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The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve

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Award-winning education journalist Peg Tyre mines up-to-the-minute research to equip parents with the tools and knowledge necessary to get their children the best education possible We all know that the quality of education served up to our children in U.S. schools ranges from outstanding to shockingly inadequate. How can parents tell the difference? And how do they make su Award-winning education journalist Peg Tyre mines up-to-the-minute research to equip parents with the tools and knowledge necessary to get their children the best education possible We all know that the quality of education served up to our children in U.S. schools ranges from outstanding to shockingly inadequate. How can parents tell the difference? And how do they make sure their kids get what's best? Even the most involved and informed parents can feel overwhelmed and confused when making important decisions about their child's education. And the scary truth is that evaluating a school based on test scores and college admissions data is like selecting a car based on the color of its paint. Synthesizing cutting-edge research and firsthand reporting, Peg Tyre offers parents far smarter and more sophisticated ways to assess a classroom and decide if the school and the teacher have the right stuff. Passionate and persuasive, The Good School empowers parents to make sense of headlines; constructively engage teachers, administrators, and school boards; and figure out the best option for their child—be that a local public school, a magnet program, a charter school, homeschooling, parochial, or private.


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Award-winning education journalist Peg Tyre mines up-to-the-minute research to equip parents with the tools and knowledge necessary to get their children the best education possible We all know that the quality of education served up to our children in U.S. schools ranges from outstanding to shockingly inadequate. How can parents tell the difference? And how do they make su Award-winning education journalist Peg Tyre mines up-to-the-minute research to equip parents with the tools and knowledge necessary to get their children the best education possible We all know that the quality of education served up to our children in U.S. schools ranges from outstanding to shockingly inadequate. How can parents tell the difference? And how do they make sure their kids get what's best? Even the most involved and informed parents can feel overwhelmed and confused when making important decisions about their child's education. And the scary truth is that evaluating a school based on test scores and college admissions data is like selecting a car based on the color of its paint. Synthesizing cutting-edge research and firsthand reporting, Peg Tyre offers parents far smarter and more sophisticated ways to assess a classroom and decide if the school and the teacher have the right stuff. Passionate and persuasive, The Good School empowers parents to make sense of headlines; constructively engage teachers, administrators, and school boards; and figure out the best option for their child—be that a local public school, a magnet program, a charter school, homeschooling, parochial, or private.

30 review for The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate Robertson

    This is a helpful book if you are in the process of choosing an elementary school. As both a parent and a teacher with more than 20 years experience, I agree that there are some excellent teachers and some that do not need to be in the classroom at all. The teacher is the most critical element in a child's education -- more important than the school's reputation, the school's test scores (usually reported as averages for the school), or even the curriculum. Whereas, Tyre was spot on for the math This is a helpful book if you are in the process of choosing an elementary school. As both a parent and a teacher with more than 20 years experience, I agree that there are some excellent teachers and some that do not need to be in the classroom at all. The teacher is the most critical element in a child's education -- more important than the school's reputation, the school's test scores (usually reported as averages for the school), or even the curriculum. Whereas, Tyre was spot on for the mathematics chapter, I think the reading chapter is a little to extreme. Many teachers are trained to teach kids to read using a balanced approach. Yes, systematic phonics instruction is critical, but it is equally important to immerse young readers in good books and encourage them to use all three cueing systems: grapho-phonic; semantic, and syntactic. The line in the book that keeps resonating with me refers to distinguishes the superstar principals and teachers. They are the ones who are happy to share lots of information about what they are teaching and the methods they use. Be wary of principals and teachers who can only speak in generalities about either curriculum or student performance.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dustie

