William J. Leary
Communication between school personnel and families is the central message of Keeping School. Authors Deborah Meier, Ted Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer have been national leaders in education as teachers, administrators in public and private schools and successful writers about education reform.
As administrators of two small schools near Boston, Meier and the Sizers have built in considerable flexibility in decision making on such matters as staffing, standards, subject matter and assessment, given limitations imposed by mandatory state testing. Their schools serve a wide spectrum of student learning styles and they encourage and support teacher ingenuity and student creativity.
The authors have devised a communication strategy that involves sending informational letters home periodically to families. Their reprinted letters in this book describe four aspects of school life: learning, authority and power, community and standards.
One especially interesting letter explains to parents how the school is using portfolios and public demonstrations of student work to gauge each student’s progress. Others explain the rules of the schools.
Keeping School describes the day-to-day hands-on approach of three major education reformers. Meier and the Sizers share thoughtful, practical ways in which school administrators can organize a school where family and community function together with staff to create positive learning experiences.
Like all schools, these are not without problems. The authors admit that and seem to face the challenges squarely and fairly. As readers, we gain incredible insight into a unique way of holding schools accountable.
(Keeping School by Deborah Meier, Theodore R. Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer, Beacon Press, Boston, 2004, 187 pp., $23 softcover)
William J. Leary
Professor of Education, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Fla.
COPYRIGHT 2005 American Association of School Administrators
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group