The Good School- How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve by Peg Tyre
Peg Tyre is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller The Trouble with Boys
I am a parent, an educator, and a mentor to educators. I enjoyed and learned from this book in all three of these mindsets. Tyre writes with authority and compassion. By directing parents of what to look for in schools, she clearly gives teachers an insight into what aspects of their practice are critical, yet somehow never discussed among professional circles. For example, Tyre points out the importance of vocabulary development in young children, sites a survey by Hart and Risley done in the 1990’s, and explains the connection between the two and picking a pre-school teacher/environment for your child. She then relates this to long term learning consequences evident as late as the seventh grade.
This information is helpful to parents, but also to educators. It gives background and reasons for elevating conversations with pre-school children. As educators, we don’t talk about this sort of teaching practice on a regular basis. For that reason (and more like it throughout the book) this writing speaks volumes to and gives professional confidence to teachers.
I encourage all parents and educators to spend time reading chapter two. This chapter is dedicated to understanding standardized testing. Written for parents, but eye-opening for educators, Tyre exposes the inner workings of the making of standardized tests. In the same way she does for every chapter in the book, at the end of this chapter Tyre lists The Take Aways. On chapter two’s list Tyre states:
“If school administrators easily and breezily equate ‘We have good test scores’ with ‘We’re doing a good job’- beware. Some people in these positions don’t actually understand the limits of what those test scores are measuring. Some do, and are counting on the fact that you won’t.”
Reading chapter two will enable the reader to understand why statements such as the above are a red flag. This is a “must read” chapter for all parents and educators.
Parents- The bottom line in Tyre’s book: the quality of the teacher in the classroom is paramount to your child’s success AND the quality of that teacher is impacted by the structure of the school. So, when looking for “the Good School” for your child, look for schools that identify, encourage, and enhance good instruction in methodical and serious ways. Take the power that Tyre shares through background knowledge and ask questions when you visit schools. Find out what administrators have in place to support teachers and good teaching practices- systematically. Use the questions Tyre lists in her book. What you need to find the “Good School” for your child is in the pages.
For teachers, take the information Tyre shares and start asking for the support she describes. Teachers in all schools should be involved in learning communities and given professional time to do so. Use this book as a resource and jumping off point to begin your own professional interactions with your colleagues and to approach your administrators for support.
Administrators, this is a must read. Ideas will flow after reading this book as to how to set up your learning communities; how to support your teachers. How to change the climate and ultimately improve student achievement- in authentic ways!
The Good School is clearly one of the best books I have read on what really matters in educating our children, what makes the best teachers, how to support teachers over the long haul for increased authentic achievement for all students.
A+ to Peg Tyre on her book.