The deck is stacked against educators and parents/caregivers looking for educational adequacy in contemporary US education. Too often, satisfactory quality in the good public school is identified based on opinion, the dubious value of standardized test results, and marketing ploys. Moreover, the contemporary purpose of US education and the definition of educational adequacy are wild cards that prevent most from playing a winning hand.
Finding the good public school is left to chance. This book initiates a search to transform this state of affairs. All students deserve a comprehensive public education that invests in the original power of education, dynamic instruction, and principled reasoning.
This discussion tackles the barriers-the eye of the beholder, the tyranny of either/or, and standardized testing-that hobble the capacities of educators and students. Once these barriers are removed, the determinants of comprehensive public education-power, policy, and instruction-emerge.
From these discoveries implications are derived that indicate how comprehensive public education engages educators and students with a transformed definition of educational adequacy. The good public school depends on this and a complete readjustment of the purpose of US public education. This search enables educators and parents/caregivers to identify and establish the good public school without taking any chances.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 168
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 233 x 160 x 18 mm
I was struck by Swensson's and Shaffer's "data selfie" regarding American public education as the metaphorical equivalent of the ancient Greek cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope who has been painted with a lantern held in the faces of the citizens of Athens searching for an honest man. Swensson and Shaffer are long time educators, trench workers in the fight for adequate education for all students, something too many have given up on as the impossible dream. They bring us back to first principles and re-establish the case for moral clarity and not market efficiency as the driving force for true educational reform. -- Fenwick W. English, Professor and Department Chair, Educational Leadership, Teachers College, Ball State University
"Educational adequacy" is the way that many of our U.S. state constitutions define the government's obligation to public education. Legal decisions over federal or state financial obligations to public schools use this term repeatedly. But educational adequacy has remained a murky, legalistic, and empty term. The authors of Defining the Good School show us that our responsibility for creating the conditions for a "good public school" for every child is the singular task for achieving educational adequacy. Spelling out both the purposes of, and barriers to the good public school, the authors create a compelling vision for comprehensive public education in the 21st century founded on the powerful construct of critical habits of mind. I recommend this book to school leaders and policy-makers at all levels of governance. -- Kathleen Knight Abowitz, Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Miami University