Friday, May 22, 2009

Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society

Reviewed by Tom Hoffman

So You Want to be a School Reform Star?

I'm about half-way through my copy of Mike and Susan Klonsky's book, Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society, which arrived yesterday. It is pretty much a book length take on the issues Deborah Meier and Doug Noon blogged about yesterday (and Mike blogs about all the time).

Specifically, the book is about the collision between the original strain of progressive small school reform (affably personified in the ed-tech blogosphere by Chris Lehmann) and "Ownership Society" neo-con reforms typified by NCLB and privatization schemes. Interestingly, the Ownership Society has no figure in the ed-tech blogging ghetto, but it defines the ground (e.g., a certain kind of crisis mentality) in ways the community has trouble perceiving.

It is genuinely difficult to pick apart the overlapping tactics and rhetoric these two groups employ, and the Klonsky's do an excellent job of explaining the history and philosophy of the dueling "small schools" movements.

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