Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice

Doubleday. 2016. 320p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385540124. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385540131. ED
Journalist Goyal offers a scathing review of modern education. Comparing schools with prison camps, the author contends that the controlling and inhumane structures of schooling have crushed children's spirits and led to the rise of ills such as bullying. Using his own experience and applying nontraditional models, Goyal advocates for an open, democratic, progressive form of education. At the heart of his paradigm is the understanding that children learn best through play, unfettered exploration, creativity, and freedom. Throughout, the criticisms leveled against public education are overtly harsh, yet within them lie grains of essential truth. Goyal wants to make clear the dark underbelly of education, but his arguments often lack the depth and full context needed to show the genuine complexity of the problem. In the end, his assertions also fail to illustrate how alternative systems produce practical change. Goyal's accounts are illuminating; however, other titles such as Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica's Creative Schools and Tony Wagner's Creating Innovators offer an evenhanded approach that is more convincing.
VERDICT For readers seeking an emotional appeal for education reform in an intimate, journalistic style, who are then willing to go elsewhere for greater context. [See Prepub Alert, 8/31/15.]
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