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Education Private and Independent Schools
by
Edward J. Fox, Jr.

Introduction

The independent schools in the United States are characterized by the following: they are operated as not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations; they are self-governing through a self-perpetuating board; they are independent of any state or church control; they are diverse; they receive no governmental funds and finance themselves through tuition and through voluntary giving; and they are guided by a specific mission. Note that independent schools are not to be confused with the independent public-school districts in such states as Texas and New Mexico. The independent schools are disproportionately influential in this country in private (nonpublic) education, but their enrollment is only 9 percent of the total nonpublic school enrollment. In 2009, 49.8 million students attended the public schools, according to the USDOE statistics, and 6.7 million students attended the nonpublic schools. The independent schools, then, encompass less than 1 percent of the total school-age population, but, again, they are disproportionately influential in this country. They represent a strong political voice in Washington, DC. Generally, there is very little written about independent schools. What follows is intended to be a useful annotated bibliography about the independent schools and their attendant thinking.

General Overview

There is very little written on the independent schools themselves, and no textbooks per se, but one can find many articles on specific topics about the independent schools in the magazine Independent School that could be helpful. Independent School Management and Resource guide for private school administrators (Herrera 2007) also provide material on a variety of specific topics about independent schools.

History and Commentary

There really seems to be nothing written about the history of independent schools, but it may be useful to read some noteworthy writers on the subject of the history of schools and about the nature of high schools. Independent schools are one answer to school choice and alternative schooling. The books that follow have been widely read by most independent-school administrators for inspiration about their schools. Black and English 1986 is a practical text for understanding the politics of a school. Jorgenson 1987 shows the fight for control of our public schools in this country. Powell, et al. 1985 focuses on the way in which our high schools have become like shopping malls in their treatment of offerings. Ravitch 2001 provides us with a background for what essentially is failed school reform in the United States. Sizer 1984 tells us about the compromises that a teacher must make to stay in his profession. Wilson 1983 gives a history of successful integration efforts in the South’s independent schools.

  • Black, John A., and Fenwick W. English. 1986. What they don’t tell you in schools of education about school administration. Lancaster, PA: Technomic.

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    This book apparently received very little circulation. It is basically about the practical politics that a school administrator encounters. For example, the community that a school head inherits is not a community until the head of school “galvanizes” it. People are the problems at a school as well as the solutions to the problems. The book also answers the question of what sort of personality is appropriate for a career in school administration.

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  • Jorgenson, Lloyd P. 1987. The State and the non-public school: 1825–1925. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press.

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    What readers may find shocking here is the story of the anti-Catholic riots (cf. the Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844) that characterized the occasionally bloody struggles in this country for control of the public schools. Since that time, the Protestants have been in control of the public schools.

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  • Powell, Arthur G., Eleanor Farrar, and David Cohen. 1985. The shopping mall high school: Winners and losers in the educational marketplace. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

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    The basic analogy here is that our high schools are like shopping malls, in that they try to offer everything for the consumer, the high-school student. But sometimes the choices are misguided, in that too often, students seek the easiest choices. They need guidance in their choices and wisdom in their selection.

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  • Ravitch, Diane. 2001. Left back: A century of failed school reforms. New York: Simon and Schuster.

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    Ravitch talks about those various golden eras of schools that reformers always wanted to return to. In a way, perhaps, the author may be describing the independent schools, those models outside of the public sector to which parents sometimes turn as the appropriate source of education for their children. Ravitch also talks about faddish reactions to calls for curricular reforms. In a way, she is really calling for the reform of teaching.

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  • Sizer, Theodore R. 1984. Horace’s compromise: The dilemma of the American high school: The first report from A study of high schools. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

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    In any school situation, the teacher must often compromise between what he wants to do and what he knows that he should do, versus what he has to do to remain within the system (read “culture”) of the teaching situation. This book is about those compromises that teachers must make. But in this book, Sizer makes a cogent case for what schools must accomplish to improve their methods of reaching students.

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  • Wilson, Zebulon Vance. 1983. They took their stand: The integration of southern private schools. Atlanta: Mid-South Association of Independent Schools.