    A good fast read for parents who don't have a background in education ... I felt like the intro over-promised a bit but still felt that overall there were some good tidbits of information. Would be a good book for starting a discussion amongst parents/teachers/administrators. Makes me wonder, if we all came to the table with real honesty, where could our kids wind up?? What if you knew a teacher's strengths and weaknesses and they knew yours as well as your child's ... and you all worked togethe A good fast read for parents who don't have a background in education ... I felt like the intro over-promised a bit but still felt that overall there were some good tidbits of information. Would be a good book for starting a discussion amongst parents/teachers/administrators. Makes me wonder, if we all came to the table with real honesty, where could our kids wind up?? What if you knew a teacher's strengths and weaknesses and they knew yours as well as your child's ... and you all worked together for the benefit of your child. I think skilled educators do that everyday. Perhaps that is a tangential thought, but I think that books like these open the door for honest communication that leads to an informed and confident parent populace and/or an empowered parent populace that can fill the gaps as necessary. You could walk away from reading this book equipped with confidence that your state, district, and schools are getting it all right -- or you could leave wondering why things aren't different. Either way, Tyre attempts to provide background information that will inform your questions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This is a 3.5. I might have rounded up if it were not for some of the awkward writing and horrendous copyediting, including a reference to "pubic school." Really. Some of these books look like rough drafts that I would have been ashamed to show an editor. Tyre provides parents with a few tools to help them recognize quality schools. She breaks down test scores and explains what we can and cannot glean from them and I especially appreciated her analysis of reading and math curricula. This is a qui This is a 3.5. I might have rounded up if it were not for some of the awkward writing and horrendous copyediting, including a reference to "pubic school." Really. Some of these books look like rough drafts that I would have been ashamed to show an editor. Tyre provides parents with a few tools to help them recognize quality schools. She breaks down test scores and explains what we can and cannot glean from them and I especially appreciated her analysis of reading and math curricula. This is a quick read and I learned some useful facts, as well as some questions to ask principals and teachers. She stresses the importance of good teachers but the analysis felt thin. Yes, teachers need more training and principals need to take an active role when a teacher is not succeeding, but we also need to look at what we are asking teachers to do: babysit, feed, discipline, etc. They are teachers, not social workers. I would have appreciated a little more information about "good schools" for children who excel academically. Parents of little-littles--this book has a useful chapter on choosing a preschool.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Schumacher

    I just finished reading The Good School by Peg Tyre. From the introduction, here's what the book sets out to do: "If you are interested in "looking under the hood," this book is for you. It will help bring you up to speed on some of the most crucial issues and controversies that are likely to affect your child's education. It will provide you with a SparkNotes version of the history of education to explain to you why things are the way they are. It will introduce you to the freshest thinking - an I just finished reading The Good School by Peg Tyre. From the introduction, here's what the book sets out to do: "If you are interested in "looking under the hood," this book is for you. It will help bring you up to speed on some of the most crucial issues and controversies that are likely to affect your child's education. It will provide you with a SparkNotes version of the history of education to explain to you why things are the way they are. It will introduce you to the freshest thinking - and some of the most innovative ideas - about how to help our kids do better. But more than that, it will help you judge the value of these ideas by providing you with the most solid research available. In areas where research is not yet clear, you will meet people and hear about research that will be creating headlines - and perhaps school policy - in the years to come." And it does it with some success. The audience is very clearly parents, and there is a good deal of pandering. Parents are the greatest! etc. And the beginning of the book is overfull of this kind of thing, including a chapter specifically for busy parents who couldn't possibly read a whole book, who just want to find a good preschool and go to sleep. So this chapter is sort of a drag, giving the recommendations without the evidence, and so on. Chapter two on testing picks up a little bit, and there's a cogent explanation of the limitations and possible unintended consequences of standardized tests. The book might be worthwhile just for this explanation. Two interesting quotes. First, the "law" named after Donald T. Campbell: "The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitore." And some words from John Tanner, who runs Test Sense: "He draws a parallel between encouraging or even allowing teachers to teach to the test, and encouraging people to study for the eye test before they go to the DMV. "What would happen," Tanner says, "is that we'd have a lot of people passing the test but not have a clue whether they can actually see well enough to drive."" Chapter three on class size is interesting, because while acknowledging that everybody wants small class size and also that all the research seems to show smaller classes are better, if by small margins, Tyre tries to conclude that class size is not such a big deal in the domains that are usually in the field - and maybe she's right that 22 kids is not worlds better than 24, 34 not so much better than 36, and that teacher quality is more important, but I can't accept her apparent conclusion that smaller classes are not something to pursue. Never mind that nowhere is the fundamental issue of the reality of differentiation addressed: one teacher cannot do different things with different students at the same time. (Tyre does relate what I think may be an awfully common example of bad differentiation, which is simply giving a struggling, slower student less of the same stuff to do. Lowering expectations is better teaching?) The book really picks up at chapter four, where Tyre has a strong case that there is consensus in the literature about how best to teach reading, and that too often this conclusion is ignored, to the detriment of students. To my amusement, there is a section headed "Teaching reading is rocket science," which echoes a section from a speech (given after the publication of the book) by Los Angeles superintendent John Deasy, "Teaching is rocket science". Everybody wants to talk about rocket science now. And the research-backed right way to teach reading is phonics, or as they say in the UK "systematic synthetic phonics" (because you synthesize or blend sounds together) which I happen to know because I read this section from the 2010 England Department for Education white paper "The importance of teaching", where they describe as one of their goals in the executive summary that they must: "Ensure that there is support available to every school for the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics, as the best method for teaching reading." So it seems that people are coming around to this, but I remember even in my MAT program what I learned about how people teach reading was that there were a number of competing philosophies, and none of them necessarily had the upper hand. Phonics has the upper hand. It has the only hand. You must teach children to sound out words. There's a chapter on math too, which I generally agree with. Tyre emphasizes the importance of carefully planned curriculum that helps students progress through conceptual understandings of carefully arranged mathematics. There's praise for Singapore math and, more indirectly, Common Core. Tyre has support for recess. Great. Also she spends time talking about how some teachers are better than others. It's amazing that this needs to be said, but apparently it really does. The last chapter is the tale (true, she says) of how some parents got involved and helped make their local school better. Tyre supports parent involvement and system transparency, and I can only hope that things work out in general as well as they do in her story. There are plenty of things to disagree with or be frustrated by in this book, including some little ones that are just annoying or unfortunate. Using "an octagonal" instead of just saying an octagon. Leaving the "l" out of "public". These are the most superficial. I am more concerned when I can't find a relevant endnote for a numeric claim. But the book is at its best when it goes all the way to a conclusion on a topic, provides real evidence for that conclusion, and invites the reader to engage it. Together with the outlines of educational history, I think it is a worthwhile book that can definitely help parents get started with a more informed and powerful involvement in education.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marissa Morrison

