Education Of Sam Sanders

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Overview

Set in 2029, The Education of Sam Sanders tells the story of an 8th grader searching for meaning in his school experiences. In a public school system beset by the finality and rigidity of standardized tests and curriculums, Sam Sanders, with the help of his teacher and mother, defies the system and creates something new: a curriculum that enlightens rather than categorizes students. In this hopeful yet frightening look at an educational future not too far from our own, we encounter the high cost of inquiry-oriented learning and the even higher cost of a system that suppresses it. The Education of Sam Sanders is a valuable book for young adults in schools, students of teaching, teachers, and parents/citizens concerned by current trends in public education. This inspiring work offers a unique and in-depth analysis of the high stakes testing and standardization movements and surfaces ideas for how we might change our current direction.

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Editorial Reviews

Deborah Meier
Like too many good science fiction tales of old, we're much closer to the storyline T.S. Poetter has invented. . .[and] the climate of opinion he creates than I wish were true. It's a well-deserved and well-executed blow, at times humorous, but too often chilling, on behalf of what is becoming commonplace in American schooling. Sam's futuristic school lives with me daily as I work across this nation trying to remember what 'school reform' was supposed to be about. But we're not there yet, and there is time to turn back as his fictional characters do. It offers us a chance to break the silence and discuss where and [for] what [reason] we're educating the future generation.
Bob Ratterman
The Education of Sam Sanders is an attempt to put a face on his long standing arguments against proficiency testing and the disruption it causes in the educational process....the story works as both fiction and sociology lesson."
Thomas J. Sergiovanni
T.S. Poetter invents a new category of educational research. He brings together the medium and the message in a way that informs our senses-all of them: what we think, how we feel, and who we are. Sam's eyes become our eyes, and things are never the same again. This is a powerful book that should be read by those who are looking for new ways to understand schools and to bring about change.
Principal Emeritus at Mission Hill and Senior Scholar at New York University
Like too many good science fiction tales of old, we're much closer to the storyline T.S. Poetter has invented. . .[and] the climate of opinion he creates than I wish were true. It's a well-deserved and well-executed blow, at times humorous, but too often chilling, on behalf of what is becoming commonplace in American schooling. Sam's futuristic school lives with me daily as I work across this nation trying to remember what 'school reform' was supposed to be about. But we're not there yet, and there is time to turn back as his fictional characters do. It offers us a chance to break the silence and discuss where and [for] what [reason] we're educating the future generation.
VOYA
Poetter's single-authored fictional tract, The Education of Sam Sanders, goes further than his recent essay collection (No Child Left Behind and the Illusion of Reform), as it describes a hypothetical scenario of resistance and ultimately success. Sam Sanders, a bright eighth grade student at rural Downing School, is tired of a regimented education system—Poetter's dystopian vision of the future of public schooling—that involves computerized lessons from a state database, regular academic drilling, and practice tests. Sam wishes for a world "where teachers used to actually use books in school . . . kids would read them, and then write about them." When Sam mobilizes the student body to boycott the big end-of-year exam, the resulting division of the school's teaching staff, the town, and the ultimate revolutionary re-structuring of the Downing School are intended to model reform and activism. Unfortunately the novel is so obviously a treatise, the characters such transparent types, and the writing so unrealistic (everyone, even the adults, says "Gee whiz!") that the reader is left to hope that if the future of education turns out like Poetter imagines, this novel will not take up needed space in any of the secret libraries maintained by the few subversives populating that brave new world. 2006, Hamilton Books, 190p., $25 pb. Ages adult professional.
—Amy S. Pattee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761834632
  • Publisher: Hamilton Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

T.S. Poetter is a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the author of articles and books on curriculum, teaching, and action research in teacher education. He has authored, co-authored, or co-edited five other books including No Child Left Behind and the Illusion of Reform, forthcoming from University Press of America, and numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters.

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