3 out of 4 stars
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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.
Helping Parents Understand Schools
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