978-0-7382-0435-2 / 9780738204352

The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down Of America's Kids In The Name Of Self-esteem


Publisher:Da Capo Press



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About the book:

Maureen Stout isn't the first to attack self-esteem boosters in public schools, and she won't be the last. The question is: Do such creatures actually still exist? Stout, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at California State University-Northridge, uses many of her graduate students to illustrate the fallout from the self-esteem movement, which hit its heyday in the 1980s and early '90s. She portrays her pupils--tomorrow's teachers--as spoiled brats who can't spell and feel entitled to grades they haven't earned. Her fellow professors are painted as bovine, unoriginal thinkers. It doesn't instill much confidence in the future of our education system--but it's not meant to. Stout attacks the basic tenets of the self-esteem movement, blasting it for lowering expectations, belittling competition, and turning schools into centers for therapy, not learning. She blames "feel-good curriculums" for everything from road rage to the abuse defense used by the parent-killing brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez. Her argument is scattered at times, but it remains passionate throughout. While many self-esteem programs have fizzled under similar harsh criticism, the mindset still pervades our public schools, Stout contends. She lists a number of "red flags" and questions for parents to ask of their schools so they can monitor their own children's education to see if self-esteem exercises are endangering another generation of young minds. The Feel-Good Curriculum will confirm the fears of many and outrage the rest. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

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