Leave No Child Behind: Preparing Today's Youth for Tomorrow's World
James P. Comer. Yale University Press, $28 (327pp) ISBN 978-0-300-10391-5
Comer (Maggie's American Dream), a child psychiatrist who founded the School Development Program (known for many years as the Comer Process) at the Yale Child Study Center in 1968, reiterates the wise assumption behind his decades of educational work: that""development and learning are inextricably linked."" He reminds teachers and administrators that some children have experiences that hinder school readiness and eagerness to learn; schools must therefore strive to encourage emotional growth, not just better test scores. And especially for low-income students, Comer argues, higher scores aren't enough: these students""need... skills that are gained through meaningful interactions with meaningful caretakers from birth through maturity."" If educators must address problems they did not create, Comer says, they need more training in how to""read"" children as individuals and thus better teach them. Comer also calls on parents to provide environments in which children feel valued. He shows how his prescribed marriage of child development and pedagogy worked in a series of pilot schools, and he warns of the great social cost of failing to better educate our students. (Studies show that educational achievement has a bearing on everything from civic participation to substance abuse). Amid the loud chorus of cries against standardized testing, Comer offers a clear and confident voice of change.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2004