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    Sponsored by the Lyndhurst Foundation of Nashville, Tennessee, this book tells of the integration of the southern independent schools, the difficulties, and the intentional planning to accomplish that goal.

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Case Law

There is little relevant case law concerning private schools, but there is one case well worth noting, and three others that have some relevance. In general, students who attend independent schools are governed by contract law, whereas students who attend public schools fall under Constitutional law. Pierce v. The Society of the Sisters of Mercy 1925 establishes the fact that students may attend private schools; Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971 states that teachers in private schools may not receive public funds; Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe 2002 requires that FERPA be applicable only to schools that receive public funds. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris 2002 may pave the way for future vouchers and state aid to all private schools.

  • Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe. 536 U.S. 273 (2002).

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    The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) effectively made one ruling as far as private schools are concerned: FERPA regulations apply only to private schools that accept federal funds of any type and of any amount.

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    • Lemon v. Kurtzman. 403 U.S. 602 (1971).

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      This case essentially affirmed that government funds, in this case, from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, could not be used for teachers in private schools. In this case the primary non-public-school beneficiaries were teachers in Catholic schools, so there was a religious entanglement problem. (There is the feeling that this case will be challenged eventually.)

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      • Pierce v. The Society of the Sisters of Mercy. 268 U.S. 510 (1925).

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        This case established the precedent that parents are free to send their children to private schools, including religious schools. Students do not have to attend public schools.

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        • Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. 536 U.S. 639 (2002).

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          Based on demonstrated need, the State of Ohio may give tuition aid to parents whose children attend public schools deemed to be failing and who therefore need alternative or additional schooling, even if this turns out to be religious schools.

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          Literature on Private and Independent Schools

          Heads (and teachers) of independent schools draw great wisdom and inspiration from role models in the worlds of fiction and nonfiction literature. School heads and teachers can also learn a lot about the school-age behavior both of boys and girls. The following listing provides true and fictional school situations that are instructive. Gutcheon 1996 introduces problems from the perspective of a female head of school; Hawley 1992, from the perspective of a male head of school. Knowles 1986 introduces the problems of boys in a boarding school. McPhee 1992 depicts the virtue of a head of school. Ruhlman 1996 demonstrates the daily life in a boys’ day school. Salinger 1951 captures the poignancy of a young man with growing pains who is obliged to float from one boys’ boarding school to another; Sittenfeld 2005 captures the pangs of a girl’s coming of age in a boarding school.

          • Gutcheon, Beth. 1996. Saying grace: A novel. New York: HarperCollins.

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            This novel revolves around the female head of a country day school in California. It is a tale of what can go amiss in her situation, and of another protagonist who fails to keep up with the changing times. It ends poorly for the administrator, but it is a useful cautionary tale.

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          • Hawley, Richard A. 1992. The headmaster’s papers. Rev. ed. Middlebury, VT: P. S. Eriksson.

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            This epistolary tale has a real feeling for issues that sometimes face heads of schools—students who don’t seem to care, the need to stay in touch with them, and an indifferent board chair. It centers on the long-term headmaster of a New England boarding school whose support world is collapsing, and whose values differ from those of the outside world.

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          • Knowles, John. 1986. A separate peace. New York: Bantam.

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            Although a bit dated, in that the scene takes place at a boys’ boarding school during World War II, the description of the boys, with all of their quirks and eccentricities, holds true. Also on display is the schoolboy code, that continued tradition of boys staying true to their classmates, regardless of consequences. Originally published in 1959.

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          • McPhee, John. 1992. The headmaster: Frank L. Boyden, of Deerfield. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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            Frank Boyden was the headmaster of Deerfield Academy for sixty-six years. His legacy was the school, and he has become legendary. At one point a new office is designed for him, but, to remain visible and in circulation, he places his desk in the hall. A good read for anyone in administration or for anyone who wants to become an administrator.

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          • Ruhlman, Michael. 1996. Boys themselves: A return to single-sex education. New York: H. Holt.

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            Michael Ruhlman returns to his independent day school, to spend a year in residence while he writes about what it is like to be a student in an all-boys’ day school. He captures the essence of independent schools in this book, with its pressures, its homework assignments, and its relationships between the students and their teachers.

