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Shaking Up Public Education: One Teacher's Quest To Make A Difference In Our Schools

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Our public schools are failing the youth of this country. How can this be? How can a country so rich and powerful have a public school system that ranks below countries like Estonia and Hungary? Ronald Reagan once called America the “shining light on the hill,” but that light is fading fast. Our country has debated educational reform for decades. Why are these problems gett Our public schools are failing the youth of this country. How can this be? How can a country so rich and powerful have a public school system that ranks below countries like Estonia and Hungary? Ronald Reagan once called America the “shining light on the hill,” but that light is fading fast. Our country has debated educational reform for decades. Why are these problems getting worse? The answers are found in the erosion of the core fundamental principles that are needed to create successful schools. The foundations of our public schools are cracked and ready to fall. We cannot move forward and implement new ideas until we secure our foundations. Once we are on firm ground we can begin to rebuild. This book will explain the complexity of the problems we face, but more importantly, it will focus on the practical solutions. Many of the solutions will infuriate the political pundits, but will resonate with parents and teachers everywhere. Individual teachers and parents feel helpless as politicians and administrators wave their magic wands and pass harmful policies and legislation. These are OUR children that comprise the public school population. The political and social elite continue to neglect our public schools while sending THEIR children to private institutions. We must join this fight together before it’s too late. If we continue down this road I fear for our future generations and the impact a poor education will have on them. We can cover our eyes and pretend the problems don’t exist. We can look the other way and hope others will solve the problems, or every parent and every teacher can make their voices heard and demand change. Teachers and parents may not realize it, but they hold the power to force an educational revolution. Together we can save our children and the future of this great country.


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Our public schools are failing the youth of this country. How can this be? How can a country so rich and powerful have a public school system that ranks below countries like Estonia and Hungary? Ronald Reagan once called America the “shining light on the hill,” but that light is fading fast. Our country has debated educational reform for decades. Why are these problems gett Our public schools are failing the youth of this country. How can this be? How can a country so rich and powerful have a public school system that ranks below countries like Estonia and Hungary? Ronald Reagan once called America the “shining light on the hill,” but that light is fading fast. Our country has debated educational reform for decades. Why are these problems getting worse? The answers are found in the erosion of the core fundamental principles that are needed to create successful schools. The foundations of our public schools are cracked and ready to fall. We cannot move forward and implement new ideas until we secure our foundations. Once we are on firm ground we can begin to rebuild. This book will explain the complexity of the problems we face, but more importantly, it will focus on the practical solutions. Many of the solutions will infuriate the political pundits, but will resonate with parents and teachers everywhere. Individual teachers and parents feel helpless as politicians and administrators wave their magic wands and pass harmful policies and legislation. These are OUR children that comprise the public school population. The political and social elite continue to neglect our public schools while sending THEIR children to private institutions. We must join this fight together before it’s too late. If we continue down this road I fear for our future generations and the impact a poor education will have on them. We can cover our eyes and pretend the problems don’t exist. We can look the other way and hope others will solve the problems, or every parent and every teacher can make their voices heard and demand change. Teachers and parents may not realize it, but they hold the power to force an educational revolution. Together we can save our children and the future of this great country.

36 review for Shaking Up Public Education: One Teacher's Quest To Make A Difference In Our Schools

