Since the late 1970s, Theodore Sizer has studied and worked among hundreds of American high schools. His research was first published in 1984 in HORACE'S COMPROMISE. Sizer now proposes a process of redesign which respects the best of the rich traditions of secondary schooling while doing far more to educate our youth.
Sizer is without question one of the most interesting current thinkers on educational reform. His Horace's Compromise ( LJ 2/15/84), a landmark study of 80 high schools nationwide, stimulated considerable debate. The fictional character Horace Smith, a dedicated English teacher in the also fictional (but typical) American high school, is now a chair of a Committee on Redesign of his school, allowing Sizer to put his themes into concrete form. His is a grassroots reform proposal that ``all education is local.'' Sizer emphasizes minimum testing, maximizing student work into individual exhibitions and portfolios, and expecting lots of hard work and commitment from all parties. He rejects the ``shopping mall'' approach to schools, instead proposing that students concentrate on an in-depth study of a few themes rather than attempting passively to absorb the whole gamut of the so-called comprehensive education. Humanistic, rational, and very appealing, this is one of the best educational reform books yet to have appeared. Recommended for all libraries.-- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, N.Y.