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Reviewed by Gail Kamer for Readers' Favorite
Common Sense for Our Common Good: A Parent Guide to Good Schools by Jim Baumann is a great guidebook for parents. The information is listed in groups of three and clearly explained. Essentially, it's an easy read and discusses what makes a school good, focusing on culture, learning, and accountability. The charts discussing a variety of opinions of what education should be about are very helpful in understanding others' points of view. The checklist with descriptors of a good school will help any parent evaluate whether their child's school is good. Most of the information in the checklist should be easily determined by the school's website, the school's expectations, learning goals, and testing process. A great list of references and dictionary of education terms should make communicating with school personnel easier.
As a retired educator, I found this book to be well written and based on the latest data of what good schools should include. I found the reflection pages after each section a great resource for parents to consider what's in their child's school, and also a great place to plan how to learn what they don't know or how to discuss the lack of a descriptor with the school's staff. This would be a great reference for a parent looking for a charter or private school, as well as a parent wanting to know what is going on in the school world where their youngster(s) are spending so much of their time. Actually, Common Sense for Our Common Good: A Parent Guide to Good Schools would be a great resource not only for parents, but for those responsible for making rules for our schools.