    This is a fast read and a crucial book for anyone who is either teaching or sending a kid to school. Relying on a ton of research, Tyre highlights things that work in education--e.g. Tools of the Mind, Singapore math, phonics, aerobic exercise, summer enrichment, and teachers who were good students themselves. She also makes a strong case against the current obsession over high stakes tests.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shone Sadler

    After reading Khan's One World School house, I appreciated the pragmatism of this book. Its extremely relevant today and provides an excellent guide for parents who are attempting to work within our current education system. As a parent, its one of those books I am grateful for having read now, but wish I had been able to read it 10 years ago. After reading Khan's One World School house, I appreciated the pragmatism of this book. Its extremely relevant today and provides an excellent guide for parents who are attempting to work within our current education system. As a parent, its one of those books I am grateful for having read now, but wish I had been able to read it 10 years ago.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rodopa

    This is an excellent book on what to look for in a school. There is a lot of confusion on what a good school actually is, and the author breaks down the different variables that parent usually think of when evaluating a school and busts some myths around them. The book rang true to me at every chapter. It gives the historical context on why many schools teach the way they do, so to me all of a sudden it made a lot more sense in what I was seeing in schools when I toured. The author supports each This is an excellent book on what to look for in a school. There is a lot of confusion on what a good school actually is, and the author breaks down the different variables that parent usually think of when evaluating a school and busts some myths around them. The book rang true to me at every chapter. It gives the historical context on why many schools teach the way they do, so to me all of a sudden it made a lot more sense in what I was seeing in schools when I toured. The author supports each assertion with lots of evidence and challenged my assumptions on class size for example. Class size does not matter as much as I assumed. Also changed my mind slightly on testing. The authors seems very balanced in the way information is presented, with lots of evidence and not platitudes, emotions, or demagoguery. 1. Testing - necessary to certain extent 2. Reading - parents must be hyper aware of how a child progresses in reading, and if falling behind seek immediate intervention in the school.If the school does not care to provide it, the parent should make every effort to supplement at home or with a reading specialist outside of school. Extremely important for future academic success to be at minimum at grade level in reading. 3. Math - math instruction is a jumble of mixed approaches and standards, with many elementary teachers being math-phobic. Parents contribute to the already bad math setup by believing that either a kids is has aptitude for math or not. That assumption is wrong as proven by the Asian community (US and abroad) aptitude that math is a muscle that must be exercised to be strengthened. 4. Length of school day/year - convinced me that more time in school does not end up in more instruction hours and is not necessary great for kids. 5. Teachers - the teacher is the most important variable for success of the kids. There are as many good as inadequate teachers - worth the time to find out who those are in your school and seek out and push for your kids to be with the better teachers in a school. Overall, after almost finishing K with our dc, I can attest that those "tips" on what makes a good school are absolutely spot on.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jerrid Kruse