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          • Salinger, J. D. 1951. The catcher in the rye. Boston: Little, Brown.

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            This novel resonates within many and seems to capture the times and travails of adolescent boys today who are in private schools, especially those who have not done well. The urges to meet members of the opposite sex, to be independent of one’s parents, and to have a positive relationship with a sibling are quite poignant. Originally published in 1945.

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          • Sittenfeld, Curtis. 2005. Prep. New York: Random House.

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            This novel concerns an ordinary girl from Indiana, who has the chance through a scholarship to attend a boarding school in Massachusetts. There, even though she does not really fit in, she joins in many activities, sometimes against her instincts. This is a realistic picture of girls’ behavior in a contemporary boarding school.

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          Governance

          Governance remains a shared and prime function of boards of trustees and heads of independent schools. Boards traditionally set policy, while heads of schools perform the day-to-day operations. Yet, there are variations on how these duties are shared. In the independent-school world, boards of trustees and heads of schools are usually unified in what they want the schools to be and what they want as outcomes for the students whom they serve. Carver 2006 introduces an unconventional method of board governance. Chait, et al. 1993; Chait, et al. 1996; and Chait, et al. 2005 offer new ways of thinking about boards and making them more productive. DeKuyper 2007 discusses the usual structure and operation of independent-school boards. For years, Houle 1989 was the guru of board governance.

          • Carver, John. 2006. Boards that make a difference: A new design for leadership in nonprofit and public organizations. 3d ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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            John Carver’s theory of policy governance is used more by nonprofit organizations and by some small colleges than by independent schools. In such scenarios, the CEO of the organization is not only CEO of the board, but also of the entity under the board. Here, however, the head of the organization is subordinate to the CEO.

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          • Chait, Richard P., Thomas P. Holland, and Barbara E. Taylor. 1993. The effective board of trustees. American Council on Education Series on Higher Education. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx.

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            Although written for colleges and universities, this book is highly relevant to independent-school trustees and heads of independent schools. One example of practical wisdom cited is that how we look at situations in schools determines what we see; believing, moreover, is seeing. The authors also recommend that boards of trustees link their meetings to the school’s mission and values, and to strategic priorities for greater productivity.

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          • Chait, Richard P., Thomas P. Holland, and Barbara E. Taylor. 1996. Improving the performance of governing boards. American Council on Education Series on Higher Education. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx.

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            This book presents a practical blueprint for making boards more effective. It sets up models for board retreats and for making boards more practically functional.

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          • Chait, Richard P., William P. Ryan, and Barbara E. Taylor. 2005. Governance as leadership: Reframing the work of nonprofit boards. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.

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            Although this book expands its framework to include nonprofit boards in general, it still holds value for schools. Among gems it offers, it advocates that heads of school expose the “ambiguities” of schools and then urges the boards and heads of school to grapple together to resolve those ambiguities. The authors also urge boards “not to substitute discussions of size for discussions of purpose.”

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          • DeKuyper, Mary Hundley. 2007. Trustee handbook: A guide to effective governance for independent school boards. 9th ed. Washington, DC: National Association of Independent Schools.

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            Most independent schools rely on this handbook. It is periodically updated and expanded. It contains useful exercises and thoughtful discussions on the way in which governing boards should operate. It gives detailed, practical information about coping with a variety of situations, such as fundraising and finding new heads of school.

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          • Houle, Cyril O. 1989. Governing boards. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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            For many years, this was the definitive work for nonprofit boards. Its recommendations are now outdated, but its wisdom is still useful. It urges board members to “subordinate their own interests to that of the organization’s” while serving. It also offers advice on when a board and its CEO should part company.

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          School Leadership

          Successful school leaders have many different styles, but successful ones share one characteristic: the ability to take risks. Beyond this, no size fits all. As in the public sector, most heads of schools rise through the teaching ranks. The books listed below offer suggestions for the successful head of school on day-to-day operations. Bassett and Underwood 2006 offers explanation to prospective heads on how and why they are chosen. Bolman and Deal 1995 speaks of the need for a leader to find his soul before he can become an effective leader. DePree 2004 speaks of leadership as an art as opposed to a skill. Peters and Waterman 1982 urges paying attention to colleagues and students. Strike, et al. 2005 advises school leaders how to behave and take actions.

