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Fear and Learning in America - Bad Data, Good Teachers, and the Attack on Public Education

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In this provocative book, Americas Superintendent, John Kuhn lays bare the scare tactics at the root of the modern school reform movement. Kuhn conveys a deeply held passion for the mission and promise of public education through his own experience as a school administrator in Texas. When his Alamo Letter first appeared in the Washington Post, it galvanized the educational In this provocative book, Americas Superintendent, John Kuhn lays bare the scare tactics at the root of the modern school reform movement. Kuhn conveys a deeply held passion for the mission and promise of public education through his own experience as a school administrator in Texas. When his Alamo Letter first appeared in the Washington Post, it galvanized the educational community in a call to action that was impossible to ignore. This powerful book requires us to question whether the current education crisis will be judged by history as a legitimate national emergency or an agenda-driven panic, spurred on by a media that is, for the most part, uninterested in anything but useless soundbites.


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In this provocative book, Americas Superintendent, John Kuhn lays bare the scare tactics at the root of the modern school reform movement. Kuhn conveys a deeply held passion for the mission and promise of public education through his own experience as a school administrator in Texas. When his Alamo Letter first appeared in the Washington Post, it galvanized the educational In this provocative book, Americas Superintendent, John Kuhn lays bare the scare tactics at the root of the modern school reform movement. Kuhn conveys a deeply held passion for the mission and promise of public education through his own experience as a school administrator in Texas. When his Alamo Letter first appeared in the Washington Post, it galvanized the educational community in a call to action that was impossible to ignore. This powerful book requires us to question whether the current education crisis will be judged by history as a legitimate national emergency or an agenda-driven panic, spurred on by a media that is, for the most part, uninterested in anything but useless soundbites.

30 review for Fear and Learning in America - Bad Data, Good Teachers, and the Attack on Public Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I read a lot of education books, so it's hard to find a new twist to the story...something I haven't read. It's happened several times, and now ONE MORE. Kuhn has a voice like a preacher...his use of image and metaphor remind me of MLK's speeches...connections, challenges to the reader and listener. Kuhn takes on his journey, and we'd better keep up. Kuhn has been a missionary, a teacher, a principal, and is now a superintendent in a rural TX school district. He knows of what he speaks, and he ha I read a lot of education books, so it's hard to find a new twist to the story...something I haven't read. It's happened several times, and now ONE MORE. Kuhn has a voice like a preacher...his use of image and metaphor remind me of MLK's speeches...connections, challenges to the reader and listener. Kuhn takes on his journey, and we'd better keep up. Kuhn has been a missionary, a teacher, a principal, and is now a superintendent in a rural TX school district. He knows of what he speaks, and he has the power to speak with eloquence and fierceness. Allusions, examples, took my breath away: Cotton Mather and Salem Witch Trials, the Alamo Letter (Kuhn IS my favorite Texan, and his paraphrase of the letter was the first time I heard of him), Iraq wars, WWII and Japanese internment decision. Nation at Risk (not a new connection, but even this Kuhn treats in a new way). Nate Silver...Ozmandias, biology phyla, Pizarro and the Incas. Jamie Vollmer, the Blueberry Man (I met him too...and was as impressed by his conversion). Panama Canal, Sputnik, Higgs boson...and I learned how to get rid of mesquite trees. Kunh's mind is always making connections, and he brings them back to education... His experience has all been in TX, so he spends time discussing the Texas Miracle (NOT) and the horrors of school financing. I went willingly with Kuhn down these seeming detours because I knew his mind was going to connect, to bring the story back to his message. I can see the speed of his shifts and I'm in awe... I loved his six solutions. So often educators are criticized for complaining (whining) without offering their own ideas. Here are his: Implement universal PreK -- he mentions a TX superintendent who suggested we do away with 12th grade and make PreK universal. Remove property wortt as a factor in school funding Test for diagnosis, not punishment Reject any accountability that does not factor in context Amplify teacher and student voices in policy The last pages are a guide for parents of resources to learn more about education and education reform. This was not a long book, but I did not rush through it...I had to slow down to really absorb the many layers of his storytelling and his message. He is a hero.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    John Kuhn, of the famous Alamo letter and rallying cry at the Save Texas Schools Rally in 2011, has written a book that will completely confirm or convert you to the cause of protecting the great democratizer, public education, from its assault by government, business, and so-called reformers. If I had used a highlighter to mark significant passages and hard-hitting barbs, every page of this book would be permeated yellow. The book is that good. It's also highly personal with stories about how t John Kuhn, of the famous Alamo letter and rallying cry at the Save Texas Schools Rally in 2011, has written a book that will completely confirm or convert you to the cause of protecting the great democratizer, public education, from its assault by government, business, and so-called reformers. If I had used a highlighter to mark significant passages and hard-hitting barbs, every page of this book would be permeated yellow. The book is that good. It's also highly personal with stories about how this good ole Texas Baptist farm boy woke up to the attack on teachers and public schools and how current policies play out in real children's lives. This is the most important book to read on what is happening in education in this country. Get involved. Save our Schools! Read this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Superb analysis of the education landscape. But--there are many such books, well-done and otherwise. What makes Kuhn's book different--better--is the way he weaves in literature, metaphor, tales and personal stories and perspectives. Again, lots of education writers share personal anecdotes. But Kuhn's don't always position him as the hero; he's often the learner, not the star. Highly recommended. Superb analysis of the education landscape. But--there are many such books, well-done and otherwise. What makes Kuhn's book different--better--is the way he weaves in literature, metaphor, tales and personal stories and perspectives. Again, lots of education writers share personal anecdotes. But Kuhn's don't always position him as the hero; he's often the learner, not the star. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Olechowski

    Honest. Interesting. Brave.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    371.01097 K9616 2014

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin Logan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Jimenez

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Stubbs

  9. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Allen

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erika

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ramona

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dwayne

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Lesley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Russ Walsh

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Cariker

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer S. Collins

  17. 5 out of 5

    Don

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Dumke

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peggy A. Metzger

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim Ballengee

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danny

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  25. 4 out of 5

    Den

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Klipsch farrow

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stu

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charity

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kenzie Lynn

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric Bergman

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