on 14 August 1999
As a 30-year-old returning to school for teacher certification, I was distressed by the "cooperative learning" techniques currently trumpeted at the university I attend. After several courses in which I was encouraged to "discuss with my group" the objectives being tested (in lieu of a formal review), given "group tests" for final exams (which were also open-book), and being assigned in yet another group to divide up chapters of text and "discuss what was learned" with each other (without any input or insight from the Professor), I began to feel abnormal for being less than enthusiastic about the methods my instructors were promoting. By showing me that I am not alone in my criticism of such shallow techniques, and my desire to teach in a manner that focuses on skills and knowledge, Sykes' book has somewhat eased my disillusionment. What passes for instruction in schools of education across the country is nothing more than theory, rhetoric, and a lot of coddling that insults the intelligence - a simulation of what teaching has become in K-12 schools across the country. Something needs to be done about the schools of education that shape our nation's fledgling teachers, many of whom gobble up this nonsense eagerly, content with easy A's in their education courses and final exams that require little preparation. This book should be required reading on all college campuses where students are prepared to teach in our public schools, in place of the fatuous textbooks we are forced to consume.
on 23 January 1999
i was a teaching assistant at ucla for two years and i am currently in my third year of high school teaching in the los angeles unified school district. this book is deadly accurate on all points. i see first-hand every day high school students who can't read without difficulty or who can't read at all. i see students who can't compute simple fractions. and we continue to be forced to spend every "staff development day" working on "student learning standards", which are another name for outcome based standards. this is by day. at night, i take classes at a local university to earn my credential. they are useless and don't help me teach better. the united states is in trouble. i have read this book twice. and i intend to read it at least every other year to remind me that if i conform to these ridiculous outcome based standards, that i will be doing my students a disservice. this is a great, great book.
on 14 January 1997
With over two hundred studies conducted
nationwide showing the tenuous relationship
between school spending and quality education,
you would think those who make school policy would look elsewhere for a reason why our schools are such failures.
In this compelling and informative book about our educational decline
Charles Sykes gives us a glimpse into the insanity of a system which rewards political correctness, student failure and poor teaching habits. Dogmatic iberals
won't like it, but concerned parents and others should
look at this study before pouring any more funding into a failed system. Paul J. Walkowski, Co-Author, "From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court"