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PROFESSIONAL BOOKS.

INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL EDUCATION: The Inclusive Classroom. Karen A. Waldron. New York: Delmar, 1996. 520 pp. This text focuses on preparing both regular and special education teachers to meet the needs of exceptional students. The author incorporates an objective overview of inclusion philosophy and what education experts have to say about it. Implementing inclusive classrooms is considered from parents', students', administrators' and the community's viewpoints, with emphasis on the necessity for collaboration, the demand for inservice educators, the importance of compliance with the law, and community involvement.

As the focus of the text, Waldron creates a fictional school district in which inclusion has just been mandated. She provides examples of potential obstacles and encourages using multiple perspectives to brainstorm solutions.

A number of features make the book informative and easy to use, including tables and figures that contain collaborative ideas and useful strategies for instruction at both the elementary and secondary levels. "My Portfolio Work Products" provides examples for designing intervention programs. Definitions of essential concepts appear throughout the text. Flash![TM] for Windows[TM], a computerized study guide with an interactive question and answer program, is also included.

This introductory book is a clear, concise reference guide. The reproducible charts and checklists, as well as the teaching techniques and skill-building lists, are useful and easy to adapt. Classroom photographs mirror the diversity of students in today's schools. Reviewed by Pamela K. LaGrassa, elementary teacher, St. Dennis School, Royal Oak, MI

SCHOOL CHOICE: The Struggle for the Soul of American Education. Peter J. Cookson, Jr. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996. 174 pp. $10.00 paper, $22.50 cloth. School choice has aroused more public passion than any other school reform movement. This excellent book clarifies a number of issues surrounding this hotly debated issue.

The book places the school choice movement in its historical and contemporary contexts, describes the major choice plans through case studies, analyzes the outcomes of school choice and examines the underlying assumptions of the market model of education reform. Cookson first examines the cultural context from which the school choice movement arose, emphasizing the consumer culture that permeates it. He then outlines the social and philosophical contexts of school choice and answers questions such as "Who is for school choice and why?"

In the third chapter, Cookson explores school choice in action by describing the legislative picture across the nation and presenting case studies of choice plans in Minnesota; Cambridge and Fall River, Massachusetts; East Harlem and White Plains, New York; and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chapter 4 assesses how school choice has affected student achievement, school improvement, equity and community. Cookson then reflects on and analyzes market models of education reform and their underlying competitive metaphors. The last chapter extends what research has revealed about school choice and argues for a democratic vision of education choice. Using straightforward organization and lean, lucid writing, the author clearly examines the pros and cons of school choice.

The book's subtitle reflects Cookson's belief that the drama over school choice represents a moral struggle of genuine significance. While he does not believe that school choice can resolve the education crisis in the United States, he does warn readers that the public school system is liable to collapse from its own bureaucratic weight and that school choice can create communities of families who exercise the education freedom essential to a vibrant democracy.

The author ends his insightful and sobering book by reminding us that school choice is a tactic for reform, but not an overall strategy. He challenges the reader to work toward a "vibrant, strong, and democratic school system" by encouraging legislators to provide more resources and educators to clarify their purpose and renew their commitment. Without such changes, Cookson believes that American public education will "continue to wither and perhaps die." Reviewed by Robert L. Gilstrap, Professor of Middle Education, Graduate School of Education, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

ASSESSING YOUNG CHILDREN. Gayle Mindes, Harold Ireton & Carol Mardell-Czudnowski. Albany, NY: Delmar, 1996. 324 pp. $33.95. This comprehensive look at assessment issues covers the ages from birth through 8 in textbook format, designed for early childhood education college courses. It could also serve as a reference for practitioners.

The authors wisely express concern about the long-term effects of assessment decisions and caution that "inaccurate, or otherwise technically flawed information may damage the life of a child" (p. 11). In order to guard against such an outcome, the authors support the need for continuous and multifaceted performance-based data collection. In addition, readers are reminded to consider how socioeconomic, cultural and familial differences influence assessment outcomes. Although tests and testing are described at length, careful reading reveals important warnings about the misuse of tests. Assessment reform advocates might wish for stronger warnings and for acknowledgment of how maturation affects test reliability and validity.

Many readers will appreciate, however, the pragmatic advice "not to just say no to testing and accountability requirements" (p. 113), but rather to develop better systems of accountability that reflect what we know about young children. Guidelines for doing just that explain why and how to gather assessment data through observation, especially during play activities. Recommendations for simultaneous assessment and teaching echo current views of authentic assessment for learners of all ages, while descriptions of parent-teacher interactions show the value of collaborative partnerships for assessment. The authors also provide examples of matching assessment procedures to a variety of purposes.

This book offers a great deal of useful information for preservice and inservice early childhood educators. It presents appropriate ethical considerations as well as detailed descriptions of practice. These strengths more than compensate for a lack of clarity about assessment components, an occasional lack of cohesion and minor errors about public school testing requirements. Reviewed by Marjorie Fields, Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, AK

BONDING: Building the Foundations of Secure Attachment and Independence. Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell & Phyllis Klaus. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995. 238 pp. $22.00. The authors expand their clinical research and previous work, Parent-Infant Bonding, into an important book for those who work with mothers and their newborns, including physicians, nurses, childlife specialists and parent educators.

