No Citizen Left Behind Hardcover – Apr 23 2012
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This is Dewey updated… This is a strong book. The ideas that activate it are effectively presented, the detail of real school life…vividly brought to life. (Nathan Glazer Education Next 2013-02-15)
Read No Citizen Left Behind by Meira Levinson—a forthright defense of schools as institutions for teaching about democracy and justice. (Deborah Meier Education Week blog 2012-04-19)
Levinson advocates restoring civic education, which gives young people insights into the workings of the American political system, to the educational curriculum on a national scale. She believes that ensuring all students receive the same civic education would strengthen our country and cause more citizens to take an active role in its government… Civic education is an area of education reform that experts have overlooked, but it could have a major impact on our country if achieved. The experiences and research Levinson shares have the potential to produce a national ‘aha’ moment. (Terry Christner Library Journal 2012-05-01)
Brilliant. No Citizen Left Behind is must-reading for anyone concerned with the reform of civic education in America. An inspiration for both scholars and practitioners. (Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone and co-author of American Grace)
A must-read for anyone who cares to see young people from all backgrounds grow into self-confident and efficacious citizens. (Danielle S. Allen, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
A landmark book that should influence teachers of all subjects in American schools while providing an important model for scholars. (Peter Levine, Tufts University)
A very sophisticated and lively argument, backed by wonderful tales from school, for what it might mean if we really educated for democracy. An important contribution to a field dominated by clichés. (Deborah Meier, co-author of Playing for Keeps)
About the Author
Meira Levinson is Associate Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, following eight years as a teacher in the Atlanta and Boston Public Schools.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is more than just about education and the disparities that exist in some areas of the United States. It is about what seems like an attitude of neglect for some and even apathy towards others that seemingly are being set up for failure. Meira knows this world firsthand because she taught in it, but we are able to see through her account exactly what some of those who are supposed to mold our future are having to deal with.
As someone who is all about discussing a problem with the hopes of finding a solution, my initial reaction to the book is what can I do to help fix this. I then realized that it's a question we all have to ask ourselves, and be willing to step up when the answer becomes clear to us. First we have to sound the alarm that there is trouble in our education system. Then we have to look for ways to bridge the gaps that exist, realizing that people of all walks of life deserve the opportunity to reach their own personal greatness. And that personal greatness doesn't have to be defined by what those in their families have been able to do or even those in their neighborhoods.
It's all about hope, and not giving up on that hope even when things might not move as quickly as we would like. Meira Levinson tells us that change can occur, but we have to be willing to evolve and change ourselves in order to achieve it. NO CITIZEN LEFT BEHIND is a great resource for anyone looking to make sure that those in the next generation realize they have a voice and are given the tools to make sure it is heard.
This book is an important read, especially now, as political discourse seems to be dissolving into party-line semantics. While the book highlights many severe problems with our schools and political institutions, it also provides hope by showing that it is possible to educate ALL citizens to create a robust and engaged democracy.
The disjuncture between the semi-triumphalist narrative of U.S. history and civics taught in today's schools ("Yes, we made mistakes like slavery, but now things are better.), and the reality of civic institutions that low-income and minority young people often cannot trust (e.g., police forces, their own failing schools) often prompts those same students to dismiss civic engagement entirely. As a result, they fail to learn how to use the very tools that would improve both those institutions and their own lives. Levinson argues that that disjuncture, combined with a school system more segregated now than at any time since Brown v. Board, mean that schools must approach teaching citizenship (a term Levinson uses beyond the narrow legal sense) in a new way; they must explicitly teach students how to use collective action to rectify racial and class injustices.
And precisely because students' attitudes towards democracy are often shaped by their experience of school climate, Levinson argues that schools must fundamentally reform their own quite undemocratic cultures. Practices now increasingly popular (fueled by a testing culture run amok), such as students who must walk tin-solider-like, silently in single-file lines, between classes can be inimical to cultivating critical, active citizens. In effect, Levinson points out, such schools deny their students the opportunity to learn by denying them the opportunity to make decisions and, inevitably, some mistakes.
Unfortunately, whereas Levinson's book is always acute in its observations of inequity and quite often a stirring call to action, it can at times be frustratingly elusive as a program of action for practitioners. That said, "No Citizen Left Behind" is an important book on an under-appreciated problem, a corrective for many of the myths on modern education, and a must-read for anyone concerned with the health and equity of American democracy.
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