This book started as a stack of notes to myself, based on conversations with parents, as well as questions from students in my classes for future teachers at the University of California, Irvine. What are the institutional causes of low U.S student achievement? How can parents prepare students to resist peer pressure? What can parents do to help children to forge healthy friendships with peers? How can a parent help a child to succeed academically, aside from spending their evenings tutoring their child? I was intrigued by the challenge of writing a research-based book that was not full of technical language.
My interest in the reasons for international differences in student achievement goes back my first teaching job. After receiving my B.A. from Rice University, I took a job as an English instructor at a German academic high school (or Gymnasium). When I came back to the United States, I was shocked to find that many of the students at the rural high school where I was teaching did not write English as well as my former German students had. I wondered why American public schools lagged so far behind, given that the United States spent more per-pupil on public education. This book is rooted in that experience.
When got my Ph.D., my dissertation research focused on a school district where student achievement was higher than other districts serving comparable populations. I discovered that student achievement is strongly influenced by the school environment. However, parental support is every bit as important.
By the time my grandchildren neared school age, I had become convinced that widespread school reform was unlikely to take place in the U.S. any time soon. Yet I knew that there are simple things, which any parent can do, that stimulate an interest in learning and build the character needed to weather the pressures of the competitive peer culture that flourishes in U.S. public schools. I decided to write a book that would allow me to share what I had learned with the parents of school-age children.
Title: Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System
Genre: Non-fiction, parenting, education
Author: Liane Brouillette
Publisher: Balboa Press
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Liane Brouillette has a passion for helping families prepare children to thrive in school and out. She has taught at the pre-university level in both Europe and the United States. Currently, Dr. Brouillette is an associate professor of educational policy at the University of California, Irvine and Director of the UCI Center for Learning in the Arts, Sciences and Sustainability. She also serves as managing editor of the Journal for Learning through the Arts.