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Cover for The Schools Our Children Deserve

The Schools Our Children Deserve

Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards"

Alfie Kohn


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In this provocative and well-researched book, Alfie Kohn builds a powerful argument against “teaching to the test” in favor of more child-centered curriculums to raise lifelong learners. Drawing on stories from real classrooms and extensive research, Kohn shows parents, educators, and others how schools can help students explore ideas rather than just fill them with forgettable facts and prepare them for standardized tests. Here, at last, is a book that challenges the two dominant forces in American education: an aggressive nostalgia for traditional teaching (“If it was bad enough for me, it’s bad enough for my kids”) and a heavy-handed push for “tougher standards.”

Praise For The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards"

“A very important achievement — a powerful, crisply written assault upon the mad excesses of the educational ‘standards’ movement.” -- Jonathan Kozol

“Alfie Kohn forces readers to ask what our children are doing in school and what skills they really need to succeed in life. If you’re a parent or concerned citizen, this book ought to be on your list.”

The Washington Times

Linda Perlstein comments that "the activities that he suggests are wonderful" and that Alphie's is "an inspiring philosophy." The Washington Post

"The Schools Our Children Deserve is a very important achievement, a powerful assault upon the mad excesses of the educational standards movement. It is a remarkable book that should become a classic in the field." -- Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities

"The Schools Our Children Deserve forces us to reconsider most of what we thought we knew about education -- about homework and standardized testing, about phonics and what makes a good teacher. I want to hand this book to every parent in America and say, 'Before you send your child to school tomorrow, you must read this!'" -- Deborah Meier, educational reformer and author of The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem —

HarperOne, 9780618083459, 352pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2000

About the Author

ALFIE KOHN's published works include Punished by Rewards, No Contest: The Case Against Competition, Beyond Discipline, and What to Look for in a Classroom. Described by Time as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of educational fixation on grades and test scores," he has traveled across the country delivering lectures to teachers, parents, and researchers.