Crimes Against Learning

Solving the Serial Failure of School Reform

Non-Fiction - Education
145 Pages
Reviewed on 06/21/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Crimes against Learning: Solving the Serial Failure of School Reform by Kit Marshall, Gary D. Soto and Becky Salato is a spellbinding, pioneering book in the area of education that explores the relevance of the education that has been provided to students till date, and the systems that foster the methods of learning that are considered archaic, irrelevant, and non creative. In this book, readers will understand how our schools are designed to set children for the worst forms of poverty and failure in life because they are forced into a system that does not take into consideration their strengths, skills, and personal aspirations. This book identifies loopholes in our current educational system and provides solutions for them. What actually makes an education successful? What are the aspects of our educational system that violate the rights of children to develop themselves and prepare for a future that is rightfully theirs? This book answers such questions and asks some.

The authors of this book come across as experts in the area of education and pedagogy. There are very serious points raised in this book and, when considered and integrated into our educational reforms, they will undoubtedly revolutionize the educational system. The chapter about leading with the end in mind was the best for me. The writing is excellent and readers are introduced to powerful, insightful passages and a compelling message that will provoke serious thought about our educational systems. “We cling to our collective experience of what school is and has been for generations, even while the world 'after school' continues to change dramatically.” Crimes against Learning: Solving the Serial Failure of School Reform is a powerful book that is well-researched and that contains invaluable wisdom for educators and policy makers.

Ray Simmons

I am a teacher. I have often wondered why the education processes and teaching methods we use today are basically the same as those used when America was founded. Sure, the Federal government is involved so students are required to attend school. This is the law and it is probably a good thing. But I want to talk about in the classroom itself. Things don’t really look as if they have changed much. We have a lot of new technology in the classroom, but sometimes I wonder. Do we even need a classroom? I have wondered from day one of my teaching journey, whether or not there might be better ways to do this. I have sometimes thought that it is a crime that we take education so lightly. Apparently, I am not the only one, because Crimes Against Learning is a book about Solving the Serial Failure of School Reform. The authors are Kit Marshall, Gary D. Soto, and Becky Salato. It feels so good to know that these three people have thought about school reform. It feels even better to read their suggestions and solutions.

Crimes Against Learning is a serious book about a serious topic, but the time to have this discussion is long overdue. Kit Marshall, Gary D. Soto, and Becky Salato have written a clear and logical book that offers workable solutions to problems that have, so far, been impossible to solve. Crimes Against Learning is well written. It is laid out in a clear and logical manner. But most of all, it offers credible solutions to some difficult problems. This is what I like about it most.

Marta Tandori

Crimes Against Learning: Solving the Serial Failure of School Reform is a no-nonsense offering on educational policy and reform by three educators; Kit Marshall, Gary D. Soto and Becky Salato. The title, Crimes Against Learning, comes from the authors’ belief that students are held captive in school for thirteen years with little choice in meeting the expectations adults have of them. They are victims of a system that many times will not prepare them for a life of economic self-sufficiency, clearly summarized by the following statements: “The dissonance between today’s world outside schools and the world inside the schools is profound…we cling to our collective experience of what school is and has been for generations, even while the world “after school” continues to change dramatically.” The book states that, to date, school reform initiatives have resulted in “quick fixes” and “piecemeal changes” and that school failure is big business; that if there was a stop to the marginalization resulting from the wide array of supplemental materials and alternate curricula available from publishers, corporate profits would be reduced. Crimes Against Learning provides a brief history of school reform and discusses open system and closed system paradigms, Academic Learning Time (ALT), the Bell-Shaped Curve, and the research insights that have been ignored. The authors indicate that system reform requires a transformational paradigm shift and that the Action Learning System uses an organizing schema consisting of purposes, premises and principles for addressing and solving the serial failure of school reform.

The book is well laid out and replete with charts and graphs, and contains thoughtful analysis and discussion. School and educational reform has been a hot topic discussion among parents, educators and politicians for a number of years with many theories being offered as to its failings as a whole. Crimes Against Learning doesn’t try to mask the problem or offer any “quick fixes.” The authors are well-versed on the shortcomings of the current system as all three are education veterans, having taught at one time or another, at various levels within our educational system. As a result, they bring to the table a wide expanse of knowledge and credentials. In a system where school administrators are entrenched in an “old school” mentality and very few are willing to “rock the boat,” and where most public school teachers are overworked and overwhelmed, Crimes Against Learning offers hope and a working model for school and educational reform – a must-read for educators and parents alike.