The most exciting innovation in education policy in the last decade is the emergence of highly effective schools in our nation's inner cities, schools where disadvantaged teens make enormous gains in academic achievement. In his new book, Sweating the Small Stuff (published by Fordham), freelance journalist David Whitman, a former senior writer for U.S. News & World Report, takes readers inside six of these secondary schools and reveals the secret to their success: they are "paternalistic."
The schools teach youngsters how to act according to traditional, middle-class values, set and enforce exacting academic standards, and closely supervise student behavior. But, according to Whitman, unlike paternalistic institutions of the past, these schools are warm, caring places, where teachers and principals form paternal-like bonds with students. Though little explored to date, the new paternalistic schools are the most promising means yet for closing the nation's costly and shameful achievement gap.
You may purchase Sweating the Small Stuff here. (For review copies, please contact Christina Hentges.)
For a national Education Gadfly piece by Checker Finn and Marci Kanstoroom, see here.
For an EdNews interview with Whitman, see here.
For George F. Will's review, see here.
For Cory Bunje Bower's review, see here.
For David Whitman's response to Cory Bower, see here.