Book Review

Directions: Please select one book from the list you will find in the Book List. These books were selected to provide a variety of perspectives about the relationship between schools and society as a whole and some opportunities to explore topics of interest in more depth. Most are recent; A few are classic. I would expect that you could get most of these books from any good library. Used or e book editions of most are available inexpensively (many under $10) from Amazon.com and other on-line sellers. You can find more information about each book very easily by visiting Amazon and reading a detailed synopsis and review

After you read the book, write a 1000-1500 word review, emphasizing how the major themes and issues discussed in it connect to our discussion about schooling and society in this course.

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A few ideas to get you started (don’t use this list of questions as an outline — they do not apply to every book and would not provide a logical framework for an essay):

Why were you interested in the book and did it answer most of your questions about the major theme, or change your perspective about it?
Did the author or authors conduct research and how did they do it?
If the book focuses on the history of education, how does it compare to the book we read about the history of schools?
If racial or gender inequality is a major theme, what did your book add to what we have already read about that theme?
If the book focuses on a specific issue or problem like violence in schools, how does the author connect the issue to problems in society as a whole, and what does he or she think we should do about it?
If the book provides a broad overview of education reform or the role of schooling in society (i.e. the books on the list by Mike Rose, Wendy Kopp. E.D. Hirsch and several others) how does the author’s perspective compare to The Flat World and Education?
What does this book teach us about schools and society? Consider the roles of policy makers, educators, citizens and parents; diversity and equality; educational reform; the impact of social problems on education; policy issues; the history of American education; global perspectives and whatever seems most important to you.
Does the author identify problems or suggest that we reform the educational system or change the way that we think about it? What does the author base his/her conclusions on?

A good review includes a brief summary of key themes and information, but that should be more than 40% of what you write. Your analysis of the books strengths, limitations and contributions to our understanding of schooling and society should be a major part of your review. Include specific details, cases and examples that you think are especially important and interesting and cite them. I would like to see approximately 5 citations from different parts of your book. Try to include and cite some concepts and ideas discussed in the other material you read and viewed for this course (but do not use course lectures). The author of your book might provide information that gives you a deeper understanding of things you read for the course, or he or she may challenge their validity. I will be looking for approximately 3-5 citations from prior course readings, depending on the theme of your book and you can use more than one reference from the same textbook. This assignment will be worth 15 percent of your grade in total, including 1.5 percent for sharing ideas with your classmates in Discussion 3.

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