Books: Of General Interest

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Broken Promises: How Americans Fail Their Children, by W. Norton Grubb and Marvin Lazerson (Basic Books Inc., 10 East 53rd St., New York, N.Y. 10027; 368 pages, $20.75).

The nation's promises to children have not been kept, say the authors of this historical study of the cultural idea of public responsibility for families and children. Efforts to provide for children's health, welfare, and education have failed because they have been limited by the "myth" that child rearing is primarily a private, family responsibility. But economic and social conditions exert a profound influence on the young--an influence that parents cannot address, the authors conclude. However, they argue, the state's efforts to help have been incomplete and contradictory.

Mr. Grubb and Mr. Lazerson propose a sweeping "restructuring" of the state's role, placing value on the "collective good" as a way to repair "the corruption of public responsibility for children." Among their many ideas for reform are changes in education that would: emphasize development rather than control of students, de-emphasize individual economic gain, and stress a curriculum of literacy and critical thinking. Mr. Grubb is an associate professor in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Lazerson is professor of education at the University of British Columbia.

Everywoman's Guide to Colleges and Universities, edited by Florence Howe, Suzanne Howard, and Mary Jo Boehm Strauss (The Feminist Press, Box 334, Old Westbury, N.Y. 11568; 534 pages, paper $12.95 plus $1.50 for postage and handling).

This guidebook lists 600 public and private, two- and four-year colleges and universities in the United States and provides information of specific interest to women, including: descriptions of child-care facilities, the ratio of faculty to students by sex, intercollegiate women's sports, number of returning women students, women students and faculty members in leadership and administrative positions, housing and transportation, sexual harassment policies, women's studies programs, and other women-oriented programs, activities, and facilities. Additional information on degree requirements, the number of full- and part-time students, and a description written by a representative of the institution are also included. The book is based on information gathered by questionnaires and on statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics. Intended for use by high-school students and their parents, and guidance counselors.

The Meaning of Educational Change, by Michael Fullan (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, N.Y. 10027; 340 pages, paper $18.95).

In an analysis of positive and negative educational change in elementary and secondary schools over the last 12 years, the author attempts to suggest a coherent and manageable way in which educators can carry out school reform. Based on research on the successes and failures of such programs and a compilation of theories and practices that the author believes work, Mr. Fullan addresses such questions as: How do we know when change is worthwhile? How can teachers and administrators change a situation they view as wrong? How can policymakers put new programs into practice? What can individuals do to improve the success rate of their projects? For educators at all levels of elementary and secondary education, the book examines change from a variety of perspectives--including those of students, teachers, and government agencies. Includes a bibliography listing 500 resources. Mr. Fullan is professor of sociology in education and assistant academic director at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

For Special Interests

The Music Came From Deep Inside: A Story of Artists and Severely Handicapped Children, by Junius Eddy (McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020; 191 pages, $16.95).

The author presents his personal reaction to a government-sponsored experiment in which professional artists used their art in three different schools to find new methods of teaching handicapped children. The book examines the effect of music, dance, theater, and other arts on handicapped and retarded children, and includes personal comments and narratives from the participants.

Anne Bridgman

Vol. 02, Issue 05

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