The Great Speckled Bird
The Great Speckled Bird: Multicultural Politics and Education Policy Making by Catherine Cornbleth and Dexter Waugh. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.
Viewing race as America's central unresolved issue, Cornbleth and Waugh probe the sensitive realities of multicultural politics and education policymaking. What does “American” mean in today's increasingly pluralistic society? Can we continue to assume there is “a” history that should be taught in America's schools? Who holds power, and how is it wielded to shape public and professional perceptions of education policies, classroom cultures, and teaching practices? Will the curricular-value battles now being waged between the “neo-nativists” and the proponents of multiculturalism move American education forward or backward, or just paralyze it?
The authors provide keen insights into the issues, values, and politics that guided the development and implementation of controversial multicultural social studies curriculums in California and New York. Timely and important lessons for other locations and other disciplines emerge from the case studies of two of America's highly diversified and educationally influential states.
I highly recommend this book for teachers, administrators, curriculum specialists, supervisors, textbook committees, state education departments, legislators, preprofessional students, and concerned citizens about race and education in America. Don't miss this opportunity!
Distributed by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 10 Industrial Ave., Mahwah, NJ 07430. Price: $16.50.
—Reviewed by Roger Bennett, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.
Forgotten Children of the AIDS Epidemic
Forgotten Children of the AIDS Epidemic. Edited by Shelley Geballe, Janice Gruendel, and Warren Andiman. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995.
The reality of AIDS and its devastating effect on children comes alive in this comprehensive study. The statistics astonish the reader with their epidemic proportions. More than 220,000 persons in the United States, four times the number of Americans who perished in the Vietnam War, died of AIDS by 1993.
The book focuses on the children—victims of the disease itself and, more often, its silent survivors. Overcome with grief, the children of infected parents are also plagued by secrecy, shame, and stigma. The discussion of their plight, as well as the words of children themselves, command a profound empathetic response.
Of the agencies able to assist these children, the school is paramount. The authors salute the school's significance as the primary social agency in the child's “village.” They also place yet another burden on the school's curriculum and culture in their proposals for additional health education and delivery of services.
The book's goal is to “place these forgotten children of the AIDS epidemic on the `radar screen' of professionals.” It does this with surety. However crowded the “radar screen” of educators is currently, it becomes even more complex and problematic as educators attempt to respond to the challenge of this study.
Published by Yale University Press, P.O. Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520-9040. Price: $25 cloth, $12 paper.
—Reviewed by Joanne Rooney, Midwest Principals' Center, Palatine, Illinois.