I couldn't help but feel compelled to write a review after I read the previous review. If you like Dewey or Adler, you will really enjoy this book. Sizer draws from both Dewey and Adler's ideas and points out all the problems with education today. Sizer has years of experience in various areas of education which does nothing more than to give his words even more value. The book is written in first person, so you actually get to live through some of his experiences which brings him to his idea of reformed education. Sizer's coalition of essential schools are interesting and provide one of the best models for education up until this point. If you want to find more information about this model before reading the book, look up Coalition of Essential Schools. They are charter schools located throughout the U.S. that are using this model. This is a must read for anyone who wants to read about contemporary education and understand where we have come from. This book isn't that...
Theodore Sizer and his wife were intimately involved in just about every aspect of education reform from the 1950's till his death in 2007. He even connects to some earlier reform efforts through his father. And, to add to his credentials, it must be added that Sizer did just about every job in the education world from high school teacher to school principal to college professor and, lastly, founder of a charter movement. Along the way Sizer also found time to observe thousands of classrooms and interview thousands of students. Those quotes are sprinkled throughout his many books. This, his last book, is hopeful. Given that many of his best contemporaries including John Holt, John Taylor Gatto and Gerald Bracey embraced varying degrees of pessimism about American education it is interesting that Sizer never joined them. In Red Pencil Sizer asks the 64 dollar question: if so much of our system is screwed up why isn't anyone willing to take the risk of trying to do something...
I cannot agree with Sizer. My goal as a mathematics professor is for the students to understand the material, starting from the principles, and applying the logic. We need to examine the principles for empirical verification. In order to accomplish any goal, we must clearly state the goal at the outset. The goal of education is rational thinking. This is true for the most part, even though there are other parts, such as sports and arts. How do we state the goal? By asking ourselves, "What's the problem?" See Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better: Things to Help Students Think and To Do Better in School and In Life for a discussion of this point. What is rational thinking, our educational goal, the failure of which leads to the downfall of society? See the new book,...
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