Magazine article The New Yorker

School's In!

Magazine article The New Yorker

School's In!

Article excerpt

With the school year already well under way, a crop of new books examine the world of textbooks and lesson plans. In "DOING SCHOOL" (Yale), Denise Clark Pope tracks five students in a wealthy California suburb and discovers teen-agers who borrow strategies from the business world, "multi-tasking" French homework in math class and "establishing allies" among teachers and administrators. One eleventh grader longs for the Ivy League education that might enable her to become "a successful $500,000-a-year doctor or engineer or whatever it is I want to be."

In 1999, Elinor Burkett spent a year in a Minnesota suburb that boasted a superior American high school. In ANOTHER PLANET (HarperCollins), she describes a place where one in three seniors believes that Shakespeare came from "France, Germany or Italy" and almost the same number could not name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment. …

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