    The book makes many important points. However, some of the arguments are a bit misleading. Some are rooted in anecdotes, others are based on historical issues that are not really issues anymore. The author trusts the NCTQ studies without acknowledging the severe limitation of their data. While repeatedly denigrating schools of education, the author calls for implementing educational research. Who do they think does that research? Despite these severe shortcomings, the advice to parents is reason The book makes many important points. However, some of the arguments are a bit misleading. Some are rooted in anecdotes, others are based on historical issues that are not really issues anymore. The author trusts the NCTQ studies without acknowledging the severe limitation of their data. While repeatedly denigrating schools of education, the author calls for implementing educational research. Who do they think does that research? Despite these severe shortcomings, the advice to parents is reasonable and the book’s calls for educational improvement, although sometimes dated and misplaced, are mostly accurate.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Highly recommend to parents and educators. I wish I would have known about this book 8 years ago when my oldest started Kinder. I’ve figured out a lot through experience, but this book still was very helpful and motivating. Even if you feel like you don’t have a choice in which school your child attends, this books shows you what you can do to improve the school your child does attend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    This book is well worth your time if you are interested in evaluating the quality of your child’s school. I found the tone a bit pessimistic and accusatory. In fairness, my school and school district seem pretty good and I may be taking sympathetic offense. That said, there is a lot of research in this book that is helps parents without an education background evaluate their child’s education.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Massimo Gioffre

    The book is about the good school in america. So it has little to do with my country, Italy. Nevertheless it gives some food for thought.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diana Valdivia-Rodriguez

    Parents may be choosy in looking for a good school for their child's education. Parents may be choosy in looking for a good school for their child's education.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Interesting read on education research. I would have liked more ideas on questions to ask administrators to separate a good school from an average school.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Dietrich

    This book required waaaay too much skimming for me, it might be just the thing for someone else, but not for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    I found this book super helpful. It cut through the noise and helped me figure out what was important to me when picking a new school for my soon to be kindergartner

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Reagan Love

    Fantastic book to help guide parents on assessing a school and its curriculum. The format is clear and consists and its findings are based on solid research. All school administrators could benefit from this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erwin

    Interesting. Covers much of preschool through high school schooling in America. The chapter on standardized testing and reference to Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us towards the beginning points out the futility and pointlessness of testing, especially standardized testing. Oddly, most of the following chapters are focused on evaluating good schools vs less than good schools based on test results of students in the good schools without discussion of what is a good test that Interesting. Covers much of preschool through high school schooling in America. The chapter on standardized testing and reference to Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us towards the beginning points out the futility and pointlessness of testing, especially standardized testing. Oddly, most of the following chapters are focused on evaluating good schools vs less than good schools based on test results of students in the good schools without discussion of what is a good test that should our children's target. Personally, I think the author of Weapons of Mass Instruction:16091685 has a more cohesive philosophical view on mass schooling in general. I'm glad I read Mass Instruction before reading this. “Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.” –M. Gandhi Yet I haven't come across a summary of what our children should be learning. Looking at the problems we see in society and providing training to help avoid those problems would seem to be a start. Math is great to a point, yet calculators can effortlessly do most of our calculators and errors are certainly less frequent than human calculation errors. How many fail to: listen empathetically? (arguments) maintain long term relationships? (divorice) manage their finances? (debt slavery) control various impulses? (obesity, violence, substance abuse) identify meaning for ourself, and live a meaningful life? (mid life crisis, denial of/fear of death, regret) Shouldn't school focus on helping parents/communities to develop happy, healthy, responsibile people? Instead, "schooling" seems to create an insecure class we call consumers that depend on experts to tell them the right answer (in spite of the experts success record), doesn't even know how to take responsibility for their life. Even when the consumer is entrepreunarial, they dream of taking VC so that they can become an employee rather than owner of their own company. This reminds me of this Taleb quote in Antifragile: We are moving into a phase of modernity marked by the lobbyist, the very, very limited liability corporation, the MBA, sucker problems, secularization (or rather reinvention of new sacred values like flags to replace altars), the tax man, fear of the boss, spending the weekend in interesting places and the workweek in a putatively less interesting one, the separation of ?work? and ?leisure? (though the two would look identical to someone from a wiser era), the retirement plan, argumentative intellectuals who would disagree with this definition of modernity, literal thinking, inductive inference, philosophy of science, the invention of social science, smooth surfaces, and egocentric architects. -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb Outside of the major directional issue with the review of schools in each section, I did learn several things and took several notes. * Campbell's law / Goodhart's law: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure." This is true for SAT scores, GDP numbers, Inflation rates, Unemployment rates. Anytime a number gets popularized to the point that people start taking action based on the number, people will manipulate the number for their own benefit. (it's easier to change the inflation report than to change actual inflation) * Singapore Math: Singaporean Ministry of Education's math teaching system based on fewer mathmatical concepts covered in greater detail. Under the Singapore system, math instuction progresses in a logical path from simple to more compex. Singapore Math is a trend in US education. * Lesson Plan Study: The Japanese manufacturing "Kaizen" (consistent improvement over time) model applied to the lesson plan for each class. Instead of a teacher taking questioning of their instruction as a theat, questioning is a part of constantly improving the plan, looking for ways to make the progression between ideas smoother, more logical. Like continually editing a movie or a book. Oddly, I didn't see any reference to the Kahn Academy model of reviewing lecture videos in the evening and having teachers at the school during the day to help children with their questions. If the Lesson Plan Study model does have value, then there is no reason to have 10,000 teachers repeating the same plan. Simply have the very best teacher shoot a video, and all of the other teachers can focus on answering and helping with individual students.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles Sisson

