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The reviewer did not quite get the point of the book
|Posted By: Robert Maranto on November 18, 2006|
|Nina Nina Nina,|
Pehaps in haste---I applaud your candor in saying you did not
read the whole thing---you've missed the point of the edited volume.
Mike Kayes and I did not say that there were no other works on education reform generally, nor on charter schools in particular. (Our work combines the two topics.) Indeed in the Introduction we said just the opposite. Rather we put together "a user-friendly review of existing writings, plus some new pieces on charters and how to make them work better" (p. 4). We know of no other edited volume on charter schools. If you know of one, please tell us. We assumed that Education majors and newcomers to the field might not wish to read several dozen books like SPINNING WHEELS, HARD LESSONS, RHETORIC V. REALITY, and WHO CONTROLS TEACHERS' WORK? (not to mention the likes of Solmon, Podgursky, Hassel, Poliakoff, etc.). Instead they could get good summaries in our edited volume. We think at that level this succeeds. Indeed I'm now using this edited volume in an undergraduate Education Reform seminar---for ethical reasons I bought my students copies---and they seem to get it.
Regarding the "Horror Stories" section, sadly these "stories" are true, as I wrote in the text (p. 207). I did the fieldwork, and had key informants read these chapters before publishing them. I did not make up the unsavory language. I also did not repeat it in full, however, as you imply in your review. Rather I used the usual "s----" and so on to denote words I did not wish repeated. Unfortunately, in some of the places in which I have done fieldwork coarse language is common, leaving the researcher to either censor or offend. Frankly, urban fieldwork is not for the faint of heart---indeed since my daughter was born I've pretty much stopped doing it.