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Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#1 by kislany
» 21 Sep 2017, 03:59

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Helping Parents Understand Schools" by Lyndon G. Furst.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by kislany
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Helping Parents Understand Schools by Lyndon G. Furst takes an honest and hard look at public schools in America today.

Not everyone thinks too kindly of public schools, so the author is trying to set the record straight once and for all. Lyndon G. Furst has been an educator and principal in the Midwest for numerous years. He spent most of his early years teaching in private schools until 1994. It was the year when he became a member of the local public school board. Since then, he has become quite familiar with public education. It is clear that the author knows a thing or two about what is going on within the walls of such understaffed, underpaid, and underappreciated establishments.

The book goes into the many different aspects of American public education. The author understands that, for the most part, parents are not overly involved in their children’s school activities, and he hopes to help them become more aware and even participate more. Thus, Furst has dedicated this book to mothers, fathers, and everyone else who takes on parenting tasks and responsibilities.

The author explains the many aspects of education in public schools really well. We have chapters on myths about life in school, uses and misuses of standardized tests for children, school policy and reforms, school choice, competition, school finance, and sensitive issues such as race and religion. Furst does agree that homeschooling and private schools are extremely useful, but he also admits that, over the years, public schools have been given a certain stigma that should be dispelled. I think he does a good job of painting public education in a positive light.

The book has several quotations from newspaper articles that the author has written over the last 20 years in a weekly column called A Different Perspective. I enjoyed reading those snippets in each chapter. The quotations bring home the point he is trying to make and give anecdotal examples that help parents better grasp the issues their children are facing at school. Helping Parents Understand Schools is thought-provoking, and it did open my eyes to problems that I was not aware of. Granted, I am not a parent; however, I fully appreciate the benefits parents will get from reading this valuable tome.

The writing style is clear, and the book is easy to understand. The author does not use heavy words that are difficult to grasp. He is in a profession where expressing himself clearly is very important. I was rather saddened to come across several grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors throughout the text. The author seems to ignore proper hyphenation at random. One or two sentences had no period at the end. I also noticed a few words that had letters split from them, such as when writing “desire s”. Finally, some sentences were badly formatted, akin to when you press Enter in the middle of the row.

The work itself deserves 4 stars. The author is extremely knowledgeable in anything relating to public schools. Nevertheless, the errors will have to bring my rating down to 3 out of 4 stars. The book is in need of an editor. Having said that, I highly recommend Helping Parents Understand Schools to anyone who has parenting responsibilities, or even to people who want to learn more America's public education system.

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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#2 by Quinto
» 22 Sep 2017, 02:46

This sounds like a good read on public school system in the US. I hope some general ideas can be applied in other jurisdictions as well. Thanks for a great review.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#3 by geoffrey ngoima
» 22 Sep 2017, 05:02

I saw this book lying there for days and just as I was about to pick it you picked it! Haha, it looks like a neat book, minus the editing issues. I'll find it anyway & read it. As always great review, Kislany.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 22 Sep 2017, 06:51

Sounds like there's some good information in this book about the school system. Thanks for a good review.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#5 by kislany
» 22 Sep 2017, 08:23

Thanks guys, appreciate you coming by. Yes, the information is good, and more importantly, with the current political climate, it's timely.

Geoffrey, sorry you didn't get to it, but I'm sure it will be offered again. It is, indeed, a very good book.
Last edited by kislany on 22 Sep 2017, 08:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#6 by geoffrey ngoima
» 22 Sep 2017, 08:26

kislany wrote:Thanks guys, appreciate you coming by. Yes, the information is good, and more importantly, with the current political climate, it's timely.

Geoffrey, sorry you didn't get to it, but I'm sure it will be offered again. It is, indeed, a very good book.

Ah, no worries, right now I'm stuck with a faulty epub that won't read, it's 4 days and counting and I can't really do much. The Review Team needs to step up their response time; if it isn't some tactic of course.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#7 by Miriam Molina
» 22 Sep 2017, 13:41

Good to know someone found the time to write such a book. Bad that that someone didn't have the work edited well. The bad editing muddles the message. Anything that involves learning should appear learned.

I hope the book gets the red pencil soon.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#8 by Nthabeleng
» 22 Sep 2017, 15:02

Totally different from what I thought it would be about. Good review
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#9 by kislany
» 23 Sep 2017, 02:57

Miriam Molina wrote:Good to know someone found the time to write such a book. Bad that that someone didn't have the work edited well. The bad editing muddles the message. Anything that involves learning should appear learned.

I hope the book gets the red pencil soon.


The book is very good, indeed. A bit of editing and it can become a leader on this very topic. I didn't think I'd find it engaging, but I actually did.

-- 23 Sep 2017, 03:57 --

Nthabeleng wrote:Totally different from what I thought it would be about. Good review


Thanks for coming by!
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#10 by Kalin Adi
» 23 Sep 2017, 08:53

This open-eyes book must be read by every parent or custodian. Being a teacher myself, I totally agree that parents do not involve enough in the school activities. Too bad the book is not properly edited. Thank you for the detailed review!
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#11 by RegularGuy3
» 23 Sep 2017, 13:37

My twins just started public-school kindergarten. I've never given this topic a lot of thought--maybe this book is a good place to start. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#12 by Pinkilicious
» 23 Sep 2017, 20:36

A well-written, interesting and detailed review. This is very good!!!
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#13 by kislany
» 24 Sep 2017, 00:51

Kalin Adi wrote:This open-eyes book must be read by every parent or custodian. Being a teacher myself, I totally agree that parents do not involve enough in the school activities. Too bad the book is not properly edited. Thank you for the detailed review!


Yes, indeed. However, if one can get past the editing problems (and many people will, I know that), it is an extremely valuable book.

-- 24 Sep 2017, 01:51 --

RegularGuy3 wrote:My twins just started public-school kindergarten. I've never given this topic a lot of thought--maybe this book is a good place to start. Thanks for the review.


Yes, I agree, you will learn lots from it. I've learned things that I'd never even considered before.

-- 24 Sep 2017, 01:52 --

Pinkilicious wrote:A well-written, interesting and detailed review. This is very good!!!


Thank you!
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#14 by adinamurariu
» 24 Sep 2017, 13:06

Great review and very helpful. I am a teacher in a different country and I think this book would be a great opportunity to find out more things about other educational systems.
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Re: Official Review: Helping Parents Understand Schools

Post Number:#15 by Basya
» 24 Sep 2017, 13:32

This appears to be an important book no matter where you stand on the vital issue of education. As a long-term and dedicated educator (school librarian for a quarter of a century), I saw the effects of the emphasis on standardized testing by on teachers and students. It saddened me that educators were so burdened with preparing children for these examinations that there was little time for stimulating and beneficial activities. Furst's book sounds like a must-read for parents of private and public school students and those who are in the business of educating them. Thank you for an informative review.
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