    If you are interested in knowing what will lead to your child's best academic development, as a teacher I'll tell you I don't know of a better source of information. If you are interested in knowing what will lead to your child's best academic development, as a teacher I'll tell you I don't know of a better source of information.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Now, I know a lot of my friends out there are just on the brink of having a child in school, and I don't want to freak you out (too much). But I have to say, public education is not what it used to be. Adele is in school all day, they get only one recess (and it's before lunch, there is no play time after lunch), they have a snacktime (but it is a privilege, not a right, so sometimes they don't get snacks), and the curriculum is more intense than what I remember from 1st grade. Sure, she's learn Now, I know a lot of my friends out there are just on the brink of having a child in school, and I don't want to freak you out (too much). But I have to say, public education is not what it used to be. Adele is in school all day, they get only one recess (and it's before lunch, there is no play time after lunch), they have a snacktime (but it is a privilege, not a right, so sometimes they don't get snacks), and the curriculum is more intense than what I remember from 1st grade. Sure, she's learning, but whatever happened to being a kid? She's only 5! So I checked out this book, so I could understand a little bit better exactly what the studies say about school and what should be happening there. On the whole I found it informative and helpful, I even put in a phone call to Adele's teacher and had a nice 30 minute conversation with him about his reading curriculum, where it came from, how it works in the class, how Adele is doing with it, and what we can do to help her at home. He was very generous with his time and I appreciated it. One thing that bugged me about the book: as it went on, the editing got worse. There were probably 8 to 10 errors in the second half of the book. Weird. Some of you might want to read this book, or one similar to it, but probably won't, so I'll try to give you the major takeaways, briefly. 1. The number one determiner of success/learning/growth/achievement in school is probably the teacher. I hope you get a really good, enthusiastic, kind teacher, with an eye-popping vocabulary and boundless enthusiasm for children. Unfortunately, you don't get to choose your teacher most of the time. Sad. 2. A preschool should emphasize talking, reading, singing, numbers, letters, colors, animals (and naming), rhyming, number games, sorting, and measurement. "Learning should be embedded in play." Free play is crucial (Tools of the Mind, again--developing soft skills). 3. Do not rely solely on test scores to evaluate a school: if you want to look at scores, look at subgroups of kids over a period of years. Be wary of administrators who tout their test scores...also you don't want your kid to be in a classroom where all they do is teach to the test and take practice exams all year. That really isn't education. 4. With class size: 13-17 is best, but after that it doesn't matter too much (and good luck finding a public school with a class that small!). If the class is over 25 students, that's a bit too big. An effective teacher is more important than a small class. 5. This chapter is really good. She talks about all kinds of different issues with reading, and also gives a rundown of what your child should be able to do in each of the beginning grades. Very helpful. Bottom line: you should know how the school is trying to teach your child to read. Your child's teacher should be able to talk about this without becoming defensive, and should be able to tell you how your child is doing at any given time. Luckily, there's a lot you can do at home to help your child. 6. Talk about math with your small children, kids should be learning math from preschool on. Your attitude counts: math is not an innate talent but the result of hard work. The harder you work at math, the better you will get. 7. kids need recess (20 mins minimum) and breaks. During the summer break you should try to engage your kids in learning, or they will regress somewhat. by the time your child is in high school, "she should be at her aerobic peak" and she will be able to focus more on school that way. 8. Know your stuff, and when you ask informed questions, be respectful.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ilib4kids