  1. 5 out of 5

    S

    As the title of the book suggest, insights, opinions, evaluations and recommendations from this book is from a teacher’s point of view – this pretty much gives him somehow the authority to discuss about the subject as he (Elder) himself has been exposed to the realities of the public school education. The author aims to inform and give practical solutions to the problems faced by public education (administration, systems, environments, etc). This work is for those who still believe and hope tha As the title of the book suggest, insights, opinions, evaluations and recommendations from this book is from a teacher’s point of view – this pretty much gives him somehow the authority to discuss about the subject as he (Elder) himself has been exposed to the realities of the public school education. The author aims to inform and give practical solutions to the problems faced by public education (administration, systems, environments, etc). This work is for those who still believe and hope that reforms in regard to public education are still achievable if only given serious thought and consideration. As a matter of fact, there are solutions and resolutions provided by the author signifying his serious concern about the subject matter. Reading this book is similar to reading a thesis on public education. This brings back college memories to me. My thesis then was about the Effectiveness of Online Tutorials and it has been easy to relate with the information and insights provided by the author. The rationale of the work is solid. The author did not fail to provide concrete situations where he deemed something is amiss. It wasn’t difficult to agree with the author when he said there is still hope (for the public education). To be able to appreciate the book, don’t push yourself to finish this in one sitting. I think, doing so would not help you in absorbing some information or reflecting on current public education situations that you are aware of. The latter will help you in understanding where the author is coming from or if there is any basis to what he is writing. Although it is true that this book relatively differs from those highly academic reads you’ll have about the topic, the personal experiences relayed by the author are true. However, as a reader, I can’t help but ask for more. True, Elder was able to discuss a lot of things concerning public education and why is there a dire need to change some things but, I can’t help but crave for something more – maybe more testimonials and experiences from other public teachers who agrees with him that YES, there is a need to influence change and eradicate some ridiculous rules (which are of no apparent and relevant effect to improving systems, etc). Also, don’t get me wrong but I have the highest regard for teachers, especially the best ones. But, I cannot help but feel a slight disagreement to Elder when he starts mentioning how the teaching profession is better than those who are in the television (the entertainers). We are called to respond to each calling, therefore, it is out of the question to compare and contrast who’s got the better profession and who’s helping other people more. I also have to disagree with the author when he compared (twice) scores of poor performing public schools in some states to that of the scores of the third world countries. Whether he meant that as an expression or what, that is a very wrong generalization, even conceited to say. America is a strong country but it is not strong because other countries are weak. It simply is. Moving on, Elder has a thing for great quotes and insights and he is able to utilize them well. In fact, he is able to have good lines of his own. One example is, “A gifted teacher has an ability to bring out the best in their students.” I really like this line and this is just one of the many I found in this book (excluding famous quotes found on every chapter). The middle chapters of the books have become my favorite. These are the chapters which didn’t miss to discuss bullying (should be one of the most important priorities of each school), NCLB (why it is both good and bad), and how each state and public school administration could work out to create and provide a fitting learning environment to students. I, also, strongly agree that good and well deserving teachers be given incentives or performance bonuses just like other professionals. The last chapter is the best. It is where instead of just talking about what’s lacking and the problems of public schools, the author offered solutions which are actually sound, practical, and worth recommending to school administrations which could really use them. Generally, I like this book. It is worth reading and if asked if would I recommend this book to anyone I know? I already did, as a matter of fact. To a friend who is a teacher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I am attracted to any book centered on school reform, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. I am shocked and horrified by how backward some of this author's suggestions for "school reform" are. THEY ARE CHILDREN. Not criminals. Not animals. Creating an institution-like school for students with disabilities? Requiring students with behavioral issues to attend a militaristic boot camp school? "Parent participation would be mandatory with this program. If the parents refused to comply, the child wou I am attracted to any book centered on school reform, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. I am shocked and horrified by how backward some of this author's suggestions for "school reform" are. THEY ARE CHILDREN. Not criminals. Not animals. Creating an institution-like school for students with disabilities? Requiring students with behavioral issues to attend a militaristic boot camp school? "Parent participation would be mandatory with this program. If the parents refused to comply, the child would be forced to stay in the program and the parents would also be punished." Are you kidding me? This section of the book felt like satire. What about making a legitimate, honest effort to connect with the student and his or her parents out of compassion?? As a teacher, you don't give up on a student. No matter how hard the going gets. You just don't. You find a way to get through to him or her. By treating students like they are criminals, you're reinforcing the disruptive behavior. The author talks about having "known troublemakers" in his class. Studied self-fulfilling prophesy? Teacher expectations-student achievement? Rosenthal effect? Don't label kids. All children can learn. If you don't believe that, don't become a teacher. The author says, "Teaching a child to be accountable for one's own actions may be the hardest thing to do. It is almost instinctive to deflect blame." How about being accountable for your role as a teacher? Talk about deflecting blame. That said, I do agree with some of the ideas the author proposes. I finished reading the book, as I wanted to hear the author out. However, the positive points he makes were, in my mind, largely overshadowed by his preposterous ones. The bright side of my reading this book is that I am now inspired to write a book of my own. The author is right in that it's a good sign when people are willing at all to start a discussion regarding our failing schools. I just hope the reform model we end up with truly benefits all students.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Pham

    Enlightening and practical, this book is an excellent explanation of the problems in the education and proposed wonderful solutions. The ideas presented are logical and pragmatic. The book makes its clear that the condition of the US education system as a whole needs repair. And in that regard this book succeeds in informing of the system's flaws. However this is hindered by the excess of rhetorical questions and a tone that seems somehow too casual for such a important issue. I received this boo Enlightening and practical, this book is an excellent explanation of the problems in the education and proposed wonderful solutions. The ideas presented are logical and pragmatic. The book makes its clear that the condition of the US education system as a whole needs repair. And in that regard this book succeeds in informing of the system's flaws. However this is hindered by the excess of rhetorical questions and a tone that seems somehow too casual for such a important issue. I received this book through First Reads.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I thought it was outstanding, it kept my attention and I was very impressed. I really liked what I read. I can't wait to read more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Grace Ward

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Bertrand

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Reynolds

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rosanna

  9. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Frenken

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

  12. 4 out of 5

    Terrell Sanzone

  13. 4 out of 5

    R. Thomas

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Lavender

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Waterman

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  20. 4 out of 5

    Max

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Lavoie

  23. 4 out of 5

    James

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Lee

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angie Carroll

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Anderson-Little

  28. 4 out of 5

    Azizi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Reis

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leemarie J. Morales

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jules

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  33. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  34. 5 out of 5

    Malinda

  35. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

  36. 4 out of 5

    Randall Christopher

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