Waiting for a Miracle: Why Schools Can't Solve Our Problems-And How We Can

James P. Comer, Author Dutton Books $24.95 (261p) ISBN 978-0-525-94144-6
Child psychiatrist Comer, director of the Yale University Child Study Center and author of Maggie's Dream, conflates his personal journey with that of American public schooling. As the child of a goal-oriented African American family not far removed from poverty, he was directed towards achievement early on. Why then, he asks, did not other talented black friends achieve their potential as well. In his thoughtful, discursive attempt to provide an answer, Comer tackles what he calls ""myths""--that of genetic determination and the perception of blacks as being unsuccessful. These myths, he contends, are often played out ""most sharply and hurtfully in schools."" He looks at how receding circles of influences (family, school and peers, policy-makers) shape children in general, and then how those networks are disrupted for African Americans. He looks at several successful projects aimed at underprivileged children, and argues for a foundation that would complement funds from other sources and shore up projects that are under attack because they are race specific. Like Comer's other suggestions for schools, it is admirable but also unrealistically expensive. Comer doesn't engage in polemics, but rather distills his 50 years of experience and observation with optimism and a view of the 21st century as an ""important psychological watershed."" (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-452-27646-8
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