Why School?
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Why School?

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  216 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In the tradition of Jonathan Kozol, this little book is driven by big questions. What does it mean to be educated? What is intelligence? How should we think about intelligence, education, and opportunity in an open society? Why is a commitment to the public sphere central to the way we answer these questions?

Drawing on forty years of teaching and research, from primary sch...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by New Press, The (first published 2009)
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Ogreart Art
I love Rose's writing style. It is deceptively simple and extremely honest. In a baker's dozen essays he lays out the framework for a new type of conversation about education in America. Instead of shouting slogans, we need to discuss what we consider education to be, what outcomes (besides higher test scores) we really want, how we really want our children to be taught and to learn.

Instead of the YOYO (your on your own) paradigm his philosophy falls more along WITT-y (we're all in this togethe...more
ayanami
This book is comprised of many short chapters, each tackling an issue related to American education. It covers some great topics, all quite relevant to the current educational landscape but the chapters are so short that the author isn't able to go into very much detail. Many of the chapters feel like introductions to much longer essays, but before you can get to the meat of the issue, the chapter ends, and you're confronted with the next topic. This isn't so much a book as it is a collection of...more
David
I love Mike Rose, but this is not his finest work. He outlines his philosophy in what feels like a series of paper abstracts, punctuated with occasional anecdotes but little in the way of detailed evidence. Compared to POSSIBLE LIVES, the Rose book that inspired me long ago to get into teaching, WHY SCHOOL seems like a quick dip in the pond as opposed to a serious exploration of philosophy and policy. The ideas it raises, by Rose's own admission, deserve public attention and debate. I agree with...more
Cathy
Mike Rose has been one of my favorite education writers since I read his Lives on the Boundary back in the early '90s. A product of a working class school system who was turned on to literature by a high school English teacher and went on to achieve not only a college-degree but also a Ph.D, Rose has devoted his working life to helping under-prepared and marginalized students make it to and through college, focusing on developmental--often called "remedial" English classes. In short, he's devote...more
Jon Cassie
In less than 200 smallish pages (literally - the book could fit easily into a pretty tight front jeans pocket), Rose articulates the causes of many of the problems bedeviling American education in the early 21st century. The biggest of which is our movement away from an education philosophy which balanced preparation for work with preparation for citizenship and preparation for living a life well led. Our 21st century public values are corporatist, work fetishizing and imbalanced - Rose makes th...more
Principal Klemburger
This short but sweet collection of essays probes the "why" behind schooling in our country, exploring remedial programs, the challenges for students with "weak" preparation for college-level work, the dichotomy between our discourse of "hand vs. mind" knowledge and the inherent values we place on the application of knowledge rather than the practical use of knowledge.

I found the book to be inspiring in its questioning of why we have the school system we have, but it did not offer much in the re...more
Jed
Essential big-picture thinking for anyone interested in education.
Elise
A wonderful and thought-provoking collection of essays. Mike Rose reflects on the multiple purposes we've sought to fulfill in this country through public schooling, worrying that we've begun to focus less on schooling for citizenship and more on schooling for shaping the future contributors to the economy. Rose is especially critical of standards/accountability and the corporate reform movements for compromising the democratic ideals that form the basis of our public school system (and our coun...more
Robin
While I like that a fellow parent at my daughter's school organized a discussion around this book, and that discussion was fruitful, I didn't think the book itself fulfilled its potential. It seemed a bit disjointed -- like several essays that had been published elsewhere and cobbled together -- and sure enough, that's what it is. I wonder if other blogs turned into books read like this. It probably takes a darned good editor to overcome that.

That said, Rose is certainly preaching to the choir w...more
Sean
Public education is about more than "reading 'riting and 'rithmatic." It's about community and being part of a group. It's about a shared sense of being, where individuals come together for the common good.

This is lost in the focus on standards-based testing. There are goods that cannot be quantified. Those goods are neglected in our current discourse about education.

