Push Has Come To Shove

PUSH HAS COME TO SHOVE, by Dr. Steve Perry, Published by Crown, NY 2011.

This mesmerizing book blows the curtains away and exposes all the weaknesses of the American education system that Dr. Perry points out is well on its way to wrecking the country we have spent 200+ years to build. To mix metaphors-and according to Dr. Perry-we are picnicking on the shore while Rome burns and the Titanic sinks slowly out of sight.

Dr. Perry, author and educator, has set himself the task of exposing the devastating failures in the American education system and every word he writes ought to scare us to death. Multiple studies have shown that the achievement level of American students is—to a staggering extent—abysmal. Countries with a fraction of the money that disappears into our education system can put young people into professional fields that American kids can’t even dream about. Dr. Perry describes the educational methods of American schools as a process similar to someone shifting positions of deck chairs on the Titanic—you get a better view, but you are still sinking.

Dr. Perry notes that American colleges have to offer remedial courses and it has been stated frequently that people educated in our country are not capable of doing professional level work. Dr. Perry states that the state of inadequacy permeates the entire system from kindergarten through high school and he offers a wealth of suggestions as to what measures parents—and the country as a whole—must take to build an educational system—and therefore, a country—that can compete in the modern world.

He analyzes what characteristics make a good school, and further, what makes a good teacher. Having done that, he does not overlook the role of parents and the community—and he urges PRESSURE be brought to bear directly on school officials in calling for better performance.

Dr. Perry provides a vivid picture of what he calls the failure of school unions to be a force for improvement in this dismal picture. He charges that school unions can be shelters for incompetent teachers and they have caused the process of removing a poor teacher almost insurmountable.

Finally, Dr. Perry makes a strong case for the lengthening of the school year—and charges that the process of turning kids loose on the street results in working parents having to hire baby-sitters, cities needing to hire more cops to patrol the streets, and young people who are receiving a vastly substandard education.

While this is a book of the utmost interest to educators, it should be read by parents, too. There can’t be many people in this country who are unable to see the vital necessity of producing young people who will be leaders in the world toward which we are going, day by day.

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