Books: New In Print
Reading Education: Foundations for a Literate America, edited by Jean Osborn, Paul T. Wilson, and Richard C. Anderson (Lexington Books, D.C. Heath and Company, 125 Spring St., Lexington, Mass. 02173; 340 pages, cloth $33.50).
Concerned that researchers often fail to share their findings with policymakers, organizers of a 1983 conference, "Foundations for a Literate America" brought reading experts together with chief state school officers, textbook-adoption officials, publishers, and other policymakers to share information. This collection of 24 essays, a result of that conference, is divided into three parts that examine published programs, such as teachers' basal-reading manuals and content-area textbooks; the organization of schools and classrooms and how reading is taught; and research about reading instruction that can be used to develop better teaching and learning in the classroom. Jean Osborn is the associate director of the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois, Paul T. Wilson is assistant professor at the center, and Richard C. Anderson is professor of education and psychology and director of the Center for the Study of Reading.
20 Teachers, by Ken Macrorie (Oxford University Press, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016; 251 pages, cloth $17.95).
Seven years ago, Mr. Macrorie set out to find teachers whose students produced what he calls "good works." He wanted to examine what made these teachers successful in helping students do work that had meaning to them, to other students and teachers, or to people outside the classroom. This book, the result of Mr. Macrorie's search, is a compilation of 20 profiles of teachers, ranging from a woodworking instructor at a private boys' school in Pennsylvania to a teacher educator at the University of London. Mr. Macrorie describes what their students accomplish in the classroom and what the teachers felt was essential to their success. He concludes with a chapter about how successful teachers accomplish their goals and an "open letter about schools" in which he criticizes their failure to foster good work habits, self-discipline, and curiosity. Mr. Macrorie is emeritus professor of English at Western Michigan University, a staff member of the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, Vt., and the author of several books on writing and teaching.
TV, Science, & Kids: Teaching Our Children To Question, edited by Kim Hays for Action for Children's Television (Addison-Wesley, General Publishing Group, Reading, Mass. 01867; 210 pages, cloth $17.95).
Arguing that television's professional programmers have neglected their responsibility to serve American children, contributers to this volume of essays look at the relationship between the medium and science education. Produced by Action for Children's Television, a nonprofit advocacy group founded to improve the quality and diversity of children's television, this collection of 27 essays looks at how science is portrayed on television and how the medium could be used to help teach science, both in and out of the classroom. The contributors range from Don Herbert, television's "Mr. Wizard," to Representative Albert Gore Jr., Democrat of Tennessee. Their essays consider a broad range of topics, including: the economic and political dangers of scientific illiteracy and what television can do to counter them; how television can encourage groups such as women and minorities to consider careers in science and technology; and television programs that have been successful in helping children become more comfortable with and knowledgeable about science. The book also includes appendices listing instructional television programs, books, articles, periodicals, and organizations that deal with television and science education.
Guides and Directories
Handbook for Achieving Sex Equity Through Education, edited by Susan S. Klein (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md. 21218; 544 pages, cloth $25.95).
This publication looks at how educational strategies can be used to help schools and society achieve equality between the sexes, and how sex equity can be fostered within educational settings and activities. In 25 essays, writers examine common assumptions about what sex equity means within the framework of education and methods that can be used on the administrative level to encourage sex equity. They also look at how educational practices, such as classroom organization or testing, can promote sex equity; ways to promote sex equity for specific groups, such as minority or rural women; and equality between the sexes in early and postsecondary education. The editor concludes with recommendations for fostering equality between the sexes within the education system. Ms. Klein is a senior researcher with the National Institute of Education.
The Teenager's Guide to the Best Summer Opportunities, Jan W. Greenberg (The Harvard Common Press, 535 Albany St., Boston, Mass. 02118; 197 pages, cloth $16.95, paper $9.95).
Written for high-school counselors, parents, and teen-agers, this guide examines ways young people can find rewarding paying or nonpaying jobs and participate in a range of other summer opportunities. The first section looks at internships with government, business, and nonprofit organizations and examines how students can start their own summer businesses. The second section covers programs that generally involve tuition, such as sports, arts, and study-abroad programs, and volunteer service opportunities. Eight appendices include information on national organizations that offer summer programs for students, state departments of labor, federal job information centers, as well as information on the National Park Service, the Youth Conservation Corps, the U.S. Forest Service, and regional offices of action, the federally funded volunteer-service organization. Ms. Greenberg is the author of other books on career opportunities for young people.
Performance-Based Funding in Public Schools, by Charles A. Foster and Deanna J. Marquart (Sequoia Institute, 1822 21st St., Sacramento, Calif. 95814; 32 pages, paper free of charge).
Mr. Foster, a retired Shell Oil Company vice president and member of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, and Ms. Marquart, the founder of a policy-analysis consulting firm in California, examine the rationale for rewarding schools financially on the basis of their performance. Their booklet looks at three plans--merit-pay for teachers and administrators, career ladders, and incentive payments to schools--and examines two private companies that successfully implemented merit-pay or performance-bonus plans. Merit-pay plans, they conclude, should involve both teachers and administrators, and performance-based funding can be an effective reform, particularly when put into place along with other structural reforms.
Voices from the Classroom: Students and Teachers Speak Out on the Quality of Teaching in Our Schools, edited by Laurie Olsen and Melinda Moore, a report of the Students for Quality Teaching Project/Citizens Policy Center (Citizens Policy Center, 1515 Webster St., #401, Oakland, Calif. 94612; 80 pages, paper $6).
The Students for Quality Teaching Project, supported by foundation grants, was designed to provide students and teachers with an opportunity to participate in the current discussion about education reform. This report, examining how both look at issues relating to the quality of instruction, is based on interviews with 2,670 students and 137 teachers in middle and high schools in four California districts. It is divided according to issues discussed, such as what makes an excellent teacher or what it feels like to be teaching for the first time. The booklet includes the students' recommendations for improvement in each area. An accompanying manual for middle- and high-school officials interested in creating similar projects is also available from the Citizens Policy Center.--Pamela Winston