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In Smart Kids, Bad Schools, award-winning author and educator Brian Crosby draws on his twenty years as a high school English teacher to offer a candid appraisal of why our schools are failing and what we must do to save them. Crosby's no-holds-barred critique of the broken education system leaves no stone unturned: he is unapologetic and uncompromising in his exposé of how teachers, administrators, unions, and parents all play a part in this national tragedy.
Crosby offers 38 ideas to save America's future and his proposed remedies are revolutionary. He recommends bold measures, such as lengthening the school day and school year, forcing parents to volunteer at schools, abolishing homework, outlawing teachers unions, and cutting special education funding. The result is a book that is likely to inflame passions on all sides of the political spectrum, and, in the process, introduce new ideas to a debate that is in dire need of them.
“In this fast moving shake 'em up book, public school teacher, Brian Crosby, manages to enlighten, infuriate, stimulate, irritate and maybe energize readers who want to do the right things for our children but have never given themselves the time to think about how it can be done down at the old school house. He gives committed readers plenty of chores, chances and choices to make a comprehensive difference. If Crosby makes you angry or horrified, he'll at least make you think and that trait is always a good precedent for action.” —Ralph Nader
“Brian Crosby knows how vital it is that our kids get well-educated. Lots of people know that. But Crosby tells us what to do about it in a book that is at once cogent, readable, and provocative.” —Ben Wattenberg, host of the weekly PBS program Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg and author of Fighting Words
“Crosby, a California high school English teacher with 17 years experience, wants America to fix its ailing educational system. His earlier book, The $100,000 Teacher, focused on paying teachers better to encourage better performance; this latest proposes a broader range of changes, from student behavior to a basic rethinking of how quality education should be assessed. After explaining that he's arguing for a complete overhaul of the system, not some marginal tweaking of the rules, Crosby sets out his 38-point plan, in 38 brief chapters. He begins simply: building more inviting-looking schools, ending social promotion, enticing experienced teachers to troubled schools and reviving vocational education as an option for the non-college bound. These widely acceptable ideas buffer the shock from some of his more heterodox ideas -- banning teacher unions, recognizing excellence in teaching with merit bonuses, ending teacher tenure, cutting special education spending, ending compulsory education after the ninth grade and giving up on smaller class sizes, because there simply aren't enough great teachers to staff twice as many classrooms. Crosby speaks from a world of experience; his "political incorrectness" may bother some readers, but many will appreciate his honesty and his willingness to think outside the box.” —Publishers Weekly
“One in every five Americans either attends or works in a public or private elementary or high school. For that reason alone, Americans should be concerned about the current sorry state of education and interested in making improvements. With 20 years of experience teaching English and journalism, Crosby offers 38 suggestions that include no homework and the abolition of teachers' unions. He begins with an appeal for physical structures that are roomy and engaging, and moves on to advocating smaller class sizes, no summer break, later start times, no school bells, and all-day kindergarten. He also argues for more-nutritional meals and principals with MBAs. In separate sections, Crosby tackles changes in curricula (bringing back vocational education and reducing reliance on standardized tests), teacher training, school funding, and parental involvement. Crosby offers a comprehensive and radical overhaul of failing American schools that threaten to weaken every aspect of American life, from the economy to homeland security. This is a passionate and radical look at what ails America's schools and how to make improvements.” —Booklist