Beyond the Classroom: Why School Reform Has Failed and what Parents Need to Do

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Simon & Schuster, 1996 - Education - 223 pages
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Based on a comprehensive national study of high-school students, Beyond the Classroom explains that it is parents and peers, not teachers, who have the greatest influence over a student's classroom performance. The reason so many students do badly in school is not that their schools are deficient but that their parents either don't care about their children's performance or don't show their children in positive ways that they do. Children who know that their parents value eduction perform much better in school than other children. The other great influence on school performance, according to the study reported in this book, is the peer group. Children are strongly influenced by their friends' attitudes toward school. As a group, children whose friends believe that hard work earns rewards and who value good grades do well in school. Unfortunately, according to the study, fewer than one-fifth of all students say that their friends believe it is important to get good grades. For the most part, adolescent peer culture demeans school success and scorns those students who try to do well in school. The peer culture is so powerful that it can even undermine the positive contributions of parents. The study on which this book is based also found striking and consistent ethnic differences in student performance, differences that cut across socioeconomic groups. African-American and Latino students lag behind their peers while Asian-American students - even in the very same school - perform at the highest levels. Beyond the Classroom explains why this is and offers answers that will help all students, regardless of ethnic background, to do better in school. Beyond the Classroom identifies the realnature of the education crisis in America. It explains why some students succeed brilliantly while others founder and draws valuable lessons about the nature of successful parental and peer group support.

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Beyond the classroom: why school reform has failed and what parents need to do

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In its refutation of the idea of educational reform, this book is quite different from many others that propose ways to improve our schools and classrooms. The key findings are based on a nationwide ... Read full review

Contents

The Real Problem 1 l
13
A Nation at Risk A Nation in Denial
29
School Reform Is Not the Solution
47
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Laurence Steinberg is a professor of psychology at Temple University and a nationally recognized expert on adolescent psychology.

Reed W. Larson is a professor in the Departments of Human and Community Development, Psychology, and Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the daily experience of adolescents and their parents. He is author of Divergent Realities: The Emotional Lives of Mothers, Fathers, and Adolescents (with Maryse Richards), which examines the organization of time and emotions within the daily lives of families and how emotions are transmitted between family members. He is also the author of Being Adolescent: Conflict and Growth in the Teenage Years (with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), which deals with the daily experience of high school students. He has also conducted research on adolescents media use, time alone, experience with friends, and school experience. He recently completed a study of middle class adolescents in India. His current area of interest is adolescents' experience in extra-curricular, community activities, and others structured, voluntary activities in the after-school hours. He holds a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Chicago.

B. Bradford Brown is Professor of Human Development and former Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received an A.B. in sociology from Princeton University and Ph.D. in human development from the University of Chicago before joining the faculty of the University of Wisconsin in 1979. Dr. Brown's research has focused on adolescent peer relations. He is especially well known for his work on teenage peer groups and peer pressure and their influence on schoolachievement and social adjustment. He is the co-editor (with Wyndol Furman and Candice Feiring) of The Development of Romantic Relationships in Adolescence. With colleagues Laurence Steinberg and Sanford Dornbusch he also wrote Beyond the Classroom: Why School Reform has Failed and What Parents Need to Do. Dr. Brown has served as a consultant for numerous groups, including the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and the Blue Ribbons Schools program of the U.S. Department of Education. He is currently the Editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence. He and his wife, also a faculty member at U.W.-Madison, enjoy the challenges of raising three sons.

Jeylan T. Mortimer is professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and director of the Life Course Center. She has conducted a series of longitudinal research projects related to the social psychology of work, including studies of occupational choice, vocational development in the family and work settings, psychological change in response to work, job satisfaction, work involvement, and the link between work and family life. Since 1987 she has directed the Youth Development Study, an ongoing longitudinal examination of the effects of early work experience on students and its implications for mental health, adjustment, and achievement as they mature. The interrelations of adolescent work and family life are examined in her book, Adolescents, Work, and Family: An Intergenerational Development Analysis (with M. Finch). She is now studying the effects of adolescent work on the timing and patterning of markers of transition to adulthood. She is past chair of the SocialPsychology Section and the Sociology of Children Section of the American Sociological Association and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She holds a B.A. degree from Tufts University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

Sanford M. Dornbusch is Professor of Sociology at Stanford University.

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