The Youth Charter: How Communities Can Work Together to Raise Standards for All Our Children

William Damon, Author Free Press $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-684-82995-1
Brown University education professor Damon (Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in America's Homes and Schools) sees a youth charter as a way of bringing together ""all adults who are in positions to influence young people... in the quest to define high community standards for youth development."" To show the need for such an instrument, Damon initially resorts to the unfortunate device of Frank Castor, a fictional high-school guidance counselor who outlines his town's woes in his diary entries. For example, the school board saves money by stipulating that teachers not do after-school work with students. Cheating is condoned by helpless parents, while the discovery of drug paraphernalia is shrugged off by uncaring local police. Luckily, although the straw man occasionally reappears, the text finally transcends the salvation of his community's youth. Of particular note is the chapter on mass media, which provides the reader with some thoroughly researched information, including five specific directives for parents, an insightful examination of special education and, especially, advice on diagnosis and treatment of ADD and ADHD. Once relieved of the visit to Frank Castor, the reader will come away with a deep and rewarding understanding of the nature of community and how a community can use a youth charter to help parents raise and implement standards for all children. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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