Public and Private High Schools

Ratté, John

BOOKS A report cord sure to provoke In the four years since the publication of the report A Nation at Risk, some thirty studies have identified, largely through summative evaluations, ...

...BOOKS A report cord sure to provoke In the four years since the publication of the report A Nation at Risk, some thirty studies have identified, largely through summative evaluations, what is wrong with America's schools and more recently, colleges...
...The first "Coleman Report" was one of the most controversial summative assessments of the impact of public and private high schools on students...
...In all, little attention has been given to the matters of culture and social setting or to the motivations of families...
...The study High School and Beyond collected data on performance, as measured by na216: Commonweal prescription, the authors propose that the key to the malaise of all our schools lies in the failure of social capital, even in families where there is plenty of human capital i.e., educated and successful parents...
...They embrace every area of educational activity, from subjects to methods and from math to morals, from the micro-behavior of the classroom to the macro-behavior of the school system...
...John Ratte prominent current thrusts in the movement are the focus on teaching as a profession, sharpened by the Holmes and Carnegie reports, and the efforts of the state legislatures to mandate improvement by prescribed programs of study...
...let there be more choices...
...Alas, there is one powerful kind of social capital at work in schools: that created by the networking in a media- and consumption-dominated youth culture...
...The young are at risk: if family, and the institutions which sprang from it, cannot do the work, the schools must...
...What to do...
...218: Commonweal...
...Let there be vouchers maybe...
...The book ends with suggestions for parents, principals, and superintendents...
...But, above all, "encourage the growth of social structures that can provide the social capital important to a school...
...Most bizarre but curiously logical is the notion that schools might well be centered in the workplace, since that is where the parents are The more general prescription: work to strengthen social capital in schools through sports, activities, parental networking, and stronger relationships between students and teachers...
...Social capital is generated by the relations among persons, and Catholic schools provide that capital because norms and sanctions grow in the religious communities which surround such schools...
...The two most PUBLIC AND PBIVATE HIGH SCHOOLS James S. Coleman and Thomas Hotter Basic Books, $24.95, 268 pp...
...By contrast, again, the welleducated, but divorced, and/or professionally absorbed parent, with no functional (neighborhood) community, can buy good teachers and a strong curriculum, but cannot provide nor can the school, which is but a congeries of other such parents the networking which builds value...
...It does not support reading, writing, and arithmetic...
...Throughout, assessment is the turnkey phenomenon: if you know what's happening, you know what to change either in the behavior of students, or in the behavior of teachers and administrators...
...Some of the reports, particularly those coming from the states, are programs for change...

Vol. 114 • April 1987 • No. 7


 
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