Thanks to Ralph Nader and nearly four decades of the consumer movement, consumerism is now well ingrained into our everyday lives. Few of us will purchase even a small appliance without first reviewing all available consumer information. However, when it comes to our fundamental responsibility as parents - the education of our children - most of us are woefully uninformed consumers.
We hear incessant drumbeats from public school administrators repeating that our schools are world class. Many citizens accept this proclamation as truth. Yet how many of us would blindly accept similar claims made by manufacturers of the products we buy?
Many parents recognize that something is amiss within our public schools. We look askance at assignments from whole math textbook series. Some of us question why so many children require the services of reading specialists and tutors. We wonder why the food chain and "creative writing" have gained such prominence in primary-grade classrooms while science, grammar, geography, and history are virtually absent. Parents are constantly bombarded with slogans such as "critical thinking," "cooperative learning," "individualized instruction," "thematic learnings," "self-esteem," and "mere rote-memorization." How many of us understand these terms or are even aware of the progressive education philosophy from which they flow?
Explanations for all of the above - …