William J. Bennett served as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H. W. Bush and as Secretary of Education and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Reagan. He holds a BA in philosophy from Williams College, a doctorate in political philosophy from the University of Texas, and a law degree from Harvard. He is the author of bestselling books such as The Educated Child, The Death of Outrage, The Book of Virtues, and the two-volume series America: The Last Best Hope. Dr. Bennett is the former host of the nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett's Morning in America and the current host of the popular podcast, The Bill Bennett Show. He is also the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and a regular contributor to CNN. He, his wife, Elayne, and their two sons, John and Joseph, live in Maryland.
Chester E. Finn Jr. is a scholar, educator, and public servant who is Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus of Fordham. His is an educational policy analyst and formally served as the United States Assistant Secretary of Education.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Bennett (The Book of Virtues) and his colleagues (Finn, author of We Must Take Charge; Cribb, formerly of the U.S. Department of Education) offer American parents an impassioned and straight-shooting reference for educating their children. In prose free of academic rhetoric, the authors state: "[I]f your school is inflicting a mediocre education on your child, the sooner you know about it the better." They then present a "yardstick" by which to judge the academic quality of any school (public or private). A model core curriculum organized by grade levelÄprimary (K-3), intermediate (4-6), and junior high (7 and 8)Äpresents the material clearly and logically, and helps readers assess whether a child is getting a thorough dose of English, history and geography, the arts, math and science. While blunt in their criticism of decaying academic standards (evident in grade inflation, lowered expectations for students and terrible international rankings), the authors are unequivocal in their support of dedicated educators and all those willing to hold children to the highest possible standard. Parents may question some of the model curriculum's expectations (e.g., that second graders dramatize the death of Socrates), but the authors are quick to reassure readers that the book's purpose is not to serve as a list of must-haves but rather as "inspiration and general guidance" in gaining a sense of "the knowledge and skills that should lie at the heart of a solid elementary education." Bennett is a controversial figure because of his passionate cultural conservatism. But this book, despite a brief word in favor of school vouchers, is about padagogy, not politics. It's an ambitious and commonsensical guide that will inspire both parents and educators. 100,000 first printing; 25-city radio satellite tour. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Prolific author (The De-Valuing of America) and former Secretary of Education Bennett strikes again with a how-to book for parents seeking to help their children through the education system. With coauthors Finn and Cribb, Bennett has produced a mammoth manual, recognizing that it "is unnecessary and probably not possible" to follow all its recommendations. In addition to describing what a "good" school should teach and what a "well-educated child" should know, the book discusses parental responsibilities. The authors point out that schools can only do so much. While academics are the main focus of this work, the authors also address character development, health and fitness, and other factors that can affect a child's academic performance. Current issues in education, such as multiculturalism, class size, year-round schooling, and bilingual education, are also discussed. So many issues are covered that there is sure to be something to offend any reader. Despite its size, this book is reasonably priced. Every public library should consider this for purchase.--Terry A. Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Tony Lang The Cincinnati Enquirer A common sense-loaded gem that defines a good education and tells parents how to make sure their children get one.