          • Bassett, Patrick F., and Agnes Underwood. 2006. The NAIS head search handbook: A start-to-finish guide for the search committee. Washington, DC: National Association of Independent Schools.

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            Focused specifically on heads of school, this handbook, not only for search committees but also for heads of schools, advises understanding the processes by which they are brought to a school and their duties once they get there. The promising head can begin to think about the questions that search committees ask: What does the school wish to become? What issues or problems will the new head face? What skills are necessary? What personal characteristics are desirable?

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          • Bolman, Lee G., and Terrence E. Deal. 1995. Leading with soul: An uncommon journey of the spirit. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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            The authors contend that leaders are sometimes missing a very important ingredient, soul. They also state that “effective leadership is rooted in community.” At times this quest for “soul” seems like a religious journey through which the leader may find himself, but it is essential for every leader to discover his soul, in order to best relate to his community.

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          • DePree, Max. 2004. Leadership is an art. New York: Currency.

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            This is written by the very successful CEO of Herman Miller Company (furniture dealers), but the author’s thoughts have applicability to school leadership. Leadership is an art, to be learned and practiced over time. A leader is in charge of an institution, and he has followers. The leader sets the standards for the institution. The leader has the vision for the company, and he empowers people to follow. Originally published in 1987.

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          • Peters, Thomas J., and Robert H. Waterman. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. New York: Harper & Row.

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            The lessons of this book are applicable to school leadership. It urges attention to employees and to people as a crucial ingredient. It also emphasizes the essential nature of company culture, and by extension, the necessity for a strong values-driven mission and concomitant beliefs.

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          • Strike, Kenneth A., Emil J. Haller, and Jonas F. Soltis. 2005. The ethics of school administration. 3d ed. Professional Ethics in Education series. New York: Teachers College Press.

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            This book attempts to answer the question of how school administrators should behave, morally and ethically. There are case studies: How does an administrator justify placing a student in the class of a weak teacher? How does one get rid of a tenured teacher who is a bad teacher? The cases, the discussions, and the analyses are very useful.

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          School Culture

          One cannot overemphasize the role of school culture in successful independent-school leadership and for understanding the way in which a school operates. School heads and teachers often lose their positions because they prove unable to fit into or to adapt to the school’s culture. Culture embraces the history, the values, the rituals, the ceremonies, the architecture, and even the patterns of behavior, to name a few elements. Each of the citations below underscores some of the salient aspects of school culture. Deal and Kennedy 1982 urges that heads of organizations mesh with their organization’s culture. Evans 1996 tells how to make changes through the people who are working under you. Goodlad 1984 describes a useful perspective on schools. Kane 1992 presents the opinions of various notables on components of independent schools. Kotter and Heskett 1992 speaks of transmitting the vision of the company through the culture of the organization. Powell 1996 accurately describes the culture of independent schools through various topical chapters.

          • Deal, Terrence E., and Allan A. Kennedy. 1982. Corporate cultures: The rites and rituals of corporate life. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

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            There is much wisdom in this book, although Terrence Deal has continued to write on the subject, specifying schools in later volumes. One of the salient points here is that CEOs often fail because they misinterpret the cultures of their companies. Further advice is “never to do less than your best for a company.”

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          • Evans, Robert. 1996. The human side of school change: Reform, resistance, and the real-life problems of innovation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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            This book is a blueprint for how a school should make necessary changes to its culture. Independent schools are poised to be innovative, but, in fact, few are. This book instructs how schools can adopt innovative policies.

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          • Goodlad, John I. 1984. A place called school: Prospects for the future. Study of Schooling in the United States. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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            This book was originally intended as a contemporary description of schools. The author states that “a long-term agenda generated at the state level to be used at the local levels is absent.” This vital omission has contributed to massive deficiencies. Independent schools have widely embraced this book’s principles as guidelines for improvement.

