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The West End Library will be closed from Friday, Sept. 22 - Friday, Sept. 29 to allow for necessary electrical work to replace lighting throughout the library.

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Cover of Beyond Measure

Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation by Vicki Abeles

As schools have evolved over the past half-century, they have become massive testing sites, with students (and their parents) pursuing ever-higher grades and test scores amid growing competition for prized places at elite institutions, from elementary school through college. The stress involved in this endeavor, along with the stultifying effects of this constant preparation for standardized tests, has curtailed students' well-being and creativity. Abeles surveys the available research, outlining problems and proposals, and points the way to a more nourishing future, one in which schools and the entire education system rely far less on test scores and box-ticking exercises and turn instead to a student-centered curriculum. As a result, students will be enabled to flourish -- in the classroom and far beyond it.


Cover of Upending the Ivory Tower

Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League by Stefan M. Bradley

The broader civil rights movement -- certain aspects and events, at least -- are well known and have made their way into the popular American consciousness. But far less widely known are the people who brought the Black Power movement to the universities of the Ivy League and transformed those institutions. Although civil rights activists in the hallowed halls of Harvard may not have faced the same physical threats that campaigners did on the streets of Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham, they possessed the same sort of dedication and desire, and they had to overcome the same deeply seated prejudice and discrimination to induce Ivy League institutions to finally open paths for advancement to students, professors, staff, and administrators of color. This book tells the story of their travails and successes -- the negotiations, protests, and demonstrations that were necessary to create opportunities for the generations that have followed.


Cover of After the Ivory Tower Falls

After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics -- and How to Fix It by Will Bunch

College education or high school diploma? There are several major divisions in American society today, and educational achievement is certainly one of them. It is reflected in political affiliation, voting preferences, geographic settlement, consumption patterns, longevity, wealth... And at the same time, the possession of a college diploma has gone from being a ticket to the white-collar middle class to a fast route into student debt. Bunch traces the post-WWII evolution of university education in the U.S., from the GI Bill through the culture clashes of the 1960s and 1970s, many of which germinated and were fought on college campuses. He then traces the twin backlash against what became widely seen as the liberal establishment (a.k.a. college-educated elites) and the political and social policies they promoted and the financial institutions that underpinned college attendance and consequently fostered a boom in student debt. What is college for? -- Bunch asks, and then he proposes a set of answers and a new model charting a path forward.


Cover of World Class

World Class: One Mother's Journey Halfway around the Globe in Search of the Best Education for Her Children by Teru Clavel

Educational attainment in America, the author suggests, is as much about performance (applications, interviews, tests, etc.) as learning -- practically from the first moment of school attendance. But what about outside the USA? To find the answer, the author and her family moved to Asia, and there they discovered cultures with a different set of priorities. In spite of (or because of?) the low-tech classrooms and teachers who demanded obedience and order, she saw her children thrive, both in the classroom and outside of it, as they developed independence and self-confidence and learned to love learning. Upon returning to America, their sense of culture shock could hardly have been deeper -- and those contrasts provide insights that the author uses to suggest how children should be educated and what the very purpose of education should be: to inspire children to thrive academically and personally. She also includes practical tips to help parents and educators make this happen: advice on how to choose schools, hire tutors, and supplement classroom learning.


Cover of Slaying Goliath

Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America's Public Schools by Diane Ravitch

One of the most significant developments of primary and secondary education in America over the past forty years is privatization, undergirded by the use of efficiency models, incentives, bonuses, and the treatment of children as both customers (with demands to be satisfied) and products (which need to be optimized and maximized). This ideology is held by various figures on the political right, left, and center, and it stands in contrast to the long-standing tradition of public education in American communities. It has also, as the author argues, failed students and families. But a countermovement is afoot, one that has emerged from the grassroots in numerous cities and towns, to keep public schools alive and make them the democratic, egalitarian, student-focused institutions they need to be -- and it is in this countermovement, this return to traditions, that Ravitch sees a hopeful way forward.


About the Author

Peter C. is a member of the Adult Services staff at MLK Library.