    371.192 TYR CD 371.19 TYR help select preschool, elementary school, middle school Author has a fair knowledge about education history, talking about #1 important of good teachers, the necessary of recess time for children, all good. but totally no fundamental knowledge of math, and literacy, 不了解 math, and literacy 更不用说如何学。 Chap1 The preschool scramble The quality of teacher;quality of curriculum; deliver instruction in thoughtful, deliberate, appropriate for your child p29 Campbell's law p67 Campbell' 371.192 TYR CD 371.19 TYR help select preschool, elementary school, middle school Author has a fair knowledge about education history, talking about #1 important of good teachers, the necessary of recess time for children, all good. but totally no fundamental knowledge of math, and literacy, 不了解 math, and literacy 更不用说如何学。 Chap1 The preschool scramble The quality of teacher;quality of curriculum; deliver instruction in thoughtful, deliberate, appropriate for your child p29 Campbell's law p67 Campbell's law is an adage developed by Donald T. Campbell: "The more any quantitative social indicator (or even some qualitative indicator) is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor." The social science principle of Campbell's law is sometimes used to point out the negative consequences of high-stakes testing in U.S. classrooms. p106 phonemic awareness: Author is really stupid to back phonemic awareness, think about people learning second language, this phonemic approach obviously does not work. 170 - 180 days ,five days a week, six and a half hours a day state-approved school of education and complete 30 to 35 credits in education courses, or alternative certification. p191 an advanced degree in education, research says, doesn't necessarily make your child's teacher a good one. advanced degree in the subject she/he teach is a good sign. Lesson Plan Study Good teacher: his/her classroom is open to observation from staff and other teachers, and parents p196. Chap 8 Tthe perfect school p199 The curriculum ... would be tightly organized and properly sequenced...Well-trained and well-supervised teachers would deliver flawless instruction... p205 ..you never stop learning. True scientific knowledge is not dogma. It is public and open to challenge. And it is not set in stone. ---My comment: both statement can not be true at the same time. As teachers, we don't need to deliver the flawless instruction, instead we need to foster the right learning attitude (open minded, not take for anything for granted, a courage challenge authority), and good learning skill (such as self-learning skill). the current schools 的最大毛病 1. only "teaching to test", things appear in test are things are taught in school. Too narrow, too limited Wrong ideas 错误观点 1.Piaget's "grow into math" is absolute right, showed in my own child. 2.Whole language is also right method to learning literacy. Consider the extremely case: learning second language, phonic method does not work. 3. Jerome Bruner, Jerome Bruner没有对立 phonics system 有问题 Learning foreign Language, phonics system is obviously not working Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us by Daniel Koretz (Oct 15, 2009)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Chklovski

    The book does a good job of shedding light on what the common practices in education are, giving brief historical background that places it in context, and sketching out some political forces that shape factors such as teacher measurement. Written in a lively style, it gives examples of kids and their parents. The key chapters are on preschool, reading, arithmetic, other(highlighting importance of PE for achievement) and on importance of teacher quality. Citing well reproduced studies where possibl The book does a good job of shedding light on what the common practices in education are, giving brief historical background that places it in context, and sketching out some political forces that shape factors such as teacher measurement. Written in a lively style, it gives examples of kids and their parents. The key chapters are on preschool, reading, arithmetic, other(highlighting importance of PE for achievement) and on importance of teacher quality. Citing well reproduced studies where possible, the book highlights the best known practices. One new thing about reading to me was that while a less structured approach works for more than half the kids, a large portion of otherwise perfectly capable children benefit from the highly incremental approach oh phonics in learning to read. After getting the basics of reading, it appears that most children benefit from "whole language" approach, where rich and diverse exposure to all sorts of written language is encouraged. It also appears that there are similar hurdles with math -- some initial proclivity to be good at quick estimations and basic counting seem to be correlated with consequent involvement with and accomplishment in math. On math, the preference is given to singapore math, a focused approach that de emphasizes drills and instead focuses on the understanding of the concepts. Another revealing aspect has been the focus of the schools on ensuring children perform at least at the grade level -- if a child is capable of much more than basic grade level performance, there is little by way of metrics or incentives in the educational system to make sure that child improves further. For instance, a school gains very little by challenging the student to be in the next grade level, vs excel in a grade that is at their age bracket, but is too easy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Bazzett-Griffith