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          • Kane, Pearl Rock, ed. 1992. Independent schools, independent thinkers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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            Divided into three parts—Dimensions of Independence; Culture, Curriculum, and Achievement; and Choice, Public Policy, and Independent Schools—this book manages to capture the whole culture and ethos of independent schools. For this book, Pearl Kane recruited many authorities on public as well as private schools to write chapters that illuminate school culture and operation. Among the contributing authors are Diane Ravitch, John Irving, Terrence Deal, Al Shanker, and Deborah Meier.

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          • Kotter, John P., and James L. Heskett. 1992. Corporate culture and performance. New York: Free Press.

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            This book offers ten examples of successful corporate change and attributes it to competent leadership. Further, competent leadership always seems able to transmit its vision into positive results. Unfortunately, due to the economic woes of 2007–2009, a few of the companies cited are no longer in business.

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          • Powell, Arthur G. 1996. Lessons from privilege: The American prep school tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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            This book describes the culture of the independent school, and the close-knit association between the teachers and students. The author does acknowledge, however, that the students who attend these schools are privileged—hence the title. The most important way to personalize the school experience, he states, is for the student–teacher relationship to encompass all aspects of school life.

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          Teachers

          In general, teachers in independent schools are drawn from liberal-arts colleges. They are from a variety of backgrounds and are a dedicated group. The training of teachers has been long overlooked; moreover, the evaluation of teachers has been inadequately done both in the private and the public sectors. The list that follows includes ways in which to look at teachers, examples of good teaching and bad, and thoughtful books on teaching and for teachers. Fenstermacher and Soltis 2009 advises a teacher to think more about how he teaches. Gilligan 1982 accurately describes how girls think differently from boys. Hiller 2008, through film, shows examples of effective and ineffective teachers. Johnson 1979 offers extremely helpful and practical hints on teaching. Kane 1991 offers hints on effective practices in the first year of teaching. Menendez 1998 offers film coverage of a very successful teacher. Palmer 1998 considers the teacher as a dedicated professional. Rosenthal and Jacobson 1992 demonstrates a study that determines whether students will live up to the teacher’s expectations.

          • Fenstermacher, Gary D., and Jonas F. Soltis. 2009. Approaches to teaching. 5th ed. Thinking about Education series. New York: Teachers College Press.

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            This book explores three approaches to teaching: the Executive Approach, the Therapist Approach, and the Liberationist Approach. One should rightly be suspicious of any categorizing within any profession, but this book makes a case for each of these three separate approaches, stimulating constructive thought on how one teaches.

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          • Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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            If one reads only the first chapter, this book will be eye opening, especially to male teachers, about the differences between boys and girls in the classroom. The teacher will note how girls become more verbal than boys and how girls respond differently from boys. Such codes as honor, morals, and discipline must be considered differently for boys and for girls.

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          • Hiller, Arthur, dir. 2008. Teachers. DVD. Hollywood, CA: MGM/United Artists.

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            This film has many models of teachers. This tale is about the politics of a large city school, applicable to all schools. Sometimes the politics are in the way of teaching; sometimes the politics aid the teachers. One teacher relates to his students, and another demonstrates how not to teach. Then there is an outpatient who wanders in to substitute teach and is eminently successful. This version has Hebrew subtitles. Film produced as VHS in 1984.

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          • Johnson, Eric W. 1979. Teaching school: Points picked up: A book for anyone who is teaching, wants to teach, or knows a teacher. Boston: National Association of Independent Schools.

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            This is one of the most practical books written about the teacher in the classroom and how he should teach. The teacher does not have to fill all voids with conversation—that silence often aids the teacher. The book also deals with such topics as classroom management and assignment and grading of homework.

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          • Kane, Pearl Rock. 1991. The first year of teaching: Real world stories from America’s teachers. New York: Walker.

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            Anyone who has been a teacher will find himself on record here. There are some who described their first-year experience some decades after it happened. There is the teacher who found himself in an awkward parent conference, and the teacher who finally learned how to listen and how to respond to her students.

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          • Menendez, Ramon, dir. 1998. Stand and deliver. DVD. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video.

