Amy's Game: The Concealed Structure of Education
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7 of 9 found the following review helpful:
A Must Read Jul 06, 2007
Parents and teachers alike will appreciate this frank and well-researched book on the current state of education. The author's non-technical vocabulary and engaging style are woven around the real-life story of a child, Amy, who puts a human face on the larger issues raised. Those issues and concerns raised are matched with clear, affordable, common-sense solutions that are within the reach of those who care for and educate our children. Everyone with an interest in improving the quality of our children's education should read this book.
5 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Must read! Oct 17, 2007
By E. Picker
This book is a must!! It shows step by step the systematic way of the education system in failing our kids, especially those who so much need this help. Education (not only in US) is unfortunately based on the slogan: "Don't confuse me with the facts".
6 of 9 found the following review helpful:
What is wrong with US teaching; How to fix it! Jul 23, 2007
By Corrine Donley
ALL PARENTS, TEACHERS, TEACHER EDUCATORS, AND THERAPISTS SHOULD READ THIS INTRIGUING BOOK! I found it difficult to put down. In it, Roger Bass goes out on a limb to tell us what is wrong with education in the US, and how to fix it.
As a teacher educator himself for over 30 years, he has witnessed the professionals in the schools who are caught up in a well-meaning system that uses short-lived fads (among other useless schemes) to try to improve education rather than science-driven, well-documented teaching strategies! Likewise as a teacher educator myself, I can vouch for his observations and the science we could use to improve our system.
This book is an easy read for anyone who is interested in education. I can forgive Dr. Bass a few minor problems, because the most important thing is to forget about that and read the book. I will also forgive his omission of a few references to educational research programs with which I am very familiar, for the same reason.
READ THIS BOOK AND TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE OF PRESSING FORWARD WITH EMPIRICALLY PROVEN TEACHING METHODS. INSIST THAT SCHOOLS EITHER USE THOSE OR DO RESEARCH ON THE METHODS THEY ESPOUSE THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN EXAMINED SCIENTIFICALLY! STUDY WHETHER OR NOT YOUR SCHOOL'S METHODOLOGY ACTUALLY TEACHES YOUR CHILD THE SKILLS THE SCHOOL SAYS ARE IMPORTANT.
6 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Useful, if too angry; needs editing for tone Dec 26, 2007
By Lawrence J. Winkler
Amy's Game: The Concealed Structure of Education makes good points, and fails in others. The website for this book and autism [...]
First, the author is Roger Bass, an associate professor at Carthage College, a private Lutheran college in Kenosha Wisconsin. Surprisingly, there is very little information available about this author/professor. I'm in the habit of preparing to read a book by reviewing the author's preface, and reading what the author says about him/herself, and his/her qualifications, professional approaches -- how else does one begin the evaluation of a work? Only a short paragraph on the back cover says he is an education professor and does not mention where, etc. Only an internet search allowed me to locate and identify this author.
The proceeds from this book will going to the care of Amy, a child suffering from autism and Bass's first student some 30 years ago, who showed promise of a quality life. But because the theories and practices of "Educrats" and "Fadsters" (as he calls them) did not allow use of methods that would have been successful, she, at forty, has been relegated to an institution.
Bass argues from his and others professional experience, and some published literature, that there are "games" which the educational establishment (local, state, university, and Federal) play to maintain power, and monopoly of programs which don't work, and continually recycle old non-working fads under new guises, forbidding the many good, well-meaning, and dedicated teachers from being successful in educating students.
The list of Amy's Games (the games played) are quite compelling and for those who have been paying attention to the seeming lack of data, lack of quality, and lack of progress in education, despite massive amounts of money being poured into the failing system, it is good to see in one place the shell games that are played.
This book has serious weaknesses, however.
Bass is a B.F. Skinner, programmed learning, and Direct Instruction protagonist (capital D.I., not little d.i.). I must say, this put me off, for he seems as wedded to and blinded by his theories and practices as the "Educrats" he rightfully criticizes.
Secondly, the content contains too much (justified?) anger and name-calling ("educrats", "fadsters"), and not enough citations in support of his conclusions. He laments the use of anecdotes instead of research to move education between one fad and another, but he is guilty of the same in supporting his arguments.
In his defense, literature references are provided in the appendix but references to this literature are not peppered throughout the book, which makes it impossible to determine if a given statement he makes or position he takes has been substantiated.
Given the author's professional background and resources, I would have expected substantially more from a book of this sort; though in the education field, material that is of high professional quality does seem in very short supply.
Nonetheless, I would recommended reading the book, though you'll need to do your own research. It is certainly not a book one can use or should use to substantiate educational positions.