Published Online: March 22, 2005
Published in Print: March 23, 2005, as new in print

Book Review

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Creating Great Schools: Six Critical Systems at the Heart of Educational Innovation

by Phillip C. Schlechty (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Publishers Imprint, 111 River St., 4th Floor, Hoboken, NJ 07030; 259 pp., $30 hardback).

The creator of some of the nation’s most innovative professional-development programs for educators offers a hands-on primer for school leaders on how they can “buck the system from within” and create a culture of continuous improvement.

Doc: The Story of Dennis Littky and His Fight for a Better School

by Susan Kammeraad-Campbell (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311; 420 pp., $29.95 paperback).

The basis for the NBC television movie “A Town Torn Apart,” this book tells the story of an unorthodox new principal in rural New Hampshire who takes his rundown school from district joke to national prominence. The methods he champions include integrated subject matter, team teaching, apprenticeship, and individualized curriculum.

Does God Belong in Public Schools?

by Kent Greenawalt (Princeton University Press, 41 William St., Princeton, NJ 08540; 261 pp., $29.95 hardback).

A leading constitutional scholar charts the history of religion in American schools and offers his perspective on the increasingly harsh debates this subject has engendered over recent decades. Refusing to teach about religion, he writes, may produce distortions in students’ view of their history and society. But he also warns that the line between dogma and discourse must be carefully guarded.

Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and Be Able to Do

ed. by Linda Darling-Hammond & John Bransford (Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley Publishers, 111 River St., 4th Floor, Hoboken, NJ 07030; 591 pp., $38 hardcover).

Stemming from the results of a commission sponsored by the National Academy of Education, this collection addresses the foundational knowledge for teaching and discusses how to transfer that knowledge to the classroom. The driving vision is to put in place—as law, medicine, engineering, and architecture have done—the key elements of a professional education curriculum.

Teaching by Heart: The Foxfire Interviews

by Sara Day Hatton (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027; 143 pp., $15.95 paperback).

Some of the country’s most prominent voices in education, including Robert Coles, Vivian Paley, Maxine Green, Alfie Kohn, Parker Palmer, Ira Shor, Theodore R. Sizer, and Donald Graves, give their reflections on teaching and learning in this very personal collection of interviews. A former staff member at the Rabun County, Ga., Foxfire educational organization has put together interviews originally conducted for The Active Learner: A Foxfire Journal for Teachers with commentary that weaves connections between them and compares the participants’ methods and ideas.

Twilight Children: Three Voices No One Heard Until a Therapist Listened

by Torey Hayden (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St. New York, NY 10022; 331 pp., $24.95 hardback).

Written by an educational psychologist and former special education teacher who is now a best-selling author, this is the story of three people whose “feelings are not seen and needs are not met”: 9-year-old Cassandra, who has been subjected to repeated and severe abuse; 4-year-old Drake, who refuses to speak to anyone but his mother; and Gerda, an 82-year-old woman in a stroke-rehabilitation unit who cannot produce speech. How these three conquer their despair and go beyond their limitations is a lesson in the importance of interpersonal relations.

—Sandra Reeves

Vol. 24, Issue 28, Page 32

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