My Posse Don't Do Homework inspired the movie

THE QUEEN OF EDUCATION: Rules for Making Schools Work

LouAnne Johnson, Author . Jossey-Bass $24.95 (219p) ISBN 978-0-7879-7470-1

Johnson, an ex–Marine Corps officer turned high-school teacher whose 1992 memoir, My Posse Don't Do Homework inspired the movie Dangerous Minds , crowns herself the titular queen and hands down royal edicts in this straightforward, valuable book. Her "rules for making schools work" are grounded in the worthy premise that schools should be designed for student learning, health and development—not for administrative efficiency or corporate profit—and should be places where students actually want to be. Johnson is a keen, empathetic observer of students, especially "at-risk" kids (she prefers the term "disenchanted"), and she's quick to point out what harms them: labeling ("big business—and a dangerous business"), detention ("creates more problems than it solves"), junk food ("[f]at and failure in school may be linked") and standardized tests ("wrong and pointless"). But she offers more than critiques. In addition to inspiring stories of her own classroom successes, she offers an outline for her dream school, where good funding would allow a gorgeous, high-tech closed campus, a big library and low student-to-teacher ratio, and a shift in thinking would proscribe age-based classes, standardized curricula and competitive interschool athletics. Teachers, administrators, parents and policy makers should take note of Johnson's simple but compelling ideas. Maybe having a "queen of education" is something to consider. Agent, Alfredo Santana at Santana/Tatsuuma Media Consulting International . (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
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