External Author Name: 
Amy Fagan

Paula J. Carreiro and Eileen Shields-West, eds.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

With so many options in the education marketplace today--public to private, progressive to conservative, secular to religious, and more--this collection of essays is a handy reference for any parent trying to make sense of them all. It begins with general principles to keep in mind when reviewing a school, including the fact that there's a clear distinction between a school's mission--its goals, values and cherished dreams--and a school's model--the tools it uses to achieve its mission. The model should always fulfill the mission, explain the authors, and schools where this is not the case are unfortunately all too numerous. The book then describes general school categories, from public education to charters and independent schools, before delving deeper into more specific models, including Montessori Education, Internationally Minded Schools, Islamic schools, Christian schools, boarding schools, schools for gifted/talented students, and those with special needs--nineteen types in all. It finishes with a brief look at the future of education, concluding that innovation is the key to creating a school that is both pedagogically and financially successful. While the volume is expansive, it is not verbose, thus providing parents with practical information in digestible nuggets. Taken as a whole, the parent will finish this book more learned and better prepared to make a superlative school choice decision for his or her child, though it is still no match for Bryan and Emily Hassel's Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your Child's School with Confidence--which remains the standard in this genre.

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