    I always forget to update when I finish audiobooks. This book was decent. It was well-organized and made solid points and the research was excellent. That said, there is an awful lot of emphasis and responsibility put on the schools as the only/primary teacher of kids, even kids from upper/ middle class backgrounds, which I found a bit insulting. I get it- teaching kids should be done in schools, but I don't think parents should neglect to teach their preschool age children the basics going into I always forget to update when I finish audiobooks. This book was decent. It was well-organized and made solid points and the research was excellent. That said, there is an awful lot of emphasis and responsibility put on the schools as the only/primary teacher of kids, even kids from upper/ middle class backgrounds, which I found a bit insulting. I get it- teaching kids should be done in schools, but I don't think parents should neglect to teach their preschool age children the basics going into kindergarten. ABCs and number sense should all be part of toddlerhood. If you're not into it yourself, turn on some freaking Sesame Street! I believe in good schools, I believe that schools need to educate their students, but I also will never understand parents who don't take part of the responsibility unto themselves. The best chapters, in my opinion, were those that explained that sometimes looking at test scores for certain schools were not only not enough, but often, flat out misleading. Good teachers, positive environments, proven teaching methods, PLAY and recess opportunities. Sometimes people will get a little caught up in fancy websites and technology and hype and forget that foundation skills don't need so many extras to be well taught, and sometimes all of those bells and whistles can distract kids into forgetting how to become active, rather than passive learners. A good book to start with if you're unfamiliar with best practices and basic educational philosophies. A bit dry, but informative.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Research plus practical applications. Peg Tyre gets down to brass tacks, and every parent can use this information. It particularly affirmed my belief that reading to students is never a bad idea. As a language teacher, I want my students to hear the sound of the language as well as look at the words. This was also affirmed as being very important. Great stuff. My grandkids are being homeschooled, so I don't have to worry about how hard it is to get a good teacher, but the teacher is the key to Research plus practical applications. Peg Tyre gets down to brass tacks, and every parent can use this information. It particularly affirmed my belief that reading to students is never a bad idea. As a language teacher, I want my students to hear the sound of the language as well as look at the words. This was also affirmed as being very important. Great stuff. My grandkids are being homeschooled, so I don't have to worry about how hard it is to get a good teacher, but the teacher is the key to a child's success in a school setting. duh. P. 94 "And the tragedy is, experts who work with kids who struggle[to read]say that if the right instruction is delivered in mainstream classrooms, somewhere between 95 and 98 percent of all children are able to learn to read." This percentage correlates to the number of women who are able to breastfeed and the number of births that would proceed normally if not interfered with. That our society does not value children has never been more apparent. Decisions about reading instruction, how schools are structured, how birth and breastfeeding are managed, ad nauseam, are not made with the best interests of the children at heart. I'm really heartsick over the greed and selfishness of our society. The Judeo-Christian value that says each human life is worthwhile and important has been buried in the pursuit of wealth and power. way to go, human nature.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ben Iverson

    I think that everyone who has a school-age kid should read this book. It does a really nice job of synthesizing a whole bunch of information, and directly and answering the questions that concerned parents would like to have answered about their child's education. Each chapter had some clear, major take-aways, and I felt like it at least gave me a clear set of things that I want to make sure that my kids' schools have. I also really liked that the book was very fair, and that it was not pushing I think that everyone who has a school-age kid should read this book. It does a really nice job of synthesizing a whole bunch of information, and directly and answering the questions that concerned parents would like to have answered about their child's education. Each chapter had some clear, major take-aways, and I felt like it at least gave me a clear set of things that I want to make sure that my kids' schools have. I also really liked that the book was very fair, and that it was not pushing a particular agenda. Tyre was open about what we still don't know, and openly says that some of her recommendations will likely change as new evidence comes out. I really appreciated that. I only have two complaints about the book: (1) it used a fair amount of research, but rarely were the claims backed up by numbers. For example, she said pre-school teachers who are very verbal (talk a lot) do a better job of helping kids learn language skills. That's good to know, but how big was the impact? How much do they need to talk? I just felt like it was light on real numbers so that I could get a handle on the magnitude of the various effects. (2) It was bit on the dry side. Writing a book like this that isn't dry is pretty hard to do, so this is a pretty minor complaint. Anyway, besides those two things, this was really a great book. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    A short summation of the take-aways: There is no such thing as a perfect school. But that doesn't mean you should be content, accepting the negatives with the positives, about wherever your child ends up. There are no "perfect schools", but there are "good schools". Good teachers are one of the most important ingredients of good schools. But there are good teachers in bad schools and bad teachers in good schools. Paying money to make sure your child attends a "good school" isn't a sure-fire way A short summation of the take-aways: There is no such thing as a perfect school. But that doesn't mean you should be content, accepting the negatives with the positives, about wherever your child ends up. There are no "perfect schools", but there are "good schools". Good teachers are one of the most important ingredients of good schools. But there are good teachers in bad schools and bad teachers in good schools. Paying money to make sure your child attends a "good school" isn't a sure-fire way to ensure your child gets a good education. You have to ask the hard questions of their teachers, principals and administrators, even if that means tremendous frustration when nothing happens. You, as a parent, have to take the initiative to understand the latest research in education and don't assume that the people paid to educate your child take any interest in the "latest" findings. Get involved, and team up with other involved parents. Eventually, change can happen within the most petrified of school administrations. Before reading this, I was dismissive, even derisive, of those parents who actively lobbied to get their child into this class or that, this school or that. After reading this book, I understand exactly why that is necessary.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    As a parent who probably over-researches things, this was a helpful book. Despite the fact that my oldest child is in first grade, I haven't really dug into education yet. I can talk to you for an hour about the benefits of breastfeeding, but as for which way schools should be teaching things I'm sort of clueless. For me, this book was reassuring. We bought our house BECAUSE of the school district, but just based on word of mouth (we were new to the area). Now I find that those silly unifix cube As a parent who probably over-researches things, this was a helpful book. Despite the fact that my oldest child is in first grade, I haven't really dug into education yet. I can talk to you for an hour about the benefits of breastfeeding, but as for which way schools should be teaching things I'm sort of clueless. For me, this book was reassuring. We bought our house BECAUSE of the school district, but just based on word of mouth (we were new to the area). Now I find that those silly unifix cube math manipulatives are actually part of a better way of learning math than how I learned :-) Knowing that the whole first grade is doing the same thing is good - it shows an organized school curriculum. Basically, I've learned I don't have to worry. Not that I won't still be vigilant, but I can relax some. This is not really a book for people who's schools stink, as much as a way to determine what schools are good. There is enough information for an activist parent to start getting involved and know what needs to be changed though, so it might be a good jumping off point for them too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Huxtable

