from a School that Works,
Jane Day, University Press of America, 1994.
from the publisher or from The Community School,
555, Camden, Maine 04843 $25
by Mary Leue
- Anyone who
is searching for models or examples of schools that truly do the
job they have been set up to accomplish is likely to be open to
learning about schools that actually do this. I find this to be
increasingly the case as our current school system falls to
deliver that "product" in a form that meets the needs of families.
The exponential growth of non-public alternatives and the search
for "the one" which will meet the need goes on apace, as frantic
parents discover in increasing numbers the depth of the jeopardy
faced by their children at the hands of the existent schools
offered by our society. We in the alternative education "business'
are hearing more and more cries for help from such people. Charter
schools are springing up in ever-growing numbers, and the home
school group is growing rapidly
these families come from an increasingly wide range of
circumstances, it is no longer (almost) exclusively members of the
middle class that are doing the searching. Families whose children
are in trouble come from all walks of life - always have - and
more and more families who live inside the ghettos of the cities
are banding together to seek out better alternatives!
- Among other
things, this could be seen as the 'message' of this account by
Jane Day of the lives of thirty-eight young adults who were lucky
enough to have been included among the students of the Community
School In Camden, Maine, during the last twenty years.
- Thus, what
happened to these particular children - what their "presenting
problems" were; what choices they made; how they resolved them;
what has happened in their lives since that time - all of these
considerations, as well as substantive issues like the actual
functioning of the school - the "how-to" that helped to create
these results - all of these factors are brilliantly presented by
the author, who was a teacher at the school for many years.
Everything Jane Day Is saying is true! The introduction by Deborah
Meier, who also knows whereof she speaks, having been an organizer
and the principal of Central Park East in New York City for many
years, doubly underlines this authenticity.
- But what is
even more impressive to me than such an accomplishment by the
author is the humanness of the choice she has made to focus on the
stories of these thirty-eight people, both as narrated by her and,
most significantly, as given to her by the ex-students themselves!
For this reviewer, this perspective is the only real "proof of the
pudding" - and it eats very well indeed! This book is an absolute
must, and reads like a delicious meal! Even at $25 it is a
bargain, and delivers exactly what it promisesl Buy it! Read it
still, send the school money to continue accomplishing this
miracle! The address of the school is on the school's website at
Or you can look at our facsimile Community
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