Recent Books to Read About Schools! Part III

On Purpose Before Twenty, by Adam Cox (Four Corners Press).

A fascinating and deeply moving account of the author’s unique interviews with boys and young men as part of a two-year study on the subject.   His focus is on “life purposes”—or, as he puts it, work.  It’s a powerful examination (that applies as well to girls, he suspects) on the impact of disrespecting work, viewing it as “necessary” but unworthy of high ideals.  It goes well alongside Mike Rose’s Minds at Work.   Cox raises a core problem—while play is (he agrees) the essential work of childhood,  that does not mean that the work of adults is the opposite of play—dull drudgery which requires justification.

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Deborah Meier

Deborah Meier is a senior scholar at NYU’s Steinhardt School, and Board member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, FairTest, SOS and Dissent and The Nation magazines. She is currently Acting Chair of the Coalition of Essential Schools and SOS.  She spent 45 years working in K-12th grade public schools...