The authors, experts in the fields of neonatology and pediatrics, deliver an important message to the health care and insurance industries about the dangers of separating mothers and their newborns shortly after birth. Using extensive research and cross-cultural data, they build a case for encouraging hospitals to develop policies that enhance the bonding process. They stress the importance of early extended contact and the consequences of early separation. Among the topics addressed are breast-feeding, depression and interaction with premature infants and those born with disabilities. The book also explores the process of "Kangaroo Care," the use of doulas, the effects of rooming-in and the research that supports breast-feeding.

Klaus, Kennell and Klaus believe that early mother-child interactions set the stage for parent-child bonding, which in turn has direct effects on infant attachment status. They warn that current medical practices are not conducive to the bonding process. Reviewed by Barbara P. Garner, Assistant Professor of Child Development, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston

EFFECTIVE TEACHING, EFFECTIVE LEARNING: Making the Personality Connection in Your Classroom. Alice M. Fairhurst & Lisa L. Fairhurst. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black, 1995. 328pp. $16.95. These authors understand the need for using a variety of teaching techniques and methods in order to help all students fulfill their potential. The knowledge they share about temperament, personality type theory and learning styles, culled from their years of teaching experience, makes this book a valuable resource for anyone interested in improving our schools.

This book highlights principles and applications the authors have tried and tested in their own classrooms. It describes how temperament and personality type theories can affect teaching and learning, which the authors call the "personality connection." Anyone who has ever asked, "How can I ensure that most of my students are learning more of the time?" will benefit from the information included. Teachers, school administrators and parents will gain valuable insights.

Readers will begin to see themselves, and their peers, in the descriptions of various temperaments and learning styles. In doing so, they will gain a better understanding of their own behavior, and that of their co-workers. Teachers will learn how to more effectively evaluate their students' temperaments and personalities. The book lists practical ideas and offers suggestions on how to incorporate them when planning classroom activities. Reviewed by Mary M. Bartley, Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Eaton Rapids, MI

HOPE AT LAST FOR AT-RISK YOUTH. Robert D. Barr & William H. Parrett. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1995. 308 pp. $35.00. Barr and Parrett have written an extraordinary book that reflects their strong beliefs about helping at-risk youth. They based their findings on data they gathered over a five-year period.

The authors offer very compelling reasons why all of society must attend to youth who feel alienated. Many teachers and administrators feel helpless. Few people are academically or emotionally prepared to solve young people's many serious problems. Short-term programs of six months or a year do not work, for example.

Barr and Parrett maintain that their book provides a guarantee for creating successful programs and restructured schools, identifying schools, communities and programs that have been and still are successful. They claim that educators and communities should know the "right answers" for solving the problems of at-risk youth, given the amount of literature from the past 20 years.

Their first two chapters analyze how American society, economy and families have changed. The next two chapters indicate how traditional schools have failed and how students view the future with pessimism. The fifth chapter characterizes what research reveals about at-risk youth and what successful programs ought to include. Chapters 6 through 8 describe models in kindergarten, middle/junior high schools and high schools.

Chapters 9 and 10 include inspiring and thorough reports on successful school restructuring and improvement. The last chapter offers references to books, articles, programs and funding sources, as well as an extensive bibliography classified by problems/issues. Readers will also find specific plans for starting and implementing an alternative public school. All information is specific and to the point.

The authors have done a creditable job of bringing practical information to those institutions and communities that are seriously concerned about helping our current generation of youth. The book is highly readable as well, with something for everyone. Reviewed by Edythe Margolin, California State University, Northridge

TALKING MATHEMATICS: Supporting Children's Voices. Rebecca B. Corwin, Judith Storeygard & Sabra L. Price. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1996. 168 pp. The authors of this readable and practical book are all researchers from the National Science Foundation-sponsored "Talking Mathematics Project." University professors, staff developers, and preservice and practicing elementary teachers will find the text helpful.

The goal of the "Talking Mathematics Project" is to create an elementary classroom culture that supports mathematics exploration, discourse, strategy invention, pattern discovery and prediction. This slender, well-organized text shares reflections and recommendations from the Project's 37 teacher participants. The authors' philosophy - that a challenging yet supportive mathematics community must allow an investigative perspective that enhances problem-centered situations - is evident throughout.

Readers will find a brief outline of "Talking Mathematics" in the first section. The authors explain the necessity of sharing expressive mathematical language while problem solving. The plan focuses on introducing the constructs, building theories, sharing solution strategies and generating definitions, all while placing teachers at the heart of mathematics discourse.

The second section offers concise, practical suggestions that proactively support classroom mathematics talk and strategies to effectively revamp instructional practices. Noteworthy suggestions include talking less, listening more, providing an abundance of resources/manipulatives for drawing conclusions and building upon students' interests and input to help them discover their mathematical voices.

Section three provides a needed balance between theory and classroom practice, with articles focusing on reflective thinking, children's learning/thinking and overall concerns of effective teaching. The authors offer suggestions for teachers as they shift from rote memorization to invention, expression and problem posing.

In the final section, the authors translate theory into practice by providing a set of lesson plans that offer many low-risk, high-yield opportunities for mathematics discussions. Students in one example were asked, "How many handshakes are possible among 20 people?" Their list of possible solutions is included.

An excellent resource list completes the book. This plethora of materials furnishes a tangible starting point for building a mathematics community of discourse in the elementary classroom. Reviewed by Janis E. Murphy, Assistant Professor, Elementary and Secondary Education, Murray State University, Murray, KY
COPYRIGHT 1996 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Murphy, Janis E.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1996
Words:2091
Previous Article:BOOKS FOR CHILDREN.
Next Article:Effects of Child Care on Children's Development.
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