The question that is absent from almost all talk about education is also the most important question: "What is the purpose of edu...more
Michael
I read about 8 pages of this hippy-trippy Lefty garbage and gave up. Had I seen the blurb from The Nation magazine on the back, I would have saved myself ten minutes of wasted time. Right back to Amazon. I should have known.
Zach
This is less of a book and more of a treatise on education reform. I'm a sucker for that; rote memorization and the endless slog of drills and math problems killed much of my enthusiasm for structured learning. But I love learning! I can't stop reading, yet school, in its current state, is so numb to application, interest, and nuance that any motivation besides "do work get grade" is squashed.

I wish this was a longer book with more concrete examples of success, failure, and ideas for involvement...more
Maughn Gregory
An excellent introduction to the philosophy of education. Rose reflects on some of the most important questions we still face: What is school for? What does it mean to be educated? How should educational opportunities be distributed? What is the place of remedial education? How should education be assessed? What are the benefits and dangers of the close association of business with education? How does the political polarization of public discourse harm the educational enterprise?
MJ
A great little book of essays that problematize some of the assumptions we regularly make about education in the United States. I will especially hang on to the essays about remediation at the post-secondary level. Rose provides a hard look at the expectations-- and sometimes exasperation-- of faculty and teaching staff at colleges who believe that remediation shouldn't be part of their job, and provides convincing and hopeful arguments about why it should be.
R.H.
A good series of Op-Ed pieces about educational philosophy, classism and the myth of meritocracy in America. Plus, in this age of electronic everything, the book is very pleasant to hold and look at. A very nice size for toting around, a well composed photo on the cover and chapters that are short enough to read in whatever scraps of time your busy schedule as a working-class intellectual affords you.
Rebecca Tolley-Stokes
a good introduction to the problems plaguing america's public schools and universities. since i agreed with almost everything the author wrote, however, i didn't learn much that was new, though having my views affirmed was good. he criticizes NCLB for what it robs children of. and he has some great social class commentary and analysis as well. wish there was more of that.
Barbara
An interesting little book on education policy, driven by a socially just and democratic vision of the purpose of schools. It left me desiring more, which is perhaps part of the point - to get the reader to engage in their own inquiry into the questions raised about the purpose of education and how that impacts the way we think about teaching, learning and standards.
ThienVinh
Oct 15, 2009 ThienVinh is currently reading it
Shelves: education
FYI: I'm the last person thanked in the acknowledgments. Pretty sweet. Mike thinks deeply about the philosophy of education -- he dares to ask big questions and provide answers to how we need to reclaim education. I've just started reading this book and it's incredibly moving. I also love his writing style.
Michelle
I liked Rose's ideas about remedial classes. Good book overall-- many of his ideas are already familiar to me but if thy hadn't I would have been much more wowed. Also, like another reviewer said, sometimes I wished Rose proposed a solution to the questions he poses to issues like testing and standards.

A+ conclusion
Kara Poe Alexander
Excellent, quick, and insightful read on the purposes of schooling in America and how those purposes have shifted over time. Explores the cost of this shift to producing workers and questions some of our assumptions about opportunity, intelligence, and schooling. Excellent! My students enjoyed it as well.
Deann Campbell
We need not be frightened by the notion or the word: remediation and reflect on what getting a "good public education" means to a democratic society. Too easily we get swept up in the political agendas and debates that are not grounded in the realities of schools, teaching, and the students themselves.
Kate
A nice set of essays hopeful about the future of education and detailing current difficulties. Good conversation starters that don't reduce the debate, although the harsh criticism of recent conservative attitudes toward ed & other social issues may strike others as less biased than it does me.
Monica
I really Mike Rose's writing- he delves into big questions using simple and accessible language and his personal experiences. This is a terrific text to open conversations.
Adam Sprague
Simple language, great format, one of the most important books I've read on the educational system in America.
Liz
He writes beautifully. Enjoyed the book. Lots of underlining.
Corday
Really liked this
Carol
Carol marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2014
Julian Patton
Julian Patton marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2014
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Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America's Educationally Underprepared The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education An Open Language: Selected Writing on Literacy, Learning, and Opportunity

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