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No Bad Schools: On the High Road to Educational Reform by Ron Sofo, PhD and Bill Renko, PhD

No Bad Schools: On the High Road to Educational Reform

by Ron Sofo, PhD and Bill Renko, PhD

132 pages
Two school administrators present a new vision of public education in America.

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Category: Education
About the Book

Want better schools for all children at a cost taxpayers can afford? Want the school of your choice within a 10-mile radius of your current school district's borders' with public funding? Read NO BAD SCHOOLS to find out how.

This book challenges the thinking behind the 2001 NCLB federal takeover of public schools. It offers an insider's view on the problem of politics and schooling and the pressures of conflicting demands placed on schools by parents, lawmakers, business leaders and communities. The writers advocate a stronger commitment to quality instruction stimulated and regulated by parental choice and equitable public funding. They argue that public education won't survive unless every American child is free to attend any school - public, private, religious, cyber, charter or home school - within a 10-mile radius of school district's border.

When parents choose, schools compete. The authors believe that this competition is needed to revive our nation's archaic educational system. Centering their argument on the need for quality instruction, they present a child-centered model of teaching and learning called diagnostic teaching--individualized instruction at its best. The authors contend that responsive teaching is the first step to increasing student and parent satisfaction and critical to meeting the future demand for a skilled workforce to compete in the global market.

What drives educators to change their teaching style from a traditional, chalk-and-talk-, one-size-fits-all approach to a responsive, personalized one is competition for students. Schools that are unresponsive to the needs of children and parents will fold. Schools that are responsive will thrive. When parents are the regulators of schooling, interesting consequences result. To attract and - hold - students, schools will need to develop interesting, relevant and culturally sensitive curriculum and provide compelling evidence that students are learning. This market-based approach to education is reflected in the classroom through diagnostic teaching's consumer-based approach to instruction. The authors show how it works by describing a case study of diagnostic teaching in action. This real-life case involves the effort of a building principal and two math teachers, as an action research team, to use diagnostic teaching to improve mathematics instruction for 23 regular education sixth-graders with a history of low math achievement and negative attitudes toward instruction. The case had a surprising outcome.

The authors conclude that public education can only survive its critics and the NCLB law if put on an equal playing field with other religious, private, charter, cyber, and home schools. De-regulating schools in favor of parental choice evens the playing field so that educators no longer have to shoulder the burden of solving economic and social problems that the home, government and religious institutions can't or won't solve.

The book ends with the writers' presentation of a simple paradigm of educational reform. The authors hope their discourse opens a national debate on education and ultimately unites all stakeholders in the common goal of improving our nation's schools for all youth.


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About the Author
Ron Sofo is a public school superintendent with a background in urban/rural education, counseling and business consulting. He is a native of Auburn, New York and resides in Pittsburgh.

Bill Renko is a middle school principal with a background in teaching, consulting and educational research. He served as an advisor to the South African government in 1995.



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