    I skimmed the section on preschool, since we are past that in this family... This book doesn 't break any new ground, but here are some good takeaways for me: Care about your school's test scores, but don 't go crazy. We know that's true. We chose not to send our oldest to our feeder pattern school because of the test results from that school(among other reasons). After he was accepted to the gifted program, which is housed in our feeder pattern school, we realized that we were being shortsighted. I skimmed the section on preschool, since we are past that in this family... This book doesn 't break any new ground, but here are some good takeaways for me: Care about your school's test scores, but don 't go crazy. We know that's true. We chose not to send our oldest to our feeder pattern school because of the test results from that school(among other reasons). After he was accepted to the gifted program, which is housed in our feeder pattern school, we realized that we were being shortsighted. Even though the test results were below norm, the principal of the school worked very hard to employ the very best teachers around, and instituted many programs to improve learning. As our other sons have entered school, we didn't even consider another school - we knew that the best teachers around were at our local school. I'm also feeling really good about our school district's decision to switch to the Singapore math curriculum. But I am also feeling confident that supplementing our kids' math education with Kumon drilling is a very good idea. Good to read, but keep your perspective.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Haruko

    This book was interesting but not quite as good as the author's previous book "The Trouble with Boys". While her observations and science based assertions are somewhat interesting and maybe even helpful in looking at schools, the book is not without problems. An example of a problem was in a chapter describing mathematical achievements. She shows the readers that other countries fair much better. Among them are a few Asian nations (China, Japan). She tries to come up with a scientific explanation This book was interesting but not quite as good as the author's previous book "The Trouble with Boys". While her observations and science based assertions are somewhat interesting and maybe even helpful in looking at schools, the book is not without problems. An example of a problem was in a chapter describing mathematical achievements. She shows the readers that other countries fair much better. Among them are a few Asian nations (China, Japan). She tries to come up with a scientific explanation behind this but then somehow concludes that Asian parents have the notion that mathematical ability is something to work on and not a gift that you just have. If this is the case, she should have compared children in America with different type of parenting styles and compare results. She could have tried harder to come up with differences instead for a more satisfying conclusion.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This book takes an assumption as to what makes a good school and cites research that support that definition of a good school. It is, of course, a persuasive book, but I wonder about the danger of not debating the definition of "good school". I could imagine someone writing the same book with the same assumption as to what makes a good school, but arguing totally different points by citing totally different research. I am left with a lot of doubts. I am also left with wanting to know more as a t This book takes an assumption as to what makes a good school and cites research that support that definition of a good school. It is, of course, a persuasive book, but I wonder about the danger of not debating the definition of "good school". I could imagine someone writing the same book with the same assumption as to what makes a good school, but arguing totally different points by citing totally different research. I am left with a lot of doubts. I am also left with wanting to know more as a teacher, but,a s the book was written to parents instead of to teachers, it remains unclear as to how to find professional development opportunities that would address many of the issues that the author argues makes good teachers and good schools.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This was an informative book. The most important thing being that kids need good teachers more than anything. There are good and bad teachers in any school (I've seen them both). Parents need to know what goes on in their schools, volunteer, sit and listen, ask questions. Parents need to be involved in their students learning. Talk about a lot of things, start working on math skills at an early age, have art and science projects at home. Parents can't leave all the learning to the teachers....th This was an informative book. The most important thing being that kids need good teachers more than anything. There are good and bad teachers in any school (I've seen them both). Parents need to know what goes on in their schools, volunteer, sit and listen, ask questions. Parents need to be involved in their students learning. Talk about a lot of things, start working on math skills at an early age, have art and science projects at home. Parents can't leave all the learning to the teachers....these days the teachers are under a lot of laws and regulations and pressured to teach to the tests.....it's a hard job, especially with so many different pressures (including family problems and stress that kids have). Good book. I feel like I know what I'm doing in helping my kids succeed.

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