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What Does it Mean to Be Well-Educated?: And Other Essays on Standards, Grading, and other Follies

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Overview

Few writers ask us to question our fundamental assumptions about education as provocatively as Alfie Kohn. Time magazine has called him'perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores.' And the Washington Post says he is 'the most energetic and charismatic figure standing in the way of a major federal effort to make standardized curriculums and tests a fact of life in every U.S. school.'

In this new collection of essays, Kohn takes...

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What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated?: And More Essays on Standards, Grading, and Other Follies

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Overview

Few writers ask us to question our fundamental assumptions about education as provocatively as Alfie Kohn. Time magazine has called him'perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores.' And the Washington Post says he is 'the most energetic and charismatic figure standing in the way of a major federal effort to make standardized curriculums and tests a fact of life in every U.S. school.'

In this new collection of essays, Kohn takes on some of the most important and controversial topics in education of the last few years. His central focus is on the real goals of education-a topic, he argues, that we systematically ignore while lavishing attention on misguided models of learning and counterproductive techniques of motivation.

The shift to talking about goals yields radical conclusions and wonderfully pungent essays that only Alfie Kohn could have written. From the title essay's challenge to conventional, conservative definitions of a good education to essays on standards and testing and grades that tally the severe educational costs of overemphasizing a narrow conception of achievement, Kohn boldly builds on his earlier work and writes for a wide audience.

Kohn's new book will be greeted with enthusiasm by his many readers and by any teacher or parent looking for a refreshing perspective on today's debates about schools.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The most energetic and charismatic figure standing in the way of a major federal effort to make standardized curriculums and tests a fact of life in every U.S. school. —Washington Post

"Of the dozens of 'experts' on what's wrong (and right) in U.S. schools, only a handful are truly worth reading; Kohn has long been one of the soundest. His willingness not simply to challenge conventional answers but also examine whether we're asking the right questions gives his work a genuinely eye-opening quality." —Booklist

"Kohn cuts against the grain and takes on adversaries without fear, and yet with a mature and rational sophistication. He draws upon a rich tradition, citing the work of Dewey, Bruner, Piaget, and Holt, among others, but he now takes his proper place within their ranks." —Jonathan Kozol

Publishers Weekly
If general readers recognize Kohn's name, it's thanks to his campaign against standardized testing (The Case Against Standardized Testing). Educational professionals will recall Kohn's insights into classroom management (Punished by Rewards) and school reform (The Schools Our Children Deserve). This collection of essays, written from 1999 to 2003, proves the author is one of America's most astute critics of current educational policies. Kohn revisits the standards and testing mania, but also takes on other controversial issues: grade inflation, school violence and how educators can deal with the aftermath of 9/11. "Turning Learning into a Business" is an informative and incisive critique of the many ways in which Kohn sees the corporate world exploiting kids and profiting from schools through the marketing of tests, advertising in schools and textbooks, and turning schools into for-profit businesses. Kohn carefully links these issues to larger social concerns: "one of the most crucial tasks in a democratic society" is "the act of limiting the power that corporations have in determining what happens in, and to, our schools." Kohn is unapologetic and articulate about the advantages of a progressive approach to education that values students' interests, focuses on understanding (rather than the acquisition of isolated facts) and assesses student work authentically (rather than by single, standardized measures). True to his educational philosophy, he asks readers to consider big questions, such as: What's important to know? What are the qualities of a good school? And perhaps most vital, Who gets to decide and who benefits? (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807032671
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 3/21/2004
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 716,477
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Alfie Kohn's previous eight books include Punished by Rewards, No Contest, and The Schools Our Children Deserve. He speaks widely to teachers and parents and lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Grappling with Goals
1 The Purposes of Schooling
1 What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated? 1
2 Turning Learning into a Business 11
3 The Costs of Overemphasizing Achievement 28
2 Standards and Testing
4 Confusing Harder and Better 41
5 Beware of the Standards, Not Just the Tests 46
6 Standardized Testing and Its Victims 54
7 Sacrificing Learning for Higher Scores 62
8 Two Cheers for an End to the SAT 65
3 Grading and Evaluating
9 From Degrading to De-Grading 75
10 The Dangerous Myth to Grade Inflation 93
11 Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!" 106
4 Moral, Social, and Psychological Questions
12 Constant Frustration and Occasional Violence: The Legacy of American High Schools 117
13 September 11 128
14 A Fresh Look at Abraham Maslow 131
5 School Reform and the Study of Education
15 Almost There, But Not Quite 151
16 Education's Rotten Apples 159
17 The Folly of Merit Pay 166
18 Professors Who Profess 174
Credits 185
Index 188
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    To every one please click

    Hey i have been through alot sxxual abuse physical and emotional.. i have also gone through sexual harassmment and cyber bulling an bulling at school so please dont try to stop please put a stop to the misury that people argoing through...
    PUT AN END TO CYBERBULLING AND ABUSE AND NOOK S.E.X PLEASE

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    I came all this way to find nothing?

    I came here. I want it back.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    To below

    Me too. I can't believe the reviews are for nook s.e.x. now -_-

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Support

    I would love to support you morgan! -Em

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    Melissa

    Today I encouraged some new fanfic authors, there was this "critisicer" that was being mean... I voiced my opinion

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    To below

    Hey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    To morgan343

    Is this still a club? Reply at ~starclan leader

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Hi

    Cyberbullying is a serious problem. Its happened to me before and it can hurt. Ill support u

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    No more cyber bullying and nook sex?

    That is a great idea
    I glad people are standing up to it
    Yours truly~BACON

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    To everyone

    Morgans not coming back so id just forget this whole mess and get another book to chat on &#9185

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