging from school, divorce, sex, religion, and prejudice, to the national debt and the possibility of World War III. The book is the result of a year-long project in which almost 9,000 responses from students were solicited and evaluated by the staff of the Echo with the help of their newspaper adviser and teachers.

--Pamela Winston