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Of General Interest

The Erosion of Childhood, by Valerie Polakow Suransky (University of Chicago Press, 5801 South Ellis Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60637; 256 pages; $15.00 (est.); forthcoming, May 1982).

In the belief that contemporary society is destroying the traditional concept of childhood, Ms. Suransky, an assistant professor in the University of Michigan's educational psychology department, explores ways to restore the curiosity, moral sensibility, and playfulness she believes children have lost. Her conclusions are drawn from a study of five preschool centers, including profit-making, federally funded, community, and Montessori institutions. Ms. Suransky proposes alternatives to our current educational system, some of them drawn from cross-cultural examples, designed to protect both the interests of children and the rights of parents in various kinds of family units.

The Graves of Academe, by Richard Mitchell (Little, Brown and Company, 34 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 02106; 229 pages; $11.95).

Johnny can't read, says the Underground Grammarian Richard Mitchell, because teachers can't teach. Educators and other professionals come under fire in his book for their teacher-training prescriptions. Mr. Mitchell pinpoints two major villains--the Wundterkinder school of psychologists for its emphasis on education as a science, and the 1913 National Education Association Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education for its "humanistic" view of education--and calls for a return to basic teaching and students who can read, write, and cipher.

Religion and Public Education, edited by Theodore R. Sizer (University Press of America, P.O. Box 19101, Washington, D.C., 20036; 385 pages; cloth $23.75, paper $13.50).

First published in 1967, this collection of essays has been reissued, Mr. Sizer writes, because "there has been no diminution" in the importance of religion and public education. Mr. Sizer, former headmaster of Phillips Academy, Andover, and now director of a study on the American high school, believes school authorities have not properly defined religion or its place in the schools. Eighteen contributors address the role of religion in public schooling, providing definitions of religion and philosophy, identifying resources, and discussing the issues of teacher objectivity and school neutrality. Specific theological perspectives on public education are explored, including those of Judaism and Protestantism.

Science Anxiety: Fear of Science and How to Overcome It, by Jeffry V. Mallow (Thomond Press, 52 Vanderbilt Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; 252 pages; $9.95).

Widespread fear of science is responsible for low enrollments in science classes and growing ignorance about the technology that is fast becoming a major part of our lives. Mr. Mallow probes the roots of these fears and examines their manifestation in the classroom. He discusses his Science Anxiety Clinic at Loyola University and suggests how parents and teachers can help individual students. Includes a bibliography on "women and science."

For Special Interests Financing Education, by John T. Gibson (University Press of America, P.O. Box 19101, Washington, D.C., 20036; 498 pages; $23.75 cloth, $14.25 paper).

An examination of school financing and business administration for educators who want to understand and participate more fully in their school's finance matters.

Perspectives in Multicultural Education, edited by William E. Sims and Bernice Bass de Martinez (University Press of America, P.O. Box 19101, Washington, D.C., 20036; 230 pages; cloth $18.50, paper $9.75).

Examines approaches to multicultural education and provides specific lesson plans for teachers attempting to provide a positive multicultural experience.

Anne Bridgman

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