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            This film catalogues the successes of Jaime Escalante, a math teacher in the poor section of Los Angeles at a failing high school. Through establishing a work ethic, which included students’ coming to school on Saturdays, and inspiring students by telling them that they were capable of more, Escalante sets an example for what good teachers can be and accomplish. Originally produced as a motion picture in 1988.

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          • Palmer, Parker J. 1998. The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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            In a sense, this book presents the souls of teachers—the way in which those who teach must relate to their students. The author states that evaluative methods for teachers are lacking. No other book’s message sets teachers apart so well as dedicated professionals.

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          • Rosenthal, Robert, and Lenore Jacobson. 1992. Pygmalion in the classroom: Teacher expectation and pupils’ intellectual development. New York: Irvington.

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            In this newly expanded revision, the authors again give their rationale and provide studies of students rising to meet the teacher’s expectations. The new preface states, simply enough, “People, more often than not, do what is expected of them.”

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          Evaluation

          There seems no satisfactory method devised as of yet to evaluate teachers, yet teachers must be evaluated. Most systems that are in place overlook one main flaw: the dynamics of classrooms change every time that a visitor enters the classroom. An evaluative system newly in place may have a shelf life of two years, and the Hawthorne effect seems to arise. Most systems that are in place tend to halo the teachers and further entrench the status quo of every school. Whatever system is used, it must be jointly developed with the teachers who are to be evaluated, and the system must have substance. The briefer the methodology, the better. Ayers 1993 presents models of successful teachers. Cogan 1973 presents a realistic way of improving instruction. Popham 1974 states that there is a need for teacher evaluation and then shuns most of the methods in use. Scriven 1974 presents a way that teachers can evaluate themselves.

          • Ayers, William. 1993. To teach: The journey of a teacher. New York: Teachers College Press.

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            This volume belongs under the category Teacher Evaluation, in that it highlights the complexity of the profession. Ayers’s personal journey in teaching has followed a multiplicity of roles, from preschool through college. The book describes many of his classroom encounters, all of which were challenging in one way or another. He challenges as myth the notion that “good teaching can be measured by how well the students do on tests.”

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          • Cogan, Morris L. 1973. Clinical supervision. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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            This text involves a mentor and a teacher pairing up, deciding on the ways in which the teacher wants to improve, and then the mentor’s observing the teacher working with students in the classroom. Afterward, the two write a separate analysis of what was seen, and a discussion ensues.

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          • Popham, W. James. 1974. “Pitfalls and Pratfalls of Teacher Evaluation.” Educational Leadership 32.2: 141–146.

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            In effect, this article makes a strong case for teacher evaluation based on the teacher’s effect on the students. It also makes a compelling case for not using rating sheets or classroom observations. “Different people value different things in teachers,” he writes, though he does urge self-evaluation. Available online to subscribers.

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          • Scriven, Michael. 1974. “The Evaluation of Teachers.” In Evaluation: A study guide for educational administrators. By Michael Scriven, 125–134. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Nova Univ.

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            This is chapter 4 of an early text that questions the validity of the classroom visit. Instead, it says that we should take into account a needs assessment of students before undertaking the assessment of teachers’ goals. It states that there are six categories of evaluation and specifies five types of defensible evaluative areas, including a cogent case for student evaluation of the teacher.

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          Teachers and Testing

          Little is written about the philosophy of grading, but it is present behind every teacher’s grading system, even though the teacher may be unaware of it. Grading is, of necessity, a subjective exercise in which the teacher has to decide what to test the students on, and then, on that basis, he has to decide what must be retaught or what level of mastery a student has achieved. Kirschenbaum, et al. 1971 offers a look at the various types of grading systems. Lemann 1999 questions the whole issue of the Advanced Placement program.

          • Kirschenbaum, Howard, Rodney W. Napier, and Sidney B. Simon. 1971. Wad-ja-get? The grading game in American education. New York: Hart.

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            This book examines, in a trite form, the various kinds of grading systems that are in use. Under the framework of a classroom assignment, students themselves look at letter grades versus number grades, at written assessments, at objective tests, and at various passing levels. This volume gives ample incentive for teachers to examine their own practices.

