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Education Reform Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center

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Book Image Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice
by Sol Stern
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Sol Stern’s Breaking Free explores the growing demand for school choice among poor families in the inner city. Stern describes the dramatic successes and occasional failures of this “new civil rights movement” in three key cities: Milwaukee, Cleveland, and New York.

Filled with timely insights and human drama, Breaking Free vividly describes how cash-starved Catholic schools in the South Bronx are performing small educational miracles every day with children the public schools have given up on. In Milwaukee and Cleveland, Stern finds that the voucher program has rescued large numbers of poor minority children from violent, chaotic and failing public schools and allowed them to attend parochial and private schools where high expectations often result in high achievement.

Drawing on personal observation and intimate conversations with parents, students and educators, Breaking Free is the first book to transform school choice from an abstract policy issue into a question of basic personal freedom, and indeed, for minority children at the bottom of the social ladder, into a question of survival. Equal access to the American dream through quality education is, Sol Stern convinces us, the unfinished business before us.

Book Image Class Warfare: Besieged Schools, Bewildered Parents, Betrayed Kids and the Attack on Excellence
by J. Martin Rochester
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"Class Warfare: Besieged Schools, Bewildered Parents, Betrayed Kids and the Attack on Excellence" offers a first-hand account of the Great American Education War being waged from coast to coast, including the reading wars, math wars, testing wars, and other schoolroom scuffles reported almost daily in the nation's media.

A Professor of Political Science who had been honored as a distinguished teacher at his university, Martin Rochester became deeply involved in public education as a result of his children's misadventures in the classroom. Like most parents, he wanted to make a difference. Like them, his way of trying to contribute was to become a dogged volunteer in his children's classrooms and his Parent-Teacher Organization. But what he found, in addition to overbearing administrators and overworked teachers, was a system which had contempt for the most fundamental elements of traditional schooling (ability-grouping, grades, homework, rigor, discipline, etc.), allowed nonacademic diversions to crowd out academic study, and subordinated a commitment to excellence to an obsession with "equity." Rochester gradually evolved from concerned parent to informed critic. As he relates in "Class Warfare," he became a familiar presence in front of local school boards and with the state education bureaucracy as well, and was finally asked to testify before the Missouri legislature on what he had discovered.

"Class Warfare" is a fascinating personal story of trying to fight through the education establishment maze, a story repeated every year by millions of parents looking for what's best for their children in an era of stagnant test scores, classroom chaos, and bizarre educational theorizing. But this book is also a shrewd critique of why our schools fail. Taking the reader on a field trip that begins with his own upper-middle class suburban school district in St. Louis and then moves on to inner-city locales and some of the best private schools around the country, Martin Rochester shows how "pack pedagogy" has steamrolled parent resistance in promoting disasters such as whole-language, fuzzy math, multiple intelligences theory, teacher-as-coach, the therapeutic classroom, and all the other fads found in today's schools. Rochester concludes that all children are being victimized, not only the most gifted, but also, more cynically, "average" students and those lower achieving kids whose supposed needs are now driving the entire curriculum.

Combining the eyewitness testimony of a parent with the perceptive analysis of a professional educator, "Class Warfare" provides an unusual glimpse into the malaise that afflicts our schools and a sensible prescription for how thing can get better.

Book Image Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why it Isn't So
by Jay P. Greene

In Education Myths, Jay P. Greene takes on the conventional wisdom and closely examines twenty myths advanced by the special interest groups dominating public education. In addition to the money myth, the class size myth, and the teacher pay myth, Greene debunks the special education myth (special ed programs burden public schools), the certification myth (certified or more experienced teachers are more effective in the classroom), the graduation myth (nearly all students graduate from high school), the draining myth (choice harms public schools), the segregation myth (private schools are more racially segregated), and a dozen more.

Book Image Government Nannies
by Cathy Duffy

Book Image Liberty & Learning: Milton Friedman's Voucher Idea at Fifty
by Robert Enlow

Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman had the ground-breaking idea to improve public education with school vouchers. By separating government financing of education from government administration of schools, Friedman argued, parents at all income levels would have the freedom to choose the schools their children attend. Liberty & Learning is a collection of essays from the nation's top education experts evaluating the progress of Friedman's innovative idea and reflecting on its merits in the 21st century. The book also contains a special prologue and epilogue by Milton Friedman himself. The contributors to this volume take a variety of approaches to Friedman's voucher idea. All of them assess the merit of Friedman's plan through an energetic, contemporary perspective, though some authors take a theoretical position, while others employ a very pragmatic approach.

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