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          • Lemann, Nicholas. 1999. The big test: The secret history of the American meritocracy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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            According to the author, the forerunner of the Educational Testing Service began with the idea of formulating a way to continue to have “a white elite” in the best colleges and universities in the United States, a meritocracy to be permanently established to run the country. But the purpose was thwarted somewhat by the notion that schools should teach as many students as possible, and that there are indeed multiple intelligences that should be accounted for.

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          Curriculum

          In effect, what we have been using in schools for curriculum has virtually been in place since the 1970s. It is time to consider discarding old models and standards or at least to consider replacing them. Education needs to rethink what we are doing, how students learn, how they interact with teachers and with one another, and what we should be offering to students as we prepare them for the needs of the 21st century. The books listed below are fuel for rethinking the current curricula in use at most secondary schools. Bruner 1960 provides a methodology for rethinking curriculum planning and reform. Christensen, et al. 2008 advocates change through what the authors call disruptive innovation. Clem and Wilson 1991 gives effective ways for managing curriculum change in schools. Edutopia gives examples of effective new programs. Friedman 2006 gives the rationale for the necessity of rethinking curriculum changes to meet the new, flat world. Gardner 1993 provides the basis for incorporating different ways of accounting for different intelligences. Kiernan 2005 lists online course available. Pink 2006 gives the rationale behind developing and needing both sides of the brain.

          • Bruner, Jerome S. 1960. The process of education: A landmark in educational theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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            This book provides the model for a national conference on reforming the curriculum, and therefore it is still timely. The book is organized around four chapters: the structure of learning, readiness for learning, intuitive and analytic thinking, and what the author calls motives for learning. There is also an apparent concession to B. F. Skinner on aids for teaching, but that chapter’s suggestions have been partially superseded, as well as exceeded.

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          • Christensen, Clayton M., Michael B. Horn, and Curtis M. Johnson. 2008. Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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            The authors speak in terms of disruptive innovation to enable the world to make changes to the status quo, regardless of the field, citing the disruption caused when Japanese car makers entered America’s auto industry. Specifically, they speak of the US educational model as being broken, in that other countries are outperforming the graduates of our schools.

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          • Clem, Stephen C., and Z. Vance Wilson. 1991. Paths to new curriculum. Boston: National Association of Independent Schools.

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            This is a collection of useful chapters and practical problems on how to go about solving such questions as how does one review current curriculum and then proceed with changes. Written before brain studies gained currency and the necessity for creating a new curriculum for the 21st century arose, it does provide useful exercises for schools that want to review and make changes.

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          • Edutopia.

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            This is a website dedicated to displaying innovative educational offerings in the public sector that are used in and available to schools from kindergarten through grade twelve. In general, it has sections dedicated to such topics as teacher development, technological integration, and curricular offerings in kindergarten through grade two and in grades three through five, six through eight, and nine through twelve.

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            • Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. Rev. ed. London: Penguin.

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              Friedman sounds the call to a new, flat world. In this book, he briefly explores the new technological and the new communications world. He states that “we will have to stop doing things the way they have always been done and invent new ways to meet the challenges of the new century.”

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            • Gardner, Howard. 1993. Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.

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              Howard Gardner was the first to popularize the notion that people have different intelligences, and he attempted to codify them according to their natures. He also touched on the nature of earlier curricula, stating that in the future, we must try to accept multiple intelligences as part of our thinking. Tenth anniversary edition.

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            • Kiernan, Vincent. 2005. Finding an online high school: Your guide to more than 4,500 high school courses offered over the Internet. Alexandria, VA: Mattily.

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              No revision of curricula in the United States can fail to ignore distance learning and the online courses available. This book is simply a compendium of those 4,500 courses online that were available in 2005. There are institutional profiles as well as course indexes.

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            • Pink, Daniel H. 2006. A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York: Riverhead.

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              Using then-up-to-date work on research of the brain, Pink suggests that the future will belong to those who have developed the right-brain side in conceptual and synthesis thinking, and that the left-brain world of making will increasingly go to those in Asia who currently make things.

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            LAST MODIFIED: 12/15/2